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Last Updated: Tuesday, 25 April 2006, 14:14 GMT 15:14 UK
Iranian diaspora: Anisseh Van Engeland
Anisseh Van Engeland
Name: Anisseh Van Engeland
Age: 29
Lives: Paris, France
Works: Student

My father was a war reporter and covered the revolution and the Iran-Iraq war, that is how he met my mother.

Then the ayatollah [Khomeini] said he would enact a law stopping foreigners from leaving or entering Iran.

My father panicked as he was working for a Belgian paper, so we left, even though the law was not ultimately enacted.

So we lived all over and then when I was 16 we settled in France. Everything in our home is still Iranian; the tapestries, paintings. They brought everything with them.

Years later, in 1998 I went for a month, when Iran was ruled by President Mohammad Khatami.


After Khatami Iran was interesting. I thought the girls' scarves were so small, the clothes so short and they were all wearing make-up.

He passed many laws for the diaspora to make us come back. But it is different now.

I would consider moving back to Iran because I really like it there but only under a new president.

We have a lot of attention on us now and it worries me, especially on the nuclear energy issue.

I do not like nuclear technology but we have the right to have it and this double standard bothers me.

If there is a war I will go back

When I was there I spoke to many people and still do now - many people think Iran is preparing to be attacked.

Being outside Iran is very stressful - if there is a war I will go back. It sounds crazy but I would want to help. Any Iranian has a loyalty to their country.

The one thing we have to admit about [President] Ahmadinejad is that everyone agrees on his nuclear stance, and such agreement has not happened between us Iranians before.

We Iranians in the diaspora are not like the Jewish diaspora, which is strong. When we get together we argue - some of us were in favour of the Shah, some for Khatami and some for the revolution.

But above all, being Iranian begins at home. After 9/11, many Muslims were lost and for me having my culture around me at home was very important.

Iran's culture is so strong, no-one can colonise us.

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