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Rudi Bakhtiar

Rudi Bakhtiar

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MIAMI, June 20 (UPI) -- The turmoil surrounding Iran's presidential election is uniting U.S.

citizens of Iranian descent, political activists said.

"You can't but help feel for the youth, seeing our youth out in the streets" of Tehran, said Rudi Bakhtiar, a spokeswoman for the Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans, a Washington group.Americans of Iranian descent have been transfixed by Internet images, e-mails and Web postings of the protests in Iran, said Ghazal Yazdanparast, 28, an event planner at a Miami hotel.Inspired by the protests, Yazdanparast this week began contacting friends and family, telling them, "Please join as we advocate for change in Iran."An estimated 400,000 Iranians live in the United States, most of them in California and Florida, The Miami Herald reported Saturday.

Many want to see greater democracy in Iran, but hope change can come without violence, said Mehdi Talebpoor, 51, of Miami."People want freedom," Talebpoor said.
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