I received a letter circulating in the community, naming me as some agent or well known "supporter" of the Islamic Republic of Iran, based on the photo in this Blog.
The photo is a random shot of attendees at last year's NIAC conference. I attended this conference and met all kinds of fascinating Iranian-Americans, including Dariush Shahnifar who had ran for Congress. Alan Eyre, the Persian spokesman at the State Department was also there. In this photo, I'm standing next to him right after a conversation with him about Hafez. I was so impressed that he knew his Hafez so well, I wanted to speak to him. He had quoted the first line of Yussef-eh gomgashteh - and I first thought:"Well, most people know that..." and then he went on to cite the 2nd line by heart (the line is posted in this Blog) and that's when I was truly impressed!
I have no idea who the rest of the people are in this photo. Apparently one of them is a contentious person, and the "proof" to some people that all the people in the photo are connected to something sinister.
I wanted to say unequivocably that I have never met any of these characters and certainly do not work on behalf of any government.
It is shameful for such accusations to be flying around in the commmunity. And yesterday, this photo from last October, had surfaced again. One thing did work - I decided to not attend the NIAC conference this year - even though the one last year, was one of the most interesting experience I've recently had. This kind of headache is just worth it.
Please stop this kind of accusation. I wouldn't even go into the randomness of this photo - I was just happy to have had a chance to talk to Alan Eyre. I am putting the 2nd line of the Yussef-eh-Gomgashteh that Alan Eyre quoted at me, here, too.
Attending a NIAC conference, or hoping Iran-US relations improve regardless of who is in power in either country, do not make one an agent or "supporter" of any particular entity. It is truly surprising to see this level of baseless accusation among the Iranian-American community. And I wanted to openly talk about this photo - incase it pops in your inbox, too.
I wish these lines of Hafez apply to all of us:
ای دل غمدیده حالت به شود دل بد مگن
وین سر شوریده باز آید به سامان غم مخور
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