Dr Sanaz Yazdani.
Dr Sanaz Yazdani. Toni McRae

Bay's Iranian GP seeks asylum

AN Iranian woman doctor who lives in Hervey Bay has applied for asylum from the Australian government.

Dr Sanaz Yazdani left Iran in 2006 on a working holiday visa but she is afraid to return home after becoming a Christian in Queensland.

“I was raised on the Koran and in Islam, including wearing the hijab, a head scarf.

“I was never taught anything about the west or Christianity, only that the Bible was not the truth and that being a Christian was the ultimate sin.

“But as I studied to become a doctor in my home region in the north of Iran I was looking for something more than what was in the Koran and eventually I managed to secretly get a copy of the Bible.”

Sanaz Yazdani, always in the top five school students in her region, graduated in 2001 after seven years' study.

“I worked with poor people, including my first two years for the government because that is the law. One day I came across a little book written by an American woman that spoke about beautiful things. I never knew for quite some time after that the words were from the Bible.”

Dr Yazdani said she grew up in a culture following the Iranian revolution of 1979 that saw many family friends killed, or at the very least “they disappeared”.

“Some ministers from the Assembly of God church in Tehran were murdered and cut into pieces. We were always having to be very careful about what we said and who we mixed with and certainly putting down the Koran for the Bible meant bad trouble.”

Sanaz Yazdani managed to pass her medical and English language exams here and started working as a doctor in Agnes Water and later Roma.

“But problems arose over my contract and I resigned to take up a position in Hervey Bay, only to discover my medical and English exams needed to be sat all over again because of the time lapse in actually practising.”

Dr Yazdani passed her written medical last week and now faces her second English exam.

But meanwhile she applied this week for a protection visa so she can stay in Queensland and eventually work as a doctor again.

“I just pray for a peaceful, safe, normal world in which I can work as a doctor because that was what I wanted all my life.”

Hervey Bay GP, Shaun Rudd, chair of the International Medical Graduates for AMA Queensland said it was possible the AMA could help Dr Yazdani if she joined the organisation.

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