Toledoan once sentenced to death for protesting Iran feels heartbreak for both countries

Published: Jan. 6, 2020 at 5:29 PM EST
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Mohammad Amin Valian left his homeland of Iran nearly eight years ago.

Ten years ago, he had been imprisoned as a college student for protesting the government in Iran and sentenced to death. That sentence would later be overturned, and he was set free after eight months in an Iranian prison.

He took refuge in Turkey before coming to the U.S. to attend the University of Toledo.

Valian says the escalation in Iran is a heartbreak for him in both countries he calls home.

"It's like one night you sleep and when you wake up the world has changed," says Valian.

Amin says he's worried about the decisions that both governments are making.

While he doesn't support the Iranian government, he doesn't like to see where it's come.

"I cannot have sympathy with them, but I do have sympathy for my people. That this things is leading to a possible war that neither of us want," he said.

As Amin hears from friends and relatives in his home country, he says the American attack has backfired.

"In Iran, people were so apart from the government before this happened. But now this helped the government to get the unity that he wanted from the people," he said.