Nazanin Boniadi

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Nazanin Boniadi
Born Nazanin Boniadi
(1982-05-22) 22 May 1982 (age 31)
Tehran, Iran
Occupation Actress, activist
Years active 2006-present

Nazanin Boniadi (English /ˈnɑːzənn ˈbnjɑːˌd/,[1] Persian: نازنین بنیادی‎, IPA: [nɒːzæˈniːn bonjɒːˈdiː]; born 22 May 1982) is an Iranian-British actress currently living and working in the United States.

Early life[edit]

Boniadi was born in Tehran, Iran. Her parents moved to London when she was an infant. She performed violin and ballet as a young girl.[2]

She was educated at a private school and later moved to the US where she earned a Bachelor's Degree, with Honors, in Biological Sciences from the University of California, Irvine. At UCI, she won the Chang Pin-Chun Undergraduate Research Award for molecular research involving cancer treatment and heart transplant rejection. She was also Assistant Editor-in-Chief of MedTimes, UCI's undergraduate medical newspaper.[3]


Boniadi decided to change her career path from medicine and started pursuing acting in 2006.[4] Boniadi's first major acting role was as Leyla Mir on the Emmy Award-winning daytime drama General Hospital and its SOAPnet spin-off series General Hospital: Night Shift, making her the first contract actor to play a Middle Eastern character in American daytime television history. She is also the first Iranian-born actress to ever be on contract on an American soap opera.[5]

She was nominated for an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Daytime Drama Series in 2008 for her role in General Hospital.[6]

Boniadi has also landed supporting roles in several major Hollywood film productions, such as Charlie Wilson's War directed by Mike Nichols, Iron Man directed by Jon Favreau, and The Next Three Days directed by Paul Haggis.

In February 2011, she debuted as Nora, a love interest for Neil Patrick Harris's character Barney Stinson, on the sixth season of the hit CBS sitcom How I Met Your Mother.[7] She reprised this role during the show's seventh and ninth seasons.

In November 2011, Boniadi appeared opposite George Clooney in a European spot for Nespresso, called The Swap, directed by Grant Heslov.[8] In May 2013, Boniadi joined the cast of Homeland season 3, as Fara Sherazi, a capable young analyst.[9]

In February 2014, Boniadi joined the cast of Scandal as antagonist Adnan Salif, in an 8 episode arc.[10]

In March 2014, it was announced that Boniadi had been promoted to series regular for season 4 of Homeland.[11]


Boniadi is an official spokeswoman for Amnesty International USA (AIUSA), and has worked at a grass roots level and appeared on international TV and radio programs to campaign for the rights of disenfranchised populations across the world. In particular, she has been very involved in safeguarding human rights by participating in events that bring attention to the unjust conviction and treatment of Iranian youth, women and prisoners of conscience.[12]

Boniadi provided a voiceover to AIUSA’s “Power of Words” public service announcement with Morgan Freeman, which won a Webby Award;[13] campaigned with the organization for the International Violence Against Women Act (I-VAWA);[14] has served as a panelist and emcee for events related to Iranian rights, and spearheaded The Neda Project with AIUSA in May/June 2010.[15] She has an official blog on the Amnesty International USA website,[16] and in The Huffington Post.[17]

In December 2010, she initiated an Amnesty International petition for Iranian film directors Jafar Panahi and Mohammad Rasoulof, who were convicted of “propaganda against the state”. The petition was co-signed by prominent Hollywood directors and industry leaders such as Paul Haggis, Martin Scorsese, Sean Penn, Harvey Weinstein, Ron Howard and others, and generated more than 21,000 signatures.[18][19] On June 8, 2011, Boniadi joined a delegation of Hollywood luminaries, lead by Haggis and AIUSA Executive Director Larry Cox, to deliver the petition to the Iran Mission to the United Nations in New York.[20][21]

On June 3, 2011, Boniadi joined Sarah Shourd in a rolling hunger strike in solidarity with Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal and wrote an article in support of the Free The Hikers campaign.[22][23][24]

On July 11, Boniadi received the Social Cinema Award at the Ischia Global Film & Music Festival for her human rights work with Amnesty International.[25][26]

On April 9, 2012, she returned to her alma mater University of California, Irvine, with Rainn Wilson in support of the Education Under Fire campaign, calling for an end to discrimination against and persecution of Baha'is in Iran.[27]

On October 4, 2012, Boniadi delivered the keynote closing remarks at The XX Factor, Amnesty International USA's annual town hall meeting on women's rights, in Washington, D.C.[28]

In December, she helped launch an Amnesty International petition and campaign with Roxana Saberi, to free wrongfully imprisoned filmmaker Behrouz Ghobadi, brother of acclaimed filmmaker Bahman Ghobadi, in Iran. The petition was signed by prominent Hollywood directors such as Martin Scorsese and Paul Haggis, actors such as Liam Neeson, Mila Kunis, James Franco and Adrien Brody, as well as major film industry organizations and festivals.[29][30][31][32] On January 22, 2013, Amnesty International announced that Behrouz Ghobadi had been released on bail from prison in Iran.[33]

