17 October, 2016
Los Angeles, California is home to the largest group of Iranians living outside of Iran.
The National Iranian American Council says about 1 million Iranian-Americans live in the L.A. area.
One study found that 87 percent of them are registered to vote in the United States. So it is no surprise that many Iranian-Americans have strong opinions about presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.
Westwood is a neighborhood in west Los Angeles. Persian businesses are seemingly everywhere in Westwood. Some stores still fly the Iranian flag that was used before the country's revolution in 1979.
The Jordan Market has operated in the neighborhood for 30 years. A man who calls himself Reza is an employee. He said "I think the candidates should offer their utmost respect to the Iranians."
"Iranians know where their interests lay. But the world community should expose the (Iranian) regime's corruptions and show that it does not represent the Iranian people. It's better for Mr. Trump to stop lying, and he should put a halt to attacking Iranians."
Farid Khanlou owns the Jordan Market. He has been in the United States for almost 40 years. But he says he will not vote for either candidate.
"Trump, you cannot trust his word; Clinton, it's bad for the economy. It's bad for me because the Obamacare is killing me for my health insurance, and this is not right. I'm paying almost $30,000 (for) health insurance because of the Obamacare."
Todd Khodadadi is the owner of the Tochal Market in Westwood.
"Because I'm Republican, I am supporting Donald Trump. The major reason I'm supporting him because is ... economic wise. I believe if he became the president we can have better economic choices for all of us in the United States..."
Zohreh Forouhi voted for the Republican Party's candidate in the 2012 presidential election. She says she will not vote for a Republican this November.
"I think I (will) vote (for) Hillary. I did last time for the Republican, but I changed my parties."
Bijan Khalili is the publisher of a weekly Iranian newspaper. He says some Iranian-Americans like Trump's ideas about foreign policy.
"It's exactly like the general public in the United States – it's split, you know, and divided into different types..."
But others, like Reza, fear Trump's policies. He said "His speeches are aggressive towards the minorities. He's an extremist who poses (a) danger to both the U.S. and the world."
A recent opinion survey found that 40 percent of Iranian-Americans are either independent or have no ties to a political party.
I'm Mehrnoush Karimian-Ainsworth.
VOA's Elizabeth Lee reported this story from Los Angeles. Christopher Jones-Cruise adapted her report for English. George Grow was the editor.
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Words in This Story
expose – v. to leave something without covering or protection; to make public
Obamacare – n. a federal health care law called the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act
insurance – n. an agreement in which a person pays a company and the company promises to pay money if the person is injured or dies, or to pay money equal to the value of something lost or stolen
poses – v. to put or set in place; to come to attention as