I recently conducted an interview with my uncle who has been in Iran for the past 3 months, while he did participate in voting during the 2017 election, he missed the first major developments during the beginning of Donald Trump’s term. Him being an immigrant to the US and having personal and business relations with Iran, I decided to sit him down and ask him his thoughts on some of the events he has missed.
What political party are you most affiliated with and why?
Democratic Party, because they’re more concerned about the average citizens in society. The programs they promote are much more revolved around the everyday masses than those proposed by their Republican counterparts.
Who did you vote for and why?
I voted for Hillary Clinton. However, my ideal candidate would be Bernie Sanders, because he came across as the more honest, spoke about the real issues regarding the economy and what the people overall are facing. Also, he did not only offer problems (and broad general statements about how he could fix them) he had real, plausible solutions.
What were your immediate thoughts about the election of Donald Trump? Is this opinion common with Iranians?
I thought that us Americans have an unqualified person as the president and that
he has no principles and no regard for the values that Americans stand for.
Yes, it is a very common opinion among the Iranian community.
Has your opinion changed in any way within the past 6 weeks of Trumps presidency?
My opinion has gotten worse, due to Trump’s terrible immigration policies that affect not only people with visas but people who have permanent residence and his total disregard for equality of race. He lacks compassion, he is supposed to be the president for all Americans, just a specific group of them
How do you think Trumps decisions compare to some of the previous Iranian leaders?
His decisions resemble those of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (the former president of Iran) through their shared disregard for international relations, total disrespect towards other nation leaders and members, as well as their general lack of respect for everyone, especially those who disagree with their views
What were your thoughts of the travel ban? Was this shared by the community around you? As a Middle Eastern immigrant, do you think this is an educated decision?
It was completely ridiculous and unfair because when a government and its institutions commit to a decision like giving a visa or allowing for permanent residency, they should stick to it. This was a shared opinion in Iran because govt are supposed to stick to commitments, this gesture shows weakness in the US and creates a fear of future Iran- US relations. Absolutely not an educated decision.
Do you think Trump correctly understands the culture/ religion of Middle Eastern people?
Not at all, he doesn’t have a clue. He also doesn’t have a care to learn, which makes it worse.
How have you benefited from immigrating to the United States in 1975?
I have been given an opportunity to live in a democratic country to get a good education and to have been given the freedoms and constitutional rights that are enjoyed by people who live in a free country.
While re-entering the US did you face any difficulty with immigration officers?
While I was worried entering from Iran would be a problem, I faced none once so ever. It was the most cordial, courteous and fastest entry back I have ever had.
Do you expect difficulty going back and forth from Iran in the future?
That depends on what type of policies Trumps government choose towards Iran throughout the rest of his term.
What do you think Donald Trump could do to reduce tensions between the two countries? If anything.
Give respect to Iran and all of the international community overall.