Iranian Americans are among our nation's more recent arrivals, with most arriving in the wake of the 1979 Iranian revolution and settling primarily in California, New York, New Jersey, the DC/MD/VA area, and Texas. Despite having come fleeing war, Iranian Americans, now numbering about one million, have quickly achieved much. Education and dedication are key: today, an impressive one-quarter of Iranian Americans over age 25 hold a master’s degree or higher. At least 50 Iranian Americans, such as ebay founder Pierre Omidyar, head companies with $200 million-plus assets. Iranian Americans such as Gholam Peyman, inventor of LASIK, are making advances in medicine. In higher education, too, Iranian Americans have excelled, with more than 500 now serving as U.S. university professors. Clearly, what began as an exodus of need brought a rush of new talent and innovation to our shores.
Iranian festivals -- also known as Persian, for the former name of Iran and for the language and heritage of its major ethnic group -- are a colorful and exciting way to experience the culture. At the Nowruz Festival in Los Angeles (pictured immediately above) celebrating the Persian New Year, participants enjoy the traditional annual Spring Walk. Nowruz is also celebrated annually in New York City (pictured top), Houston, Texas and Tysons, Virginia.
To enjoy a slice of Iranian American life year-round, visit Los Angeles' colorful Persian Square, also known as Little Persia or Tehrangeles. Shop for the latest Iranian books or videos, or enjoy a rich bowl of Fesenjoon, a stew of