Clemson grad stranded in Tehran during travel ban comes home to the Upstate


An Iran-born Clemson graduate who had been stuck overseas because of the travel ban is coming home to South Carolina.

Nazanin Zinouri, 29 years old and a U.S. resident of nearly seven years, had only been in Iran for only a few days when she began to hear rumors that citizens of Muslim-majority nations would be banned from returning to the United States.

She tried to return home immediately, but flights were delayed in Tehran by heavy snow. She'd only gotten as far as Dubai when the ban went into effect and authorities refused to let her board a plane back to the States.

Zinouri is expected to arrive at Greenville/Spartanburg Airport around 12:30 p.m. Monday.

She received her Ph.D. from Clemson and works at an area start-up as a data scientist.

She had gone to Iran to visit family, but while there heard rumors of a travel ban coming, so she ended her visit early to get on a flight back to the U.S. She was turned away in Dubai, and had been trying to get back ever since, expressing that she did not know when or even if she could be able to return home, and also fears over the long-term care of her rescue dog, Dexter.

While the ban was temporary and set for 90 days, Zinouri had made plans for her car, job, and dog for a three-week vacation only.

U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham was one of the politicians who became involved in the effort to have Zinouri swiftly returned home.

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A federal judge's decision allowed her to return home Monday. She said one of the first things she wanted to do on getting home was hug her dog.