While worldwide attention and concern was focused on the Persian Gulf and Washington, D.C., this past week, one woman in Ogden was living through "a mild hell," thinking her Iranian husband was one of the 290 passengers killed in the downing of an Iranian jetliner.
Margaret, an American Moslem of five years, was in Jackson Hole, Wyo., when she heard the U.S. Navy had shot down the jetliner. She said she immediately "knew" that plane was carrying her Iranian husband."A part of me felt dead," she said. "I couldn't eat or sleep. I couldn't work. I cried at the least little things and I now have no fingernails."
Her husband, Ali, had called the week before to tell Margaret about travel plans and his flight numbers. Margaret, who asked that the Deseret News not print her last name because her religion prohibits "seeking publicity," had plans to meet him in Turkey in a couple of weeks.
But then Wednesday night the phone rang. It was her husband, who told her he had changed travel plans and had gone to Istanbul. He was safe and would call her again later.
"When I found out he was OK, I told him I was going to kill him for letting me worry for four days," Margaret said. "They don't worry about anything over there." She said she had been continuously trying to call her husband but without success.
Margaret has been married to Ali since September, but the marriage is an unusual one. She came to know Ali through his sister, a "good friend," yet she has never met her husband in person. She has only corresponded with him through letters and phone conversations. The couple was married by proxy and their vows were made over the telephone.
If immigration details can be worked out, Margaret hopes to bring him back to the United States where he plans to go to school. "I plan on staying with him forever," she said.
Ali has strong desires to leave Iran, but Margaret, an American born in Alabama, said if it weren't for the Ayatollah Khomeini, she would prefer to live in Iran.
"I think America stinks right now," she said. "They should have looked better before shooting down innocent people."
Margaret said she separates the actions of the American government from the American people but said Khomeini has convinced the Iranian people that all Americans are bad because of the actions of the U.S. government.
"Reagan is doing the same thing as Khomeini when he says all Iranians can't be trusted," she said. "There is some good and bad in any kind of race.
"The United States has no business in the Persian Gulf. We're just irritating Khomeini a little more," Margaret said.
"And when you irritate him there's going to be bloodshed - and there will be."
Margaret said there is a possibility that the Iranian government sent the plane into the area to be shot down in order to increase anti-American sentiment around the world.
"Whether or not Khomeini sent that plane and let them die that way . . . maybe he did, I don't know," she said.
"I don't know who to believe but I do know that we don't belong in the gulf," Margaret said.
"I'm just afraid now of what they might do here."