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Sehaty Foreign Exchange


February 25, 2000

Question those in power

In reply to Mehdi Kianpour's letter:

I received several letters regarding the one I wrote to President Khatami ["Dialogue among ourselves"], but I wish to respond personally to you because you raise very interesting points, present a chance to respond openly to someone in Iran, and allow me to go more in-depth on something I feel very strongly for.

I think your argument is best summed up in "why don't you accept the risk?" I entirely agree with you. In some ways, it is a risk I would be ready to take today, if I had a plane ticket.

However, my friend, for many reasons, the decision is not entirely mine. I am NOT afraid to go to Iran, I am not worried about what may happen and ultimately I know someday I will be in Iran, and hopefully not only as a tourist -- I wish to help build something there. Going to Iran to me is as inevitable as dying -- one day it will happen. The question is when and under what conditions?

In my particular case, I am limited financially, and if the financial situation permitted, then it would first be my father who has to see his family. Second, without revealing the details of my parents' situation, the policies of the IRI actually DO affect me personally. I know this because I have spoken to Iranian diplomats in two consulates. And until there is some sort of official acknowledgement, I cannot. You may wonder, "why can't you?"

Actually, you are right. I can go, the government will issue me a visa, and openly encourage me to go to Iran. Khayli khosh aamadeed, aaghaayeh Shirazi. But then, I would have to appear and answer questions that I feel do not need answering -- escalating an already tense situation.

Would you accept the executioner's invitation and hand to the gallows?

A life here has been established, and not necessarily by our choice. One that because of the revolution, because of the ensuing chaos it caused both in Iran and for the few Iranians that were here before, has been built from nothing but a will to survive. I cannot simply throw that to the wind, and risk it all without any idea of certainty. Moreover, I have a fundamental problem with my passage to Iran being contingent on such a factor.

Why don't I accept the risk and just go? Risking is not abandoning reason -- it is a calculated decision one makes aware of factors affecting the outcome of that decision. I have done my research and have determined right now something indeed will happen if I go. Don't question my judgment, question the ones who run Iran and why such policies remain in place and why no official assurances are given. That is exactly why I wrote to the president, because I want to put this issue on the table.

As far as comparing me to the "many others who write saying they love Iran and want to go there...", well, I do not speak for them nor does their situation necessarily have anything to do with my own. Sedasyeh asdam nabaayad az jaayeh garm dar aayad, right Mehdi? Believe me, we are not that different. I have undergone many of the same trials, our settings have been very different though.

My life has been determined by people who desired for a better Iran -- it is in my blood. I strive and challenge and put forth a lot of effort to retain what I have of Iran in me, and always look to add more -- and I don't think that Iranians in Iran should look at the expatriate community through such black and white lenses.

I hope one day you can get to know me in person IN IRAN, so you can see exactly who I am.

Roozbeh Shirazi


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