ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Shahin Monshipour moved to America in 1978- escaping Iran right before the fall of the Shah. She attended the Rochester Institute of Technology and was a professor locally for more than 30 years.
Monshipour came to the U.S. for democracy, freedom, and diversity. She said she still sees that America, but as tensions grow between the U.S. and Iran, she worries about some of the rhetoric that’s out there.
“I earned my American citizenship, so for somebody to tell me I’m unamerican because I also have a love and familiarity with a country I was born and raised in, that’s not right and I hear it all the time,” said Monshipour.
Two of her concerns are the president’s threat to impose more sanctions on Iran and go after its cultural sites.
“For thirty years- three decades- of punishment, destroying the whole country saying, ‘okay, now that you don’t have much left we’re going to impose another round of sanctions and make you devastated and then we’re going to even go after your cultural heritage,’ I think it’s too high a price, honestly, for anybody to pay,” she said.
Monshipour said unfortunately, the Iranian government tries to portray Americans as Iranian-haters. For this reason and others, she doesn’t think military force is the solution either.
“It unifies the people around the wrong leaders. Iranians have a lot of grudges about their government, they like to do it their own way, improve it if they have to, change it, negotiate it, inch by inch make progress. They are capable of doing it, they need help, yes, but it’s not coming from the right place.”
Monshipour said with the U.S. being the model for the rest of the world, there must be a better way to handle this. She said the best solution in her opinion is to go back to the agreement President Obama put in place with Iran when he lifted sanctions.