Being Marji's uncle seems to be bad luck (be sure to read about Uncle Anoosh in this section), and Uncle Taher is no exception. He has a heart attack, and needs to go to England to have heart surgery. But Iran, being the paranoid place full of freedom restrictions that it is, will not give him a passport in a timely manner.
Taher's one wish is to see his son one last time. Marji's family tries, and almost succeeds, at getting him a fake passport, but the man who will make the fake gets caught and has to flee the country. Uncle Taher dies and is buried on the same day as his official passport arrives. Just to twist the knife into our heart even deeper, Marji tells us, "He never got to see his son" (16.56).
Excuse us while we wipe our tears. Uncle Taher's story illustrates how war affects even people who aren't in combat, and that restrictions in freedoms hurt many people. The effects are felt far and wide.