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Iranian Jewish woman charts 8 years of oppression under Islamic regime in memoir

18 87 135
04.12.2020

On January 6, 2020, Jacqueline Saper appeared on a PBS Newshour broadcast to comment on the assassination of Quassim Suleimani, military commander of Iranian forces, by a US drone strike. Now, as if to bookend the year, Mohsen Fakhrizdeh, the senior Iranian nuclear scientist, was eliminated (reportedly by Israel) outside Tehran on November 27.

“The assassinations of these two influential men are a massive blow to the regime. Iran can retaliate in many fashions, but it would possibly get more gains by not taking any action,” Saper said.

A writer and speaker, Saper is not a military or political expert. However, she is often called upon to provide her opinion of Iran’s actions based on her unique life experiences that enable her to “hear between the lines of what Iran’s leaders say.”

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When Saper was in her last year of high school in Tehran in 1979, almost all her friends and classmates left the country at the advent of the Iranian Revolution. Within months of the overthrow of the Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi by Islamic revolutionaries, the vast majority of Iran’s 80,000 Jews fled to Israel, the United States and Europe. ‘From Miniskirt to Hijab: A Girl in Revolutionary Iran’ by Jacqueline Saper (Potomac Books/University of Nebraska Press)

Although Saper’s brother was already in the United Kingdom, and her sister and her family hurriedly departed for the US, she was left behind with her parents. Her academic father doubted he could start over in a new country, so they chose to stay, hopeful that the revolution would pass and that things would revert to normal for the Persian Jewish community, one of the oldest in the world.

As a result, Saper is one of very few Persian Jews of her generation to have lived before, during and after the revolution in Iran. Within the span of a few short years, she went from being a university-bound 18-year-old to a stay-at-home wife. She was forced to exchange her fashionable Western clothes for ones that covered her from head to toe, according to the dictates of radical Islamic law now ruling her homeland.

Saper, who managed to escape Iran with her husband and children to the US in 1987, chronicles her unique story in her concise memoir, “From Miniskirt to Hijab: A Girl in Revolutionary Iran.” The bookwon the 2020 Chicago Writers Association Book of the Year Award for traditional non-fiction and is nominated for the Clara Johnson Award for Women’s Literature.

Saper is one of very few Persian Jews of her generation to have lived before, during and after the revolution in Iran

Saper is one of very few Persian Jews of her generation to have lived before, during and........

© The Times of Israel


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