Tulsans With Ties To Iran Watch For Change

Tuesday, June 16th 2009, 9:42 pm
By: News On 6

By Chris Wright, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- Iranian-Americans around Tulsa are paying close attention to the events in the Middle East.  Many have waited patiently for the uprising and believe it has the potential to fundamentally change their country.

"People in Iran are just like us. They want freedom.  They want the ability to go about their lives the way that they want," said Mana Tahaie.

Since protests erupted following Iran's disputed election results, Mana Tahaie has been incessantly following every development.  Her parents fled the country in the 1980's.  She was born in America and her nuclear family lives here.  But, Iran has always been in their thoughts.

"We would talk in our family. It's coming, the next revolution is coming.  Freedom is coming. Ever since I was this high, we would talk about the next time people would rise up and get their freedom back," said Mana Tahaie.

Mana says many of her uncles, aunts, and cousins still live in Iran.  And, since the protests began, her family has been able to exchange e-mails with them.  As the regime has cracked down on foreign journalists, Mana has turned to social networking sites for more information about what's happening on the streets.

"Twitter has been, from what I can tell, a Godsend for people and for organizing. There's no other more immediate form of communication," said Mana Tahaie.

Mana admits she remains skeptical about how everything will all play out.  She's never been able to visit her homeland, but hopes to one day visit a free Iran.

"Even though I've been here my whole life, that's a big part of my identity and one I haven't been able to tap. So, I would love to go back," said Mana Tahaie.

Social networking has become such an integral part of the protests that the U.S. State Department asked Twitter to postpone scheduled maintenance that would have temporarily shut the site down.