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Iranian American

October 24, 2008 | Borzou Daragahi and Larry Gordon, Daragahi and Gordon are Times staff writers.
It seemed like a routine traffic stop. At first. Esha Momeni, an Iranian American scholar visiting Tehran, was pulled over Oct. 15. She had allegedly committed a traffic violation while driving along the main north-south highway of the Iranian capital. But instead of writing up a ticket and sending her on her way, the purported traffic cops escorted the Cal State Northridge graduate student to her relatives' home.
December 2, 2007 | Swati Pandey, Times Staff Writer
The hit 1995 teen movie "Clueless" may be best known for introducing Americans to Alicia Silverstone and Paul Rudd, but first-time novelist Porochista Khakpour remembers it for another reason: It injected Iranian Americans into the U.S. pop-cultural consciousness. "There's that scene when [Silverstone's character] Cher says, 'And that's the Persian mafia. You can't hang with them unless you own a BMW.' " Khakpour, 29, delivered the line in an authoritative teen-queen squeak.
October 25, 2007 | Jill Leovy, Times Staff Writer
Ebrahim Torbati was a rug merchant. But at heart, he was a poet. The 71-year-old shop owner was killed in an apparent robbery attempt Tuesday afternoon as he read a newspaper at the entrance to his store at 840 Santee St. in the downtown Los Angeles garment district. The robber may have grappled with him briefly before shooting him about 4:15 p.m., Torbati's neighbors said. Police said the suspect pointed a gun at Torbati and reached into the drawer in his desk where he kept cash.
October 15, 2007 | Tony Barboza, Times Staff Writer
As days stretched into weeks and weeks into months, Ali Shakeri searched for optimism in his squalid Iranian prison cell, where the only thing between him and the floor at night was a thin blanket. Fearful and disoriented from endless interrogations and little contact with the outside world, Shakeri had to ask his guards what day it was. "The loneliness was the lowest point of my life," Shakeri said Sunday of his 140 days in an Iranian prison.
September 3, 2007 | Robert W. Welkos, Times Staff Writer
The May 14 letter to writer-director-producer Wayne Kramer began on an upbeat note: "Congratulations on commencing the production of your upcoming film, 'Crossing Over.' From the details I have gathered thus far, the story line is compelling." But the president of the National Iranian American Council, Trita Parsi, soon got to the point: "I have serious concerns about the portrayal of Iranian-Americans in this film.
July 22, 2007 | Borzou Daragahi, Times Staff Writer
The man in the green uniform at the immigration control counter at Mehrabad airport stamped her passport. Journalist Parnaz Azima said she breathed a bottomless sigh of relief. It was here the intelligence officers often moved in, discreetly guiding visitors to the small office off to the side that every Iranian traveler knows and fears. She met her brother, and they went to gather up her bags and head for the exit. Their mother was gravely ill, and Azima was anxious to see her before she died.
July 19, 2007 | Borzou Daragahi, Times Staff Writer
Iranian state television aired a documentary Wednesday using statements by detained Iranian American scholars to make a case that Washington was plotting to foment a velvet revolution in the country. The program, called "In the Name of Democracy," showed extensive video, apparently heavily edited, of academics Haleh Esfandiari and Kian Tajbakhsh.
July 17, 2007 | Ramin Mostaghim and Borzou Daragahi, Special to The Times
Iran's state-controlled television aired a short clip Monday touting an upcoming news program that it says will show taped confessions by two Iranian Americans jailed this year on charges of espionage. One of them, Haleh Esfandiari, 67, looks pale but otherwise healthy, and wears a black chador over all but her face and hands. She is shown in a residential setting, speaking to the camera.
July 11, 2007 | From the Associated Press
Iran's judiciary has "broadened" investigations of the cases of two detained Iranian Americans charged with endangering national security, saying there is fresh evidence, a spokesman said Tuesday. Prosecutors "obtained new evidence in line with the charges brought against" Haleh Esfandiari and Kian Tajbakhsh, judiciary spokesman Ali Reza Jamshidi said. "The case is under investigation," he told reporters without elaborating.
June 22, 2007 | Muhammad Sahimi, MUHAMMAD SAHIMI is a professor of chemical and petroleum engineering at USC.
THREE OF THE FOUR Iranian Americans who have been detained in recent months in Iran -- Haleh Esfandiari, the director of the Middle East program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars; Kian Tajbakhsh, a consultant to the World Bank and the Open Society Institute; and Parnaz Azima, a reporter for the U.S.-funded Radio Farda -- have received support for their freedom from powerful organizations and people in the United States and elsewhere.
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