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Shohreh Aghdashloo Decries Trump’s Muslim Ban: ‘We Cannot Afford to Be Enemies’ (Exclusive)

Oscar-nominated Iranian-American actress tells TheWrap she’s been deluged with messages of apology from American friends

Oscar-nominated actress Shohreh Aghdashloo said she was “saddened and heartbroken” at President Donald Trump’s ban on travel from Iran and six other Muslim-majority countries, telling TheWrap on Sunday, “We cannot afford to be enemies with anyone anymore.”

The Iranian-American actress — best known for “Star Trek Beyond,” Fox’s “24”and her Oscar-nominated turn in the 2003 drama “House of Sand and Fog” — said she had been deluged with messages from American friends since the news of Trump’s executive order on Friday banning entry to the United States from seven countries, including her native Iran.

“It’s unbelievable how many messages, texts and messages I’ve received regarding this action,” she said, speaking to TheWrap from LAX where she was leaving to promote the SyFy series “The Expanse.” “They are apologizing. And I keep telling them, ‘You don’t need to apologize. We understand the situation. There must be ways to solve this equation.'”

She said she was also “heartbroken” to learn that Asghar Farhadi, the Iranian director whose film “The Salesman” is an Oscar nominee for Best Foreign Languate Film, had decided not to attend the ceremony because of the travel ban. “I stand by him,” she said. “I understand his position and the situation as well.”

She continued: “When I came here in the early ’80s, I was overwhelmed with the amount of freedom, democracy, the humanitarians in this country.

Aghdashloo said she was most concerned because after decades of hostility Iran and the United States had begun a rapprochement in the past year, with a bilateral agreement to lift U.S. sanctions while Iran submitted to limits and observation of its nuclear capacity.

“This will definitely harm all the good work that has been done by President Obama and his administration to bring us to the brink of a truce, of starting a dialogue,” she said. “This unfortunately puts us in a bad situation again.”

Overall, Aghdashloo said she believed in the power of American democracy, and that this moment would pass.

“I’m not skeptical. I’m very positive,” she said. “As someone in this filmmaking business, I believe in the positivity of using cinema, theater, film in general to break boundaries, break borders and bring people together in a message for all.”