There was a comment this past week, deriding Iranians ‘wondering how many Nobel prizes Iranians have won versus Israelis”? As if Nobel prizes are the only thing that matters!
Then we had Donald Trump take every opportunity to deride Iran and Iranians; and has conveniently forgotten the West’s role in the rise of the Mullahs (with Khomeni landing in Tehran in a French government paid, Air France 747 in 1979); or the 1952 CIA led coup against Iran’s democratically elected government; or indeed, the Iran-Contra series of secret arms and drugs deals by Republican party operatives with Iran’s Mullahs. And then, there is convenient amnesia about Iran’s partnership (and direct role) in the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan after 9/11, or Iran’s role in the reconstruction of Iraq after the U.S. Invasion. Or indeed Iran’s positive role in defeating ISIS’s medieval butchers (financed and supported no less by U.S. and its allies)! No-one, I suppose wants me to post pictures of ISIS ‘fighters’ cutting the head of Americans and Europeans caught by them in Syria or Iraq? And then, there was the tale of how the U.S. and the West sold Nukes to Iran for over 40 years, only to blame Iran for having a nuclear program! Iran’s mullahs, ISIS, the Saudis and the Israelis are YOUR regimes – not ours! Ordinary Iranians are innocent by standers in all this. The stench of hypocrisy, lies, deceit, outright evil is horrific.
I’m personally sick and tired of derision against Iranians in popular and social media.
After a series of executive orders and subsequent judicial rulings regarding the Trump administration ban on Iranian immigration; finally, this week, we had ONE (yes, one) main stream media article coming to the defense of Iranians.
Yes, this past week, there was an excellent article in the New York times, titled: Trump doesn’t know it, but Iranians are the Norwegians he’s been looking for. But it did not go far enough. Because, if you really analyze the facts, Iranians are much more than even Norwegian-Americans. Iranians are by far the best immigrants the U.S. has ever had. And, I am not being cocky, or arrogant. Here are 7 simple facts about Iranian Americans:
- First, the U.S. grabbed massive intellectual wealth in enabling Iranian-American immigration. let’s understand a fundamental reality. Most Iranians who have come to America, have done so to study. They came here, as foreign students, paying full ‘out of state’ fees to major institutions. From the second they walked into the U.S. they added value! Many came for graduate degrees, which means that the U.S. tax payer did NOT have to pay for the schooling or subsidized undergraduate education. The median public schooling cost in the U.S. is $15,000 depending on school district. So that’s literally like handing the U.S. a check for $250,000 when they walked into the U.S.!
- This means that Iranian-American immigrants are all highly educated. 57% of Iranian Americans hold a bachelor’s degree, compared to 24% of the US population, and the percentage of Iranians who hold graduate degrees is three times the national average. Statistically, Iranians are the most highly educated immigrant group in the United States. They tend to excel in math and the sciences, fields in which American students typically struggle.
- Iranian-Americans are the wealthiest batch of immigrants the U.S. has ever had Although, Iranian immigrants did not have access to large extended families or capital when they first arrived in the U.S. many years after graduation, those same graduates are extremely financially successful.
- Iranian-American immigrants were in effect pre-selected. Ironically, the two large waves of Iranian immigrants who came to the United States because of the 1979 revolution. (A revolution, may I add, that was created by the U.S. and its allies!) But, in any event, those with connections with the West, i.e. Iran’s elite, who could not engage with Iran’s village Islamic fanatics fled the country and came to the U.S. You really can’t say that about any other batch of immigrants to the U.S.
- Iranian-Americans have created literally trillions of dollars of new wealth for America. Through survey after survey of Fortune 500 companies and other major corporations, researchers have identified more than 50 Iranian-Americans in senior leadership positions at companies with more than $200 million in asset value, including General Electric, AT&T, IBM, Verizon, Intel, Cisco, Motorola, Oracle, Nortel Networks, Lucent Technologies, and eBay. Fortune magazine ranks Pierre Omidyar, founder and chairman of the board of eBay, the wildly popular online auction company, as the second richest American entrepreneur under age 40.
The list of Iranians in high-powered tech positions is extensive, some examples of which include Shervin Pishevar, co-founder of Sherpa Capital, Pierre Omidyar, founder of Ebay, and Sean Rad & Justin Mateen, co-founders of Tinder. One of the early founders of Google, was an Iranian-American, Omid Kordestani.
Iranian-Americans have also attained top positions in financial markets. One example is Sharmin Mossavar-Rahmani, a rare woman in the male-dominated field of finance, serving as the CIO of Private Wealth Management at Goldman Sachs.
It was a strange moment of pride, when after a nine-week hunt for a CEO, Uber announced the appointment of Iranian-American, Dara Khosrowshahi, a former executive at Expedia. Khosrowshahi has the distinction of being the highest paid CEO in the US!
Without exaggeration, Iranian-Americans are responsible for over a Trillion dollars in US stock market capitalization; and a huge number of professional practices! Not bad for a population of 697,000 immigrants!
- Iranian-Americans are also major contributors to non-financial sectors of the U.S. Iranian-Americans are also prominent in academia. According to a preliminary list compiled by ISG, there are more than 500 Iranian-American professors teaching and doing research at top-ranked U.S. universities, including MIT, Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Carnegie Mellon, the University of California system (Berkeley, UCLA, etc.), Stanford, the University of Southern California, Georgia Tech, University of Wisconsin, University of Michigan, University of Illinois, University of Maryland, California Institute of Technology, Boston University, George Washington University, and hundreds of other universities and colleges throughout the United States.
The list of Iranian-American physicians, scientists and academics is extensive, with one example being the late Maryam Mirzhakhani, who received the Fields Medal in 2014, the highest honor in Mathematics.
Another example is Hadi and Ali Partovi, who co-founded code.org, (a non-profit organization that provides computer science education to 20% of US students.)
- Iranian-Americans are highly assimilated. There is no Iranian enclave or ghetto in America. No neighborhoods dominated by them. They dress well, speak fluent English; and in many cases, you would never even know they are Iranian. One of my pet peeves is that they even change their names to Sam, or Mo, or Rose etc. to become even more assimilated. I was at a car dealership in Virginia and met a “Mike Milan” … he had even changed his last name! To be fair, part of this is a desire to fully integrate into America, and a second part is sheer fear of ethnic back clash if buyers think someone is Iranian. Iranian-Americans are often ‘hidden’! This, by the way, can not be said of other ethnic immigrants – Hispanics, Koreans, Chinese, Italians, Poles …
At a time when immigrant populations are being marginalized in the US, the Iranian-American community is a notable example of how immigrant populations with access to education can truly create a better life for themselves and the society they in which they live.
Let me finish by saying, that I believe the antagonism against Iranians and Iranian-Americans is simply because they, more than any other group, understand the games and lies of the Trump administration and its supporters. You don’t see even one in a trailer park in Indiana, seduced by Trump!
Interestingly, other ethnic groups have very large numbers of illegal immigrants who have overstayed their visas and work in the shadows. There are for example 500,000 illegal immigrants from India, 300,000 Chinese, 150000 Koreans! These numbers help skew official statistics on income etc. for other ethnic groups because there is no way to account for illegal status. There are very few Iranian-American illegal immigrants by comparison.
For once, there is one group, beyond other ethnic groups, that having now become naturalized Americans, that understand the shenanigans of U.S. politicians and can call them out at it. Why? Because they are all victims of it.
This (Trump) administration won’t get away with its hatred, lies and deceit when it come to Iran. Trump fears Iranian-Americans. And, by the way, Iranian-Americans wont back down, in fact they are doubling up! And there is a very simple reason for it, it is NOT in America’s interests for there to be a continuation of these policies and lies when it comes to Iran and Iranians! Simple dual-patriotism, means they must be a voice of reason, and help the U.S. develop constructive, win-win outcomes when it comes to Iran and Iranians. Marginalizing Iran and Iranians is simply not in the interest of Iran, Iranians or the U.S. and Americans. The facts just simply don’t support it. Iranians will stand for the truth, decency, and positive politics in the U.S. You can’t say this about other ethnic immigrant minorities … Russian oligarchs, Israel’s AiPAC, or the Saudis … who as Mr. Gates once said, will fight Iranians, to the last American!
Thankfully, Iranian-Americans are getting more politically engaged in the U.S. truly helping make America great. Iranian-Americans get it. They are sophisticated, constructive, and intellectually astute. Iranian-Americans are enlightened, like Thomas Jefferson and America’s founders. At a time, when America’s education system is failing, and NOT producing critical thinkers or enlightened individuals, and there is a huge swath of Americans in the Bible-belt under the spell of Religious institutions that do not support the separation of church and state, and would re-write the constitution; Iranian-Americans are a breath of fresh air in revitalizing and reinvigorating the principles upon which America was founded. Rightly, because of their experiences, Iranian-Americans are suspicious of religious elite, religious institutions in America or around the globe! Iranian-Americans will save America from its worst elements; and in turn make the world a better place.
One day, someone in America will pay tribute to Iranian-Americans. Someone will show us some love. Because, in every respect, Iranian-Americans are the best immigrants the U.S. has ever had. Model Immigrants! Model Americans!