By Craig Day, The News On 6
TULSA, OK -- Many people with ties to Iran are watching what's happening there closely.
That includes a Tulsan who is hopeful the protests could lead to reforms and eventually more freedom in his home country.
Tulsa restaurant owner Fred Zakerion came to the United States in 1988 for some of the same reasons why many people are now protesting in Iran -- for more freedom and opportunity.
"People right now need democracy and freedom. We don't have it right now," said Fred Zakerion, an Iranian native.
At his Pita Place Mediterranean Grill near 101st and Memorial, the news is always on.
Zakerion's following what's happening in Iran closely.
"This new generation, they want big time changes, so I hope that happens," said Zakerion.
Zakerion doesn't think the protests will lead to another Iranian revolution and that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will ultimately remain in power.
But he does think the protests are an important first step in the right direction.
"In long term, there is going to be a lot of change in my country," said Zakerion.
He's hopeful it could lead to more reform and ultimately more freedom in Iran.
Zakerion is worried about protesters.
"This protest is going to change the whole country, going to change whole life for a new generation," said Zakerion.
But Zakerion says that change won't happen quickly. Until it does, and while the protests are ongoing, he says he'll pray for the safety of protesters and for a better future for Iran.
Zakerion says worldwide support is important in helping the Iranian people right now.
However, he says more involvement by larger numbers of Iranians will have to happen before there is a significant change in government.