Iranian pro-democracy activists, lawyers and artists have thrown their weight behind last month's nuclear deal with world powers, hoping it will lead to a promised political opening that President Hassan Rouhani has so far failed to deliver.
Dozens of prominent figures, many of whom have spent time in jail and faced travel or work bans, have recorded short video clips on social media sites this week praising the July 14 accord that will lift international sanctions from Iran in exchange for strict curbs on its nuclear program.
"These video messages show that those who have paid the highest prices for the cause of democracy and human rights in Iran are supporting the deal," Mohammadreza Jalaeipour, a pro-democracy activist who organized the campaign said.
Many of the videos implored the U.S. Congress to approve the deal in a vote due next month, arguing that it offers the best hope of promoting democracy in Iran and is not a capitulation to Iranian hardline factions to which they, too, are opposed.
"War and sanctions create crisis, and crisis is the death of democracy, the death of peace and human rights," film director Jafar Panahi, who has received accolades abroad but seen his work banned in Iran, noted in his video.