Laleh and Ladan

After 27 years, twins dream of separate lives

March 22 2002

Tehran: After 27 years of shared life, Iranian Siamese twins joined at the head are seeking international help to undergo surgery and lead individual lives.

Laleh and Ladan Bijani have been rejected numerous times for the surgery they crave.

"Our biggest dream is to be separated physically and live the rest of our lives as independent individuals," Laleh said.

In 1996, Laleh and Ladan, both Tehran University law graduates, underwent tests in Germany, where doctors said separation could be fatal for one or both.

Attempts to separate them would be complicated by an artery supplying blood to the brain both sisters share. Ladan said their hopes hinge on a surgical procedure they heard was available in the United States.

Asked if one of them was ready to die for the other, Laleh said: "We have waited for 27 years because we didn't want to choose such a difficult option."

The twins refused to discuss details of their personal lives, but admitted they occasionally disagree on what to eat, read or watch on television and how to spend their leisure time.

As they were unable to compete separately at university entrance exams, the Government granted them a scholarship to study at the law faculty of Tehran University in 1994.

Distracted by their ultimate wish of a separation, it took the sisters 6 years, instead of the normal four years, to obtain their degrees.

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