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VOA Marks Nowruz with Live Performance by Award-Winning Iranian Actress

Iranian actress Shohreh Aghdashloo accepts the award for best supporting female for her role in "House of Sand and Fog," at the 2004 IFP Independent Spirit Awards In Santa Monica, Calif., on Saturday, Feb. 28, 2004. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)

Shohreh Aghdashloo’s performance will be broadcast live to Iran via satellite and Internet.

Oscar nominated actress and Emmy award winner, Shohreh Aghdashloo, appears on stage at Voice of America headquarters in Washington this Sunday in a special televised performance of the play, An Iranian in Heaven.

The Farsi language performance will be broadcast to Iran live by satellite and streamed on the Internet as part of the VOA Persian News Network’s (PNN) special program marking the Iranian New Year, Nowruz.

The Iranian-born Shohreh Aghdashloo says, “I am thrilled that after so many years, and thanks to Voice of America, I am fulfilling my dream of performing in front of my compatriots in Iran – it is thrilling that millions will be watching live.”

Her Iranian-born husband, Houshang Touzie, who wrote the play, says, “My theatrical works, on the stages around the world, could not reach my homeland, but now after thirty years, a live theatrical contact rejuvenates me, and I dedicate this performance to my colleagues in Iran.”

The play, An Iranian in Heaven (in Farsi, Yek Irani Dar Behesht) is described as “a socio-political stage comedy about Iranians living abroad and their self-inflicted problems.” Workshop '79, the Los Angeles-based drama production company, produced the play, which has never been performed live for television in Iran. Workshop ’79 was founded by Houshang Touzie and his wife Shohreh Aghdashloo as a tribute to the Theatrical and Acting Workshop in Tehran, which was shut down after the 1979 Revolution.

VOA Director Danforth W. Austin said, “We are pleased and honored to be able to host this performance and use our broadcast capabilities to bring it live to the people of Iran as they celebrate Nowruz.”

Shohreh Aghdashloo was nominated for a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her 2003 performance alongside Jennifer Connelly and Ben Kingsley in the movie House of Sand and Fog. In 2009, she won an Emmy Award for her supporting role in the HBO original miniseries, House of Saddam.

An Iranian in Heaven will air on Sunday at 2120 UTC as part of a special evening of Nowruz programming. For Farsi language information visit PNN’s website at

VOA’s Persian News Network is one of the most popular international television stations broadcasting to Iran. An independent survey contracted by the U.S. Broadcasting Board of Governors in 2010 found that more than 19% of adult Iranians watch VOA programs each week.

For more about Voice of America and its 44 language services, visit