Persian Gulf victim of recent vandalism
By Dolores Quintana
Persian Gulf, a newly opened wine bar and bakery at 1389 Westwood Blvd has been vandalized after the owner, Roozbeh Farahanipour, showed his support for the protests in Iran. The owner also believes that the restaurant’s memorial for Mahsa Amini and the other women killed in the weeks-long protests in Iran was a factor in the attack. The memorial, which seems to have drawn so much ire, is a table decorated simply with photos of six women, Mahsa, Hadis, Nika, Sarina, Ghazaleh and Hananeh, roses and candles.
The protests erupted in Iran after the suspicious death of Mahsa Amini on September 16, who was in the custody of the so-called Morality Police or Guidance Patrol, who monitor women’s dress and head coverings in Iranian cities. This government group can arrest women for not covering their hair or fully covering their bodies. The Guidance Patrol insisted she died of a heart attack, at the age of 22, but witnesses who were also in custody told a different story. Those women said that Amini had been brutally beaten.
When we spoke to owner Roozbeh Farahanipour via phone, he said that the memorial had only been up for a few weeks. He elaborated and said, “But when I went to LA county Supervisors to testify over the issue and make sure to tell the LA County [Supervisors] to support the Iranian movement and send a letter to the Biden Administration to not negotiate with the terrorist regime, The Islamic Republic. Almost at the same time, NBC and Washington Post gave us some publicity over the table. The name of the restaurant, the social media? That was the reason that they targeted us.” He also mentioned that the table became very popular on social media.
Farahanipour was granted asylum in The United States after he was forced to flee Iran since he was one of the leaders of the uprising in 1999. He can no longer lead his people in his home but he wants to support them however he can here.
The vandals drove by and threw an object out the window which smashed the front door at 7:55 a.m. in the morning which was captured on the restaurant’s security camera. Farahanipour believes that this was done to try and close the restaurant down, but he has decided to defy their wishes and have the wood used to block the door at night removed in the morning and then replaced when the restaurant closes at night.
When asked if he had received other threats, Farahanipour said, “That’s nothing new to me this entire life. I have a death sentence from the regime. That’s why I escaped the country. Three times I was in jail in Iran and tortured. I fight this regime my entire life, for almost 40 years. My family [has] lost more than twenty members. This is the United States, the home of the free, it is not Iran. If they think they can silence us here, they can’t”
He added, “I appreciate the community always here in the US and I’m here to support the community, whatever I can do.”