Conflict

#GoodMuslimBadMuslim host ponders Washington's pact with Tehran and asks: When can we go home?

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Zahra Noorbakhsh is one of the creators of the podcast GoodMuslim/BadMuslim.

Zahra Noorbakhsh is one of the creators of the podcast GoodMuslim/BadMuslim.

Credit:

Andria Lo 

For many Iranian Americans, news of the nuclear deal hammered out in Vienna doesn't end the waiting, or the longing.

"When am I gonna see my family, when can I go see my city again, when can I go see Iran again? When, when, when, when?" laments Zahra Noorbakhsh. She's one of the creators of the podcast #GoodMuslimBadMuslim, a conversation between two friends about the ups and downs of being a Muslim American woman.

Noorbakhsh's parents immigrated to the US from Iran. She's only visited the Islamic republic once, when she was a teenager. She says because officials in Tehran don't appreciate the kind of comedy and feminism she's known for here in the US, she's not likely to venture back soon.

Still, she says the nuclear agreement leaves her "giddy" about the prospect of change.

"It's like it's Christmas, after years of it not being Christmas," she says. "Also at any point it can be taken away."

As an Iranian American satirist and feminist, she says she constantly asks herself how she can straddle both worlds.

"Feminism in Iran means a completely different thing, and is championed a completely different way," she notes. "There are nuances that I don't know." Noorbakhsh says she's called on at certain points to "translate" Iranian culture to Americans.

"When I first started doing comedy and I wouldn't talk about being Iranian, and people would be like, 'How come you don't talk about being Mexican? Oh you're Iranian, how come you don't talk about being Iranian? Have you seen Not Without my Daughter? Have you seen Argo? Do you know what's going on in Iraq?'" she recalls.

Noorbakhsh says what she appreciates most about being an Iranian American comic is that she doesn't have to watch the news. Instead, the news comes to her, in the form of questions from the uniformed, like: Did you hear what happened in Syria?

The unfortunate follow-up question aimed at the unassuming comic after a disaster in the Middle East, she says, is always the same: "They ask me: 'Why did you guys do that?'"

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