I can say without a doubt that we were the most hated people in the US at that time. A bunch of Khomeini's followers, with the instructions from Tehran, were raising hell every day. People were angry at a situation that did not make sense to them. Also, as a rule, Americans were not accustomed to being screwed around by a little country. Carter was mad as hell but he was totally incapacitated. There were so many bumper stickers, saying the same sort of things: "Iran sucks", "Iran is a four letter word," and "Iranians go home". The worst one I saw was on the back of a station wagon; it read "Jesus Loves Iran". Translation: "Jesus is so kind that he even likes Iran." I could not take it any more, so I took the advice of the bumper stickers and went back to Iran.
I was there for three months, the situation there was worse, Khomeini was on a rampage, he was getting ready to go for it. All political groups were getting ready for a final showdown. My problem was different, I had made up my mind to become a psychologist at fourteen and this was the end of the dream. It was not just a goal; it was a part of my identity. I was not prepared to divorce psychology. The pressure from the family was high too. They did not want me there; they knew bits and peaces about my unruly behavior. They knew if I would not leave soon, I would not survive the upcoming battles. Secular revolutionaries were doomed and I would have been as dead as the rest of them. I was not religious. I was not a communist, and I was not anything in between. I was a nationalist, and the group that I liked was far too small to do anything. I had to come back to the US and tough it out, until I was finished with school. Once I was back here I noticed that thing had gone from bad to worse. Then the bomb shell dropped. Carter came up with a new rule "all Iranian Nationals must register with the Immigration." Why do they want us to register with immigration? We were here on student visas, they knew where we were. Mass Deportation? Unlikely. It would take Noah's arc to send 100,000 people home. Then it downed on me, Japanese concentration camps, or internment camps, or summer camp. I did not know what kind of camp was going to be for us, but if those hostages were dead, there was going to be war, and war meant some kind of camp and definitely not Camp David. Bridges were burned from both sides; going to Tehran was not an option anymore, and staying here meant putting your life in the hands of 200,000,000 pissed off people. So how about we lay low for a while.
The treatment by the general population was very different. There were those who were angry, but still would treat me like a human being. And there were the rednecks. Fortunately, if you know what you are doing. The rednecks of the world are easy to handle. I saw this guy with a cap on, with a sign which read bomb Iran. I thought let's check him out, he knew I was Iranian; the basterd was wearing the hat just to piss me off. I told him: it looks like you are getting ready to join the army. He shrugged off and said the National Guard of New Jersey can take care of Iran. I said but if they could, they would have done it already, if they have not, it is because they cannot. He went on a tirade.
BY then I knew I have got a hold of a Mr. Idiot. So let's have fun, I thought:
Q) It seems like you are really patriotic.
A) Of course.
Q) There might be a war. If they need you, would you enlist?
A) Of course.
Q) But you might get killed.
A) So what.
Q) Oh that is so nice, you are willing to die for your country? You really love this country.
A) Of course.
Q) By the way, do you know when did the Japanese attack Pearl Harbor?
Q) Tell me, do you know how many Americans were killed in the Second World War?
A) Oh, I do not know.