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June 17th, 2009
11:38 AM ET

Young Iranians hoped for more reasons to party

A picture of people at the party David Puente attended in Washington, D.C.

A picture of people at the party David Puente attended in Washington, D.C.

David Puente
AC360° producer

I normally travel to Washington DC for work, not for parties.

I've been to the White House for an interview with Bill Clinton when he was president and I returned several times during George W. Bush's administration. I was there for Barack Obama's inauguration and most recently I went to report on which DC church the Obama family may choose to attend.

But this past weekend I went to Washington for a birthday party.  I'm writing about it for two reasons; first it was my good friend's 25th birthday party, Jacquelyn Puente, (no relation), who works for a public affairs firm and supports various conservative causes in the Beltway.

She is a charismatic, up and coming Latina who can out-debate policy types twice her age. She also knows how to throw a party. It was an over-the-top Miami Vice-themed night and most of the guests ended up in the heated outdoor swimming pool, (some in underwear, others in designer dresses/some of us dove in, many were thrown in).

But more importantly, I'm writing about the party because so many of the guests, including Jackie's husband Robert Fardi, are young Iranians, or of Iranian descent, who work and live in the US now.

Most of them were hoping to celebrate more than Jackie's birthday, they were betting on their audacity of hope - hoping a new Iranian President would be another reason to toast that night.

But as we know, their hopes were dashed and their concerns now grow by the hour as they watch the latest news from their country or their parent's country.

One party guest who said he voted, from the US, for the defeated presidential candidate Mir-Hossein Moussavi was determined, "I will never vote in an Iranian election again," he said.  "I don't want to be part of the fraud ...and of giving them legitimacy."

Another guest added that the hard-line incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had played the populist in the election. "He gave out potatoes, to the poor. If all you have to eat is bread and yogurt, that's your main concern."

In addition to the young Iranians at the party, there were several guests from other parts of the Middle East including the Ambassador of Yemen to the United States Abdulwahab Abdulla Al-Hajjri.

The Ambassador told me that the region was still buzzing from President Obama's visit. He said that many leaders who had felt disrespected by the Bush presidency were working harder now to create a stronger relationship with the current US president.

He suggested that the Obama administration should talk with Iran. "Instead of going in with a list of demands in order to get to the negotiating table, just sit down and negotiate," he said. "Otherwise if you have all these demands in order to get to the negotiating table, when you get there what will be left to negotiate?"

Now as President Obama remains careful not to take sides on the Iran election, "whoever ends up winning the election in Iran," he said, " the fact that there's been a robust debate hopefully will help advance our ability to engage them in new ways."

But like most of the guests at Jackie's 25th birthday celebration, it is safe to assume that the president would welcome a more moderate Iranian leader to end up sitting at the negotiating table.


Filed under: 360° Radar • David Puente • Iran • Middle East
soundoff (4 Responses)
  1. sarah

    Love it. Obviously Michelle knows few Iranians in America. Who said that what happens in Iran is not at a critical point in its history? that it never seen in the last 30 years? that what happens in the next 48-72 hrs isn't crucial? of course it is. that's why American reaction – including American Iranian reaction – is important. What's wrong with that? I love Eric Hooglund's most recent writing "Iran's Rural Vote and Election Fraud" but why can't some Iranian expats talk about the politics at a party? And why can't it be written up in a blog? Sorry Michelle don't get your point. Though I think we likely agree if we both like Eric's writing. I just saw this post as a story with some reaction from expats and a fun way to get into it.

    June 17, 2009 at 2:45 pm |
  2. Michelle - St Augustine, FL

    Is this for real? It may have been a great party but this person obviously have no clue to the politics of the middle east or in Iran. His party goers may have but they obviously did not clue him into anything. Iran is a at a critical point in its history never seen in the last 30 years what happens in the next 48-72 hrs is crucial. US has no right to dictate Iran’s fate in history. Iranians must determine their own fate not the US or the surrounding countries. We all have whom we would like to have won the election but it is not ours to say. What happens now on the ground level in Iran and what is in the Iranian hearts is what is going to determine this income. Most experts on Iran will not even comment on the outcome of this event, things have changed, it was about a presidential election, but on the ground level it has changed to one of doubt of the entire establishment. Some of the information coming in from here has been really questionable to say the least.
    Please read t Eric Hooglund who has been studying Iran for over 30 years and is an expert in Iran where as the person who wrote this blog is obviously not.

    June 17, 2009 at 12:27 pm |
  3. Melissa

    This is not up to Obama. This is up to the Iranian people. Their civil war is there own problem.

    June 17, 2009 at 12:24 pm |
  4. Rambling Johnny

    Why do use "the defeated presidential candidate" Seriously anybody who still think that election was not fixed I got land to sell you... On Mars!

    June 17, 2009 at 11:55 am |