“Who did you stay with in Iran?”
“What's his name and where does he live?”
“Houshang Mashouf, Sarhang Sakhai and Hafez St. Building ...”
“How old is he? Has he ever been to the US?”
“He's 68 I think. He's never been to the US.”
“He can't get a visa. He tried for a few years but could only get a visa to Canada so everyone went there to visit him. I never met him until I went to Iran in 2006.”
“I'm sorry to hear about that.”
“I'm surprised you wouldn't know that it is very hard for Iranians to get visas to the US.”
“Let me tell you something. We don't know very much. We are given something called 'cultural sensitivity training.' It's actually a packet about this big.” He took his thumb and forefinger and displayed the size of the packet, which from how wide his fingers were was probably around 20 pages.
He continued, “I know that when I handle your Koran, that I shouldn't put anything else on top of it and that if I'm sitting with my legs crossed, I shouldn't face the sole of my foot towards you.”
“That's unfortunate, because if you knew a little more you may be able to understand what is normal behavior and what is suspicious... which is your job.”
“So what's in the film?” He asked obviously changing the subject.
“A lot of stuff. Me with my family, me break dancing with kids in Iran, some footage from the Zurkhoone, which is a traditional exercise or martial art.”
“It says here you went to a military base.”
I did not remember visiting a base but was reminded when he slid me a copy of my expense records with the entry "Taxi to Zurkhune Qasr Firuze on military base- 3000 Toman." I regretted writing those two words that were intended to remind me of which Zurkune I went to.
“Yes but I only went to work out. You know how military bases have gyms that guests can come work out? That's what I did.”
“Where was it?”
“I have no idea. It was in Tehran. We went there at night.”
“You understand how this could be flipped on you?” He said.
“I don't understand. Because I went to a military base?”
“You went to a military base and received para military martial arts training.”
I laughed to myself at how ridiculous that sounded and then feared the actual notion of that being made into a case.
With fear in my heart and a condescending tone I said, “Are you serious?"