PETALUMA, Calif. — At 99 years of age, Iranian Khatoun Khoykani has finally received her citizenship in the United States, more than a decade after she submitted her application, according to the Associated Press.
And she is jubilant. Speaking in her native Farsi, the ecstatic Iranian said: "I’m so excited, I can't even think," reported Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, also drawing from the AP.
Khoykani was speaking at a naturalization ceremony in Los Angeles on Friday, which she attended alongside 3,700 other new US citizens.
She left Iran in the years following the country's 1979 Islamic Revolution, said RFE/RL.
Moving to the United States in 1998, the AP said Khoykani eventually settled in LA, home to such a large Iranian community that its other name is "Tehrangeles." (Listen to Iranian comic Maz Jobrani explore the city's Persian side with BBC here.)
She had been anticipating this moment for 15 years, according to the AP, but it hasn't exactly been a smooth wait.
Khoykani went back to Iran several years after coming to the States in order to care for her husband, who had contracted brain cancer, said the AP. He died in 2009, but Khoykani had trouble coming back to America because she'd been gone more than six months. Her daughter came to Iran to get her, and the two then embarked on what the AP described as "a lengthy legal process" in the States.
"You have to commend this woman, Claire Nicholson of the city's US Citizenship and Immigration Services office told the AP.
"It's pretty remarkable," she said. "We don't get too many people her age."