Shahrzad Mir Gholikhan is a 31-year-old Iranian woman accused of trying to export night-vision goggles to Iran. This detail probably means she won't ever be a confidant of the Obamas, but that hasn't stopped Gholikhan from offering the First Couple her thoughts.
Juice recently uncovered a letter Ms. Gholikhan penned to President Obama, congratulating him on his win. She asked if he would be "another colored copy of Mr. Bush or he was a real man of his words?" After informing Obama that federal prosecutors made errors and gave false statements against her, she added, "Kind regards and wish you all the best, specially for your two beautiful daughters that whenever I see them on TV, it just reminds me with my twin daughters and makes me to take a deep breath and say: 'Lord, please get me out of this Devil-Land.'"
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In 2004, Gholikhan was arrested at a meeting in Austria, where a confidental informant from Fort Lauderdale handed Gholikhan and her ex-husband one sample pair of the goggles in exchange for $10,500. Gholikhan maintains that she simply translated for her ex-husband, Mahmoud Seif, during what she thought was a routine business meeting; she was unaware that it was an illegal plot.
Guilty or not, New Times has admired Gholikhan's spirit, which is alternately sassy and sweet. After serving just 28 days in an Austrian prison, Gholikhan traveled freely throughout Europe for three years. Upon hearing that she was wanted in the U.S., she returned in 2007 to face charges in Fort Lauderdale. She maintained her innocence. First, the court reneged on a plea deal it initially offered her. Then she had a jury trial that ended in a hung jury. At her second trial, Gholikhan rejected a public defender and boldly presented her own case -- in English, which is not her native language. She complained that she would never be treated fairly in America.
And the Obamas aren't the only political royalty Gholikan has sought out as pen pals. She also wrote to Seyed Ali Khameneyee, the Supreme Leader of Iran (more powerful than Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinijad). In that letter she says, "I regret to inform you that the only thing I'm sure about is Mahmoud Seif did not buy one night-vision goggle as a sample demo to be used in our bedroom and marriage life!" Believing herself a pawn in Khameneyee's international spy game, she asked him, "Could you please explain what's going on before I seriously open my mouth and cause a great oil and blood party that satisfies your evil needs?" In December, Gholikhan (a Muslim) sent a happy Hanukkah card, complete with Hebrew writing, to the judge of her trial, James I. Cohn: "James denied my bond, so he is not 'James Bond'!"
For the whole story of Gholikhan's case, see the New Times feature I wrote about her.