Monday, December 07, 2009

Today, I received an email from a young Iranian scientist doing research in the United States. The email was titled, "New racism, very sad." It came with the above screenshot and said:

My Iranian friend who lives in Germany, and got her credit card from Germany was trying to book a hostel through just now, and she got the following discriminative message [see above screenshot]. This breaks my heart, this is new racism against people of a country that are giving their lives out on the streets to prove they do not agree with the policies of their government, it seems like the entire world is deaf and does not hear us.

I responded with some routine journalistic questions. Her reply gave me a heartache. Iranian youth get beat up in Tehran streets; must they also suffer abuse abroad?

Dear Ari,

Thanks a lot for the follow up and offering to publicize this matter more. The answers to your questions are as follows:

1. She only had Iranian passport.

2. She was in Germany at the time of use of her master card. She wanted to book a hostel in Spain for one of her friends who lives in Germnay too.

3. Banks require your info at the time of opening the account, they take copy of your passport. I actually had a bank account with the same bank last year when I was in Germany, the name of the bank is sparkasse . Its the only bank that lets Iranian students open a bank account .The other banks such as Deutsche bank and Commerz bank, which are mainly owned by USA, do not accept Iranian citizens even though the German government is paying their salary!

It might be interesting for you also to know that these matters happen in US too, because of the single entry visa that we get and the risk of going out of the country and getting rejected for visa, both me and one of my friends had to turn down travel awards for scientific meetings in Europe this year. All my Lab is currently in Dublin meeting with a group of scientist about MY research, and I could not go. My friend won an Art award and got paid to go to Italy to present her work but she could not go because of the same reason.

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