My last name is Iranian. I was born and raised Catholic in the USA to parents of northern European heritage. After I divorced my Iranian (now ex) husband, I kept my last name. Because I was married to an Iranian, I became an automatic citizen of Iran, formerly known as Persia, and for a time, I held dual passports. I lived in Tehran for a year during the period before, during, and after the Islamic Revolution in the late 1970s. If you are going to have dangerous adventures, I highly recommend you do it in your twenties, when you can run six minute miles.
I fled Iran after Khomeini returned and stripped citizens of their civil liberties in the name of the Islamic Revolution. He instituted a form of sharia law and executed former high ranking officials, businessmen, people of the "wrong" religion, homosexuals, intellectuals, and people who owned property coveted by greedy mullahs.
My ex-husband was more optimistic than I that the mullahs would soon step aside and Iran would have a democratic election. He stayed for a time. I returned to the USA and divorced him. He eventually came back to the USA--he is a U.S citizen--remarried, raised a family, and created hundreds of jobs for other U.S. citizens. He is a non-practicing secular Muslim (no one in his family ever prays, their main focus is entrepreneurship), and earned his Ph.D. in engineering (I met him at university) in the USA.
So I was more than a little surprised when Hillary Clinton, after being asked which enemy she was most proud of, declared: "Well, in addition to the NRA, the health insurance companies, the drug companies...the Iranians...probably the Republicans." Iranians. Not say, the so-called Supreme Leader. Iranian Americans are asking Hillary Clinton to clarify, if not apologize for, her comment.
I am no fan of the so-called Iran Deal, and I have written here, at the Huffington Post, that I believe our national narrative foolishly underplays the dark side of fundamentalist Islam. Yet now I find myself in the position of having to push back against the imbalance of Hillary Clinton's statement. Especially because Shayan Mazroei, an innocent Iranian student, was recently falsely accused of being a terrorist and slain in a hate-crime in California. Prosecutors called the perpetrator a "white supremacist gang member." Apparently he not only did not know that Iranians are Aryans--Hollywood doesn't know this either, or at least the makers of the 300 didn't seem to know it--he also believed Iranians seeking advanced education are his enemies.
Janet Tavakoli is the author of Unveiled Threat: A Personal Experience of Fundamentalist Islam and the Roots of Terrorism