Sussan Deyhim still worries that saber-rattling rhetoric could escalate into war between Iran and Israel or the United States.
"There are enough crazy people out there ... that this actually could happen," said the Tehran-born singer-composer, whose film music credits include "The Kite Runner" and "The Stoning of Soraya M."
But Deyhim hopes the success of the Iranian domestic drama "A Separation," which won the best foreign language Oscar on Sunday, and its director's carefully-worded acceptance speech could help ease rising tensions and alter Western perceptions of her homeland.
In receiving his Oscar, director Asghar Farhadi offered a plea that "At the time when talk of war, intimidation and aggression is exchanged between politicians, the name of their country, Iran, is spoken here through her glorious culture, a rich and ancient culture that has been hidden under the heavy dust of politics.
"I proudly offer this award to the people of my country, the people who respect all cultures and civilizations and despise hostility and resentment," he added.
Said Deyhim, "He was making it very clear that as people we are very pacifist."
Across Southern California, home to one of the world's largest Persian expatriate communities, other artists voiced similar sentiments. "I think once Americans, they see that and they relate and they understand there is no need for wars and guns," said Andy Madadian, an Armenian Iranian pop singer who has lived in Los Angeles for decades.
A number of Iranian and foreign news reports Monday quoted Iranians voicing pride at their country's first Oscar win. Some Iranian authorities also expressed satisfaction that "A Separation" beat the Israeli film "Footnote," about father-son Talmudic scholars.
But at least for a moment, art may have spoken more loudly than political spin, suggested Aryana Farshad, L.A.-based director of the documentary film "Mystic Iran."
"Every time there is the threat of war, intellectuals, artists, filmmakers always come to the rescue," Farshad said. "The Iranian filmmakers, they're my heroes."
'Separation' director says Iranians care about the Oscars
-- Reed Johnson
Photo: "A Separation" director Asghar Farhadi (Iran) holds aloft the Oscar for foreign language film. Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times.