Ms. Ferydoni, what are your feelings about the events in Iran these days?
With very mixed ones – between horror and hope. My parents fled Iran in 1985, so I was two years old when we came to Germany and I spent a very, very long time trying to shake off this background so that I could be considered integrated. The fact that these events have now developed such a dynamic sends me on an emotional roller coaster ride. I’ve also started to get more involved with my family, with the history of Iran, and with friends. And I try to get involved politically as best I can, as a solidarity voice from abroad.
You had an emotional appearance at the Green Party Congress in mid-October. What was the message that was important to you?
It was important to me that the German media included in their reporting what people from Iran were posting on social media. So far I haven’t had enough of that. What is happening in Iran is happening before our eyes thanks to social media. That must not go unheeded. There has to be help and solidarity and support for the people there. And one day consequences.
During your short speech, I noticed that you said – also to the Foreign Minister, who was also on the podium: “Annalena, look, we need your help. Dear Greens, dear Germany, my country, please, we need you now.” What did you mean by “my country”?
I mean Germany. But I also meant Iran. That was an expression of ambivalence. I mean both countries.
What exactly is Iran for you? You never consciously lived there. You could say Iran is your parents’ country, but it’s more than that, isn’t it?
No, it’s actually more my parents’ country. Or it was the country of my parents. The country that my parents left no longer exists in this form. Perhaps people from the former GDR can understand that quite well: that you can never go back to the land of your childhood and youth because it no longer exists in this form. But guess what? What makes Iran special isn’t just the country, but above all the people. Above all, it is the many millions of Iranian women in the diaspora, most of whom are very successful, in all kinds of industries, including and above all in my industry, where I repeatedly experience encounters and friendships. Where I always get a feeling of home when I’m with these people.
Have you ever been back to Iran, visiting or something?
No, I know the country mainly from what my parents told me.
Germany has traditionally been a major destination for Iranians leaving their homeland for Europe. According to estimates, there are 300,000 Iranian exiles in this country. And as you say, many are very visible, in public – Navid Kermani has been advertised as a candidate for the office of Federal President – or in professions with high social prestige such as engineers, lawyers or doctors. Do you actively count yourself among this exile community?