Far from the land she was born in, Mahboob Navab sings folk music in Washington and at other festivals.
She has lived in the United States for 38 years, one of 300,000 Iranian-born residents, among the more than one million of Iranian ancestry. Mahboob’s adopted home is in Maryland.
Navab said: “It does hurt me to say that there are a lot of young people in Iran who cannot have the freedom that I have right now, to perform, to sing, to go out the way they want to go.”
Reza Marashi, research director at the National Iranian American Council, was far more blunt, condemning many aspects about his country of origin and pointing out some of the main problems.
Marashi said: “I think the Iranian people are tired of getting hit from all side – by mismanagement, corruption, nepotism and human rights abuses aplenty on the part of their own government. Sanctions from Western countries are squeezing them even more.”
Marashi has underscored how hard it will be for both sides to agree on what must happen first, next and so on.
Marashi continued: “An improvement in the relationship between Iran and the West is going to be a marathon, not a sprint. I think the trust gap is so large and the differences in terms of policy preferences is so large that a sustained diplomatic process to try to bridge that gap and build more of an understanding is going to be quite an undertaking.”
Back at the Washington Folk Festival, our correspondent Stefan Grobe put another question to Mahboob Navab: “What is the biggest wish you would like to send out to your fellow Iranians in your own country?”
Navab said: “I wish them freedom. I wish them freedom. I wish all those young people would have all the freedom that our kids have here.”
Grobe concluded: “The Iranian American community is under no illusion as to the outcome of the election. Democratic change in Iran, if ever, might take years, if not decades. The people here only hope that a new generation of Iranians can one day live their lives in self-determination.”