Washington, DC – Iranian American Darius Shahinfar, contender for the Democratic nomination for New York’s 21st Congressional District seat vacated by Rep. Michael McNulty, has proudly embraced his Iranian background. On his campaign website, he showcases a 6 minute long video in which he embraces his father’s Iranian background and says that he is “proud of his heritage.”
Shahinfar’s public embrace of his heritage is a step in the right direction for the Iranian-American community and indicates the community’s political maturation.
Shahinfar acknowledges on his website that Iranian Americans (including himself) have sometimes felt it “necessary to downplay” their heritage, but contends that “in this day and age, there is no need to do so, if there ever was.”
Shahinfar, like Iranian-American businesswoman and philanthropist, Anousheh Ansari, who became the first female space tourist, has not only referenced his heritage but has celebrated it; a refreshing move mindful in these politically tense times.
Aside from joking that his mother was also from another country (Brooklyn), Shahinfar echoes common criticisms in the Iranian-American community of the Iranian government, saying that all Iranian Americans “want to see a free and democratic Iran that does not threaten its neighbors or hold its people back.” Moreover, he states that while Iranians are proud their heritage, “no Iranian-American is proud of the Iranian government.” Shahinfar is also critical of American foreign policy, calling for an end to the Iraq War.
Darius Shahinfar’s statement on his heritage can also be found here: