Iranian American

Iranian American

Infobox Ethnic group
group = Iranian American

caption =
Farhad RostampourAnousheh AnsariGoli Ameri
poptime = 378,000 [ U.S. Census Bureau: Population by Selected Ancestry Group and Region: 2005] ] to 691,000 [ [ | Archive Pages ] ]
popplace = West, Northeast, South
langs = American English, Persian, and other languages of Iran
rels = Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Zoroastrianism, and the Bahá'í Faith

Iranian Americans are American citizens of Iranian ethnicity or heritage. Although Iranians have lived in the US in relatively small numbers since the 1930s, a large amount of Iranian-Americans are immigrants that have lived in the US since the Islamic Revolution of 1979. [cite web |url= |title=Spotlight on the Iranian Foreign Born |author=Hakimzadeh, Shirin |coauthors=Dixon, David |year=2006 |month=June |work=US in Focus |publisher=Migration Information Source |quote=The Iranian foreign born are a relatively new population whose migration to the United States was concentrated around the years of the Islamic Revolution (1978-1979). ]


Iranian immigration to the United States has been continuous since the 1980s. Today, the United States contains the highest number of Iranians. The Iranian-American community has produced a sizable number of individuals notable in many fields, including medicine, engineering, and business. The community expanded predominantly in the early 1980s in the wake of the Iranian Revolution and the fall of the former regime. They have comparatively liberal political opinions and westernized lifestyles due in part to American acculturation. Iranian-Americans thus are secular or otherwise, tend to practice moderate, less traditional forms of Shi'ism (some were forced into asylum or exile for disagreements over religion with the Islamic Republic of Iran) as well as liberal Judaism.

Many Iranian Americans are also members of the Azeri, Armenian, Kurdish, Assyrian, or other ethnic groups, reflecting the diversity of Iran. Before the revolution, American universities were very popular in Iran for their quality of education, and this was a major force in drawing a large number of Iranian students to the United States. In the 1977/78 academic year, there were about 100,000 Iranian students abroad of whom 36,220 were enrolled in the US institutes of higher learning; the rest were mainly in the United Kingdom, West Germany, France, Austria, and Italy. In the 1978/79 academic year, just on the verge of the revolution, the number of Iranian students enrolled in the US was 45,340, and in 1979/80 reached its peak of 51,310. Iran had the highest number of students in the US compared to any other country. From a total foreign student enrollment in the United States of 263,938 in the 1978/79 academic year, 17% were from Iran. Nigeria ranked second with 16,340 students or 6% of the enrollments. The number of students from other oil exporting countries was also high in that period due to the rapid increase of petroleum prices in the 1970's. The increase in oil prices brought higher oil revenues to the Iranian economy, and as a result, part of it was invested in students' education abroad, either directly by government financial aid" and/or indirectly by the students' families. This investment paid off and resulted in an excellent cohort of Western-educated professionals. Because Iran had a shortage of high-level manpower at that time, a number of students were returning home after graduation to work. Some had to return because they had received financial aid in exchange for obligation to serve the government or industry upon graduation. Those who were politically dissatisfied with the former regime remained abroad. After the revolution, some of them returned to Iran to serve the country, but were gradually purged out of the newly established Islamic Republic. Some of the students who graduated abroad after the revolution also did not return because of the ruling clergy's repression in Iran. As a result, the educated elite who left Iran and the new graduates in the U.S. who chose not to return home created a large pool of highly educated and skilled Iranian professionals in the United States.

Iranian American Physicians

The earliest Iranian professionals in the US before the revolution were the physicians. They were mostly young temporary trainees who were working as medical interns or residents. Some could establish themselves to continue to practice beyond the residency stage. Their motives to stay in the US were more for professional, social and political reasons than for economic incentives. The total number of Iranian physicians in the US before the revolution grew to 2,306 in 1978. The physicians who migrated to the US after the revolution were mostly experienced and came with their families for a permanent stay. At present, there are about 5,000 Iranian physicians working in the United States who have their own practice and/or work in medical institutions. Based on a count in 2001, about 4,000 of them obtained their primary medical education in Iran, and have gone through advanced training in the US. There are also about of a 3,000 new generation of Iranian physicians who have received their entire training in some aspects of the field in the US. This increases the total number of Iranian medical doctors in the US to about 8,000. Iranian American Professors

Another major group of highly trained Iranian professionals in the US are university professors. Based on a report that was published by the National Science Foundation in 1998, 1,369 Iranian born professors were teaching engineering and science on a full-time basis in the US. The total number of Iranian professors in the US is substantially higher if the Iranians who teach in other fields and part-time lecturers are added. In 2001, it was estimated that the total number of Iranian professors who teach and research in higher education institutions in the United States was about 4,000. [Torbat, Akbar E (Spring 2002). "The brain drain from Iran to the United States". Middle East Journal 56: 272–295]

See an article in the Middle East Journal by Akbar E. Torbat []


