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  • Writer's pictureGabriel San Roman

Trump's Travel Ban Keeps an Iranian Woman From Her OC Husband

Updated: Aug 13, 2020

Trapped in a bureaucratic nightmare, Ashkan Keshtmand and Tahereh Fereydouni endure a long-distance relationship, their only reassurance the sound of each other’s voice over the phone. Keshtmand, a legal permanent resident from Iran, calls his wife on an early afternoon in Tustin. “Hello, what’s going on?” he asks.

“Not much,” Fereydouni replies from Tehran, Iran. “Everything’s fine.”

Keshtmand asks how her parents are doing. Fereydouni is curious about the weather in Southern California. The connection fades in and out at the onset of the conversation; the wifi in Iran is too iffy today for FaceTime to work.

In the past three years, the young Iranian couple have lived a virtual marriage despite long-held plans to start a life and a family in the United States. Keshtmand filed a petition for his wife to be granted an F-2A family-based visa in June 2016, starting the process before becoming entangled in President Donald Trump’s Travel Ban proclamation in 2017 that indefinitely suspends the issuance of immigrant and most, if not all, nonimmigrant visas from several Muslim-majority nations, especially Iran.

Read more on my latest OC Weekly Cover Feature out on newsstands now:

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