Roozbeh Farahanipour, owner of Delphi Greek restaurant in Westwood, was visiting Turkey when the terrorist attacks of Sept 11, 2001, took place, even though he'd come to the United States a year earlier.
"I was watching the TV," he said. "I got shocked when I saw the situation. I'm just thinking why any organization, any human being could think of such a terrorist act."
But as horrified as he was by the attacks masterminded by al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden, who was killed Sunday by U.S. soldiers in Pakistan, Farahanipour has an even more personal reason for being glad that the Islamic fundamentalist is dead. He is actively fighting the repressive Islamic fundamentalist government in his native Iran.
Farahanipour was jailed in Iran for speaking out against the Islamic Republic government there in July 1999. He came to the United States in 2000 seeking political asylum.
Since that time, he has became a restaurant owner and is a member of the Westwood Neighborhood Council. Still, he is still tightly connected to his native land and the fight for political freedom there. In addition to his local activities, he is part of the Marze Por Gohar party, which is in exile for its part in the 1999 student uprising in Tehran.
"I really appreciate the United States for giving me the chance to continue the fight," he said, adding that Westwood's large Iranian population (a significant portion of the 400,000 Iranians who live in Los Angeles and Orange counties are located in the area) has made the neighborhood a hotbed for anti-Islamic Republic activism. "We call Westwood the capital of Iranian opposition."
He is also grateful for the way the U.S. deposed Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.
"The best day of my life was when Saddam Hussein was executed," Farahanipour said, citing the more than 1 million Iranians who died as a result of Hussein's efforts to take over Iran.
In fact, Hussein was No. 1 on his list of great enemies, with the Islamic fundamentalist government in Iran a close second.
"After them, Osama bin Laden was the biggest enemy of the world," Farahanipour said.