Iran: Kiss away the US-Iranian rift

Image from Netformance Facebook page showing Presidents Rouhani and Obama with kiss marks superimposed on their faces "Give me a thousand kisses" (Catullus)

Two Iranian students in the United States are campaigning for people in both countries to contribute 1,000 kisses for peace in an attempt to overcome decades of animosity.

Nima Dehghani and Behzad Tabibian made a particular effort on 4 November, the anniversary of the storming the US embassy in Tehran in 1979 - a date typically marked by hardliners chanting "Death to America!" at mass rallies in Iran. Instead, their website and Facebook page ask readers to blow a kiss and post the photo. "Come on - 34 years of hostility is enough, let's move on," they say.

This week they received more than 300 pictures in two days from Iranians and Americans, with messages such as:

  • "Let's start a new era with a kiss"
  • "Iranian people love American people"
  • "Let's kiss everything away"
  • and perhaps more decorously, "After 30 years of distrust now it's time to shake hands"

The two students run a cultural programme called Netformance, which seeks to break down barriers between young Iranians and the rest of the world. They recently made headlines with their online Jean Party, in which they posted photos of Iranians in denim to debunk Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's declaration that jeans are banned in Iran.

Woman wearing jeans in Tehran in October 2013

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