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Sunday, October 23, 2016

JERUSALEM (AFP) – Exiled Iranian filmmaker Mohsen Makhmalbaf has urged Israel not to attack arch-rival Iran over its nuclear program, in a visit to the Jewish state to promote his new film.

“I love you, but please do not attack Iran. It is not the solution, it would only aggravate the situation,” the well-known director said at a news conference to promote his latest film, The Gardener, at the annual Jerusalem film festival.

Forced into exile following death threats, Makhmalbaf backs a “cultural” dialogue between arch-rivals Iran and Israel which both ban citizens from travelling to each other’s country.

He said it is pointless to threaten to attack Iranian nuclear facilities, which Israeli officials do regularly.

Israel, believed to be the sole albeit undeclared nuclear weapons power in the Middle East, has not ruled out military strikes targeting Iran’s atomic sites to stop its controversial nuclear program.

Israel and much of the West suspects Tehran wants to make atomic weapons, a charge it strongly denies.

“It’s better to help the Iranian democratic forces,” Makhmalbaf said, insisting that an aggressive approach would fail.

“After more than 60 years, you (Israelis) still have not found a solution with the Palestinians because politicians on both sides are immature, they did not comprehend that the root of the conflict lies in the culture and religion.”

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