Iran situation hits home for Iranians in U.S.

MACON, Ga. — It's been 30 years since Macon resident Seyedmehdi Mobini left his home in northern Iran to attend school in the United States, but the memories are still vivid in his mind.

"I remember it like it was yesterday," he said.

In 1978, Mobini and his wife risked their lives by taking part in protests against the Shah of Iran as part of the Iranian Revolution.

Now, amid another political crisis in Iran, the Mobinis never figured they would still be living in America.

"We were afraid to go back to Iran, so we stayed here. Unfortunately, we still have family over there now, and they're all pretty afraid," he said.

Mobini, a professor at Fort Valley State University, is one of many Iranian natives living in Middle Georgia.

And like Mobini, many of these locals have family members stuck in the current turmoil following President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's disputed election victory earlier this month.

"My brother is in Tehran in the middle of the violence. Nobody is safe there. If he goes out on the street, he risks getting shot or beaten or stabbed or kidnapped," Mobini said.

Mobini said that before the election protests, he frequently e-mailed relatives in Iran, but now he can only call them.

"You can't discuss things over the phone. They're all bugged. For a while, I was talking to some of my family through Facebook, but (the Iranian government) has even shut that down now," Mobini said.

Difficulty communicating with people in Iran in recent weeks is not an isolated phenomenon.

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