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Iranian refugee says ‘thank-you UCA’

Tayeb Sadeghian in West End
Tayeb Sadeghian arrived at Brisbane Airport seeking political asylum in September 1989. He had no passport, no plane ticket and hadn’t slept for days. Tayeb’s fear at that time was that the Australian Government would send him straight back to Iran where he had been imprisoned for his democratic beliefs. By the day’s end, however, his situation had improved thanks to the support of the Uniting Church Synod and its World Mission staff at that time, Neville Marsh and Ruth Delbridge.

“I was able to make a phone call from the Marsh’s place to let my family back in Iran know that I was OK.”

Tayeb moved to a House of Freedom Christian Community house in West End and sought help from the South Brisbane Immigration and Community Legal Service in applying successfully for refugee status and Australian citizenship. Those early days of adjustment were difficult; especially while Tayeb’s English language skills were limited.

“I wasn’t sleeping very well. All my memories were of the two years in jail and the fear that I hadn’t really left it all behind.”

Tayeb’s health and happiness also improved when he met Jillian one Spring day in the heart of Brisbane. They married in 1992, applied for a home loan, and now live in nearby Hill End with their 8 year-old son, Tahir.

Looking back, Tayeb is appreciative of the support which the Uniting Church gave him in practical matters of housing and employment, but also in advocating for freedom and human rights in Iran. Tayeb was actively involved in emergency relief fund-raising following the Bam Earthquake on Boxing Day 2003 which killed more than 41,000 Iranian people.

As president of the Association of Iranian Refugees in Australia, Tayeb is concerned that the ‘war against terrorism’ has mistakenly targeted supporters of Iranian democracy in North America, Europe and Australia. Tayeb’s house was visited at 6am in June 2003 by the Federal Police as part of a raid to find evidence that money was being sent from Australia to support an Iranian political organisation named on an official US terrorist list. (see http://www.abc.net.au/am/content/2003/s871635.htm)

“How can President Bush label Iran as part of the ‘Axis of Evil’ and yet still list Iranian opposition groups, such as Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK), as ‘terrorists’. We are the ones bearing the real cost of opposition to the Iranian regime.”

Despite these struggles, Tayeb Sadeghian retains an optimistic disposition, hoping that one day he and his family can visit a free and democratic Iran.

Photo : Tayeb Sadeghian in West End