A number of Iranian-Americans have responded with anger after U.S. Republican Senator Lindsey Graham quipped in an interview that it would be "terrible" if DNA testing revealed that he had Iranian ancestry.
A South Carolinian who has been hawkish on Iran and was a vocal critic of the 2015 nuclear deal that was subsequently abandoned by fellow Republican President Donald Trump, Graham quickly sought to clarify his comments by saying that his joke was directed at “the Ayatollah, not the Iranian people.”
But some prominent Iranian-Americans had already decried the perceived slight as “racist” and “disgusting."
Iranian-American executives, including Twitter chairman Omid Kordestani, criticized the comments.
“Please start upholding the best values of our great nation and its institutions and stop mimicking the divisive and simpleminded voices! An apology is in order,” Kordestani tweeted on October 17, before word of Graham's follow-up interview in which he said the remark was "a joke."