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Last Updated: Tuesday, 25 April 2006, 14:29 GMT 15:29 UK
Iranian diaspora: Darioush Dadgar
I left Iran in 1975 for higher education purposes.

Name: Daroush Dadgar
Age: 55
Lives: Kansas City, Missouri, US
Works: Scientific researcher

After the revolution and the war with Iraq I decided not to return. Instead I studied in Belfast and ultimately came to the US.

My father comes from central Iran, and as a child I can remember travelling throughout all of Iran with him, so we got to know how the people outside Tehran think, which is very different to the big city.

The people are very religious, very pious and family-oriented and also very hospitable. They like the Islamic government they have.

Iran is an old country but had never really been a true democracy until the revolution. You cannot inject democracy into a county with war, it takes years to take hold with even the most basic structures.

Iranian families are also more dictatorial, kids respect their parents more than in the US. It is different to the democratic values of the West.

As a secular Iranian, I think it has to evolve but Iran could eventually become a modern democracy.

In the countries I live in I feel Iranian, but I don't like to be told what I am. After all, why can't two cultures sit together and talk on equal terms?

I hope when I reach retirement age I can perhaps spend half my time in Iran and half in the US and Canada.

I still consider myself to be 100% Iranian. I may have EU and Canadian citizenship but I am not of those countries and I certainly don't look Irish! I am Iranian and proud of it.

My children say they are Iranian and they even speak a little Farsi, but they are still second generation and I think only a small percentage of them would ever go back permanently to Iran because of its poor human rights record.

Still, they have visited Iran twice. They didn't quite enjoy it, I think because they couldn't get around or communicate with people their own age.

It has been awkward recently with all the events in the news. I do not want Iran to have nuclear weapons, although I think we have the right to have nuclear power.

I also question [Iranian President Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad. I think [former reformist president Mohammad] Khatami was a great leader as he was teaching us to be democratic. Unfortunately there was a backlash against him and the US.

In the US, I am hoping that moderate views towards Iran will increase. After all, the pressure on Iran to be democratic is much greater than on any other country.

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