On May 4, 2013, Boniadi was a keynote speaker at Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson's 13th annual 'A World of Women for World Peace' conference in Dallas, Texas.[34]

Personal life[edit]

Boniadi is fluent in English and Farsi. She is the great-great-granddaughter of the 19th-century Persian poet and philosopher Safi Ali Shah.[35]


Year Title Role Notes
2007 The Game Josie 2 Episodes
General Hospital: Night Shift Leyla Mir 13 Episodes
2007–2009 General Hospital Leyla Mir 119 Episodes
2010 The Deep End Heather Mosson Episode: "To Have and to Hold"
24 Blonde Woman 2 Episodes
Hawthorne Aneesa Amara Episode: "Final Curtain"
2011 Suits Lauren Pearl Episode: "Errors and Omissions"
2011, 2014 How I Met Your Mother Nora Season 6-7 (recurring; 9 episodes)
Season 9 (guest; 1 episode)
2012 CSI Nurse Lauren Episode: "Seeing Red"
Best Friends Forever Naya 2 Episodes
2013 Go On Hannah Episode: "Gooooaaaallll Doll!"
Grey's Anatomy Amrita Episode: "The Face of Change"
2013–present Homeland Fara Sherazi Season 3 (recurring; 6 episodes)
Season 4 (series regular)
2014 Scandal Adnan Salif 5 Episodes
Year Film Role Notes
2006 Kal: Yesterday & Tomorrow Simmi Short Film
2007 Gameface Taylor
2008 Charlie Wilson's War Afghan Refugee Woman Uncredited
Iron Man Amira Ahmed
2009 Diplomacy Persian Interpreter Short Film
2010 The Next Three Days Elaine
2012 Shirin in Love Shirin
2013 Desert Dancer Parisa Ghaffarian
2014 Once Upon a Time in Wonderland Jasmine


  1. ^ Benefit Show - May 25th at the Echo on YouTube
  2. ^ "نازنين بنيادی، چهره ای جديد در صنعت سينمای هاليوود". 19 May 2006. Retrieved 5 September 2012. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ Nazanin Boniadi at the Internet Movie Database
  5. ^ Morse, Jane (23 October 2008). "Human Rights Education a Priority for Iranian Actress". Retrieved 5 September 2012. 
  6. ^ De Leon, Kris (15 January 2008). "'General Hospital' Star Nominated for NAACP Image Award". Retrieved 5 September 2012. 
  7. ^ Gelman, Vlad (25 January 2011). "'How I Met Your Mother': Nazanin Boniadi to guest as a love interest". Retrieved 5 September 2012. 
  8. ^ Nespresso 'The Swap' Commercial on YouTube
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^ "Tag Archives: nazanin boniadi". Retrieved 5 September 2012. 
  13. ^ "Morgan Freeman: The Power of Words". 23 December 2009. Retrieved 5 September 2012. 
  14. ^ "I-VAWA Supporters". Retrieved 5 September 2012. 
  15. ^ "I Am Neda". 8 June 2010. Retrieved 5 September 2012. 
  16. ^ "Nazanin Boniadi". Retrieved 5 September 2012. 
  17. ^
  18. ^ "Paul Haggis, Sean Penn, Martin Scorsese and Harvey Weinstein Join Amnesty International to Condemn Harsh Sentence for Acclaimed Iranian Director Jafar Panahi". 28 December 2010. Retrieved 5 September 2012. 
  19. ^ Iran must reverse harsh sentence imposed on distinguished film director Amnesty International USA | Human Rights Action[dead link]
  20. ^ "Iran Mission to the United Nations Accepts 21,000-Plus Petition Signatures from Amnesty International Delegation of Hollywood Luminaries". 8 June 2011. Retrieved 5 September 2012. 
  21. ^ Nazanin Boniadi (9 June 2011). "Hollywood Unites for Iranian Filmmakers". Retrieved 5 September 2012. 
  23. ^ Zavis, Alexandra (4 June 2011). "Freed hiker fasts for two men still in Iran". Retrieved 5 September 2012. 
  24. ^ "They want nothing more than the freedom to continue making this world a better place ~ Nazanin Boniadi, Spokesperson, Amnesty International USA". Retrieved 5 September 2012. 
  25. ^ "Giving Back". Retrieved 5 September 2012. 
  26. ^ "ISCHIA GLOBAL FEST 2011 - MUSIC & FILM Sabato 16 Luglio 2011". 17 July 2011. Retrieved 5 September 2012. 
  27. ^ "Rainn Wilson - Education Under Fire". Retrieved 5 September 2012. 
  28. ^ Nazanin Boniadi on Women's Rights at Amnesty's XX Factor Event on YouTube
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