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Superior woman cancels Iran trip because of unrest

The unrest in Iran is hitting home in the Northland, forcing an Iranian-American in Superior to cancel a trip there. Fariba Pendleton says there are lessons to be learned from the turmoil, especially at a time when Americans are celebrating their...

Fariba Pendleton

The unrest in Iran is hitting home in the Northland, forcing an Iranian-American in Superior to cancel a trip there. Fariba Pendleton says there are lessons to be learned from the turmoil, especially at a time when Americans are celebrating their independence.

It has been nearly a month since Iran held its presidential election. "Iranians were convinced that their next president was going to be Mousavi, not Ahmadinejad," Pendleton said.

A native of Iran, she lives in Superior and was planning a trip to the country to see her ailing mother. Living amid all things Iranian in her home, she says she considered traveling there on Iran's Election Day -- June 12 -- so her daughter could witness the process. Now, she's glad she didn't go then and, last week, decided to cancel the trip for now. She has until August to reschedule her trip and is watching the developments in Iran closely.

"I had a lot of people actually here, my friends, who were telling me: 'Don't go,' " Pendleton said. "It was difficult be-cause my family in Iran was telling me: 'You're OK.' "

She said she hasn't seen her family or visited Iran in 10 years. Her relatives living there voted for Hossein Mousavi in the election but didn't participate in the vehement protests that followed Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's victory. Still, Pendleton is waiting for things to settle down, sympathizing with Iranians who she says want so desperately what she has in America.

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"They have seen the kinds of freedom people in other nations have and [are] deeply frustrated by [the] lack of having those types of basic human rights in their country," she said. "I feel totally blessed. I get up in the morning every day; I can dress any way I want; I can say whatever I want; I can set goals; I can achieve them. I have so many privileges."

She said despite the high level of education Iranian women obtain, they are oppressed and were hoping the election would bring a change. "They were hoping someone like Mousavi would give them some of those basic rights. And if I'm to guess, Ahmadinejad will remain as the president [and] it will go on for another four years."

"I was on Skype chatting with my niece in Iran. She's 27 years old and I told her about the interview and I said, 'What would you like me to say? What do you want me to say to Americans?' She said, 'Just tell them to support us,' " Pendleton said. "It is my hope that some day Iranians can celebrate their own Independence Day."

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