US Census

Large concentrations of Iranian Americans live in the state of California, most of them live in Southern California particularly around Los Angeles, Orange County, and La Jolla (San Diego). Other Iranian-American communities in California include the Sacramento Valley, San Joaquin Valley, Imperial Valley and the Coachella Valley. For this reason, the L.A area with its Iranian American residents is sometimes referred to as "Tehrangeles" or "Irangeles" among Iranian Americans, in allusion to Iran and its capital, Tehran, which is also a sister city of Los Angeles. [cite news|title=Iranians at odds over talks with 'the Great Satan'|publisher=The Sunday Telegraph|date=04-06-2006|url=]


There are also large concentrations in Chicago, Las Vegas, New York City, Phoenix, Washington DC, and around Dallas and Houston, Texas, and a sizable Iranian American community developed in Oklahoma since the 1970s and 1980's (mostly in the cities of Tulsa and Oklahoma City) Fact|date=February 2007. An NPR report recently put the Iranian population of Beverly Hills as high as 20% of the total population. Beverly Hills elected its first Iranian-born Mayor, Jamshid Delshad, in 2007. [ [ NPR: Living in Tehrangeles: L.A.'s Iranian Community ] ] [ [ Beverly Hills will have first Iranian-born mayor in USA - ] ] Iranian communities in the US also have varying religious populations among each city.

Notable individuals

Iranian-Americans are among the most educated and successful communities in the U.S., according to a report by [ Iranian Studies group at MIT] . Iranian-Americans have founded and/or participated in senior leadership positions of many major US companies, including many Fortune 500 companies such as GE, Intel, Verizon, Motorola, Google, and AT&T. The founder/CEO of eBay (Pierre Omidyar) is a Persian, as well as the founder of Bratz (Isaac Larian). In September of 2006, Anousheh Ansari, co-founder of the Ansari X Prize became the first female tourist in space. Ansari is also the co-founder and former CEO of Prodea Systems Inc. and Telecom Technologies, Inc. In July 18th 2007 Farhad Rostampour became the first Iranian-born pilot to complete a record setting flight around the world. His flight was known as FreedomFlight. Goli Ameri was recently confirmed as U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs, making her the highest-ranking Iranian-American public official in the United States.

Many Iranian Americans are active philanthropists and leaders in improving their community. In 2006, The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center was the recipient of a 10 million dollar donation from an Iranian American couple based in Houston, Texas. [ [ Profile of an Iranian-American philanthropist: Ali Saberioon ] ] [ [ Title_ - M. D. Anderson Cancer Center ] ] ($30 million) [ [ University of California, Irvine | The Paul Merage School of Business ] ] [ [ | Archive Pages ] ] , among others. Well-known Americans of Iranian descent include Christiane Amanpour, Bijan Pakzad, Sarah Shahi, Firouz Naderi, Shohreh Aghdashloo, Maz Jobrani, Ali Javan, Sina Tamaddon, Omid Kordestani, Rudi Bakhtiar, and Catherine Bell [ [ Catherine Bell - Biography ] ] [ [ Catherine Bell Biography, Bio, Profile, pictures, photos from ] ] .A notable Iranian-American who works in sport is WWE wrestler Shawn Daivari. Sobhan Tadjalli is also a notable Iranian American Professional Soccer Player, who has had stints with the Philadelphia Kixx, Delaware Dynasty, and TSV 1860 Munich.In film there are several Iranian American actors and film crew, including the Academy-Award nominee Shohreh Aghdashloo, producer Bob Yari, and Farhad Safinia, co-writer of Mel Gibson's Apocalypto, Daryush Shokof (cult) Artist-writer-Filmmaker (Seven Servants with Anthony Quinn )

The son of the last Shah of Iran, Reza Pahlavi, lives in the USA, as well as several high ranking officials in the Shah's administration like Hushang Ansary and Jamshid Amouzegar.

ee also

*American Iranian Council
*List of Iranian Americans
*National Iranian American Council
*Little Persia, Los Angeles, California
*Persian palace

External links

* [] Iran Census Report (2003): Strength in Numbers - The Relative Concentration of Iranian Americans Across the United States
* [ Report into the life of Iranian-Americans from]
* [ American Iranian Council Promoting Iranian American Participation in Civic Life]
* [ National Iranian American Council Promoting Iranian American Participation in American Civic Life]
* [ Fact-sheet on the Iranian-American Community (ISG MIT)]
* [ - Comprehensive Iranian-owned business directory (US & Worldwide)]
* [ Migration Information Source]
* [ Iranian-American Organizations]
* [ Iranian American Political Action Committee]
* [ The Silence of the Iranian Lambs] , JURIST
* [ Iranian Alliances Across Borders (IAAB)]
* [ Resolution Condemning Discrimination and Bigotry Against Iranian Americans Re-Introduced in the House]
* [ Persian-American Community Outreach]
* [ Persian Jews politicking on Rodeo Drive]
* [ Network of Iranian American Professionals of Orange County]
* [, website for the expatriate Iranian community, mostly Iranian-Americans]


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