By Jeff Todd
DENVER (CBS4) – An experience that both called “a nightmare” turned into a dream come true for an Iranian family reunited at Denver International Airport Tuesday night.
“I saw her on May 5, one year ago,” Zoheir Khademian said.
CBS4 first met Zoheir in February after President Trump’s first attempt at a travel ban. Zoheir, like many Iranian students, was facing what appeared to be insurmountable odds. His wife left the country months prior and her visa application had been put on hold.
“I didn’t think I’d get her back at all. I was under the impression I needed to get my Ph.D. done as soon as possible or just quit and get back home,” Zoheir said.
Zoheir’s wife Zahra left on May 5, 2016 to return to Iran to help treat her father’s cancer. She’s a doctor but can’t practice in the U.S. on Zoheir’s student visa. Zahra flew to Turkey to begin the process of coming back to Colorado in August.
Zoheir says visa applications usually take three to four months to get approved.
“It’s been like 7 months. We’ve been trying to get her visa approved. It didn’t happen until two weeks ago,” he said.
“Coming back to the U.S. (was) like a nightmare to me,” Zahra Ayoubi said.
But what kept her going was the hope she’d see her husband again in the United States.
Zoheir and Zahra say they don’t know exactly how or why the Visa was approved when it was. Zoheir thinks Rep. Ed Perlmutter’s office helped. But when the embassy website said the visa was approved Zoheir didn’t waste any time buying Zahra her ticket back to him.
“I don’t’ know how to express my feeling. I’m speechless,” Zahra said.
While the reunion may have been the best part of the day for the couple, at least one other family is happy Zahra was headed to the U.S. when she was. She says on her flight from Amsterdam to Minneapolis a child began to have a seizure. When flight attendants asked if a doctor was on-board she was able to help treat the child successfully.
Now, reunited, the couple has plans for the weekend in Golden.
“There are a lot of friends that want to meet her and catch up and stuff like that. For sure we’ll have a big celebration,” Zoheir said.
Jeff Todd joined the CBS4 team in 2011 covering the Western Slope in the Mountain Newsroom. Since 2015 he’s been working across the Front Range in the Denver Headquarters. Follow him on Twitter @CBS4Jeff.