Spotlight: One student out of 36,000

Abel Pacheco

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Mahdi Baharan, 26, a transfer student from Iran, remembers experiencing the tragedies of September 11 from abroad. Photo Credit: Raspina Jannesar / Staff Photographer

Mahdi Baharan, 26, a transfer student from Iran, remembers experiencing the tragedies of September 11 from abroad. Photo Credit: Raspina Jannesar / Staff Photographer

Mahdi Baharan, a transfer student from Iran, was living abroad when two planes crashed into the World Trade Center towers on Sept. 11.

Baharan, 26, was born in Dezful, Iran during the time Iran was at war with Iraq.  After his birth, his family moved to Tehran.

While living in Iran, Baharan witnessed the tragedy of Sept. 11 from a foreign country that does not have the best ties with the United States.  He speaks of that dark afternoon as one of the most memorable days of his life.

Not being able to get the facts as quick as the rest of us not only made Baharan worried for the thousands injured but concerned for his family. His grandmother and his youngest uncle were on a flight to Los Angeles that same day.

“We couldn’t get a hold of anyone and news channels in Iran were not covering the tragedy live,” said Baharan. “My dad was getting what he could from BBC and CNN via satellite and as the hands of the clock moved slower than ever, we all anticipated a phone call to hear that my aziz (grandmother) and my uncle were OK.”

Baharan said hearing that his family was OK was settling, but he is aware that others weren’t as fortunate.

“Hearing that they were OK was one of the happiest moments of my life but I, along with many people in Iran, mourned for those who did lose their lives by lighting candles and gathering in parks and major squares in Tehran,” Baharan said. “I will never forget the day that so many innocent people lost their lives.”

Baharan also considers his move to the United States as a major milestone in his life. “Moving to America opened the doors of freedom and opportunities for me,” he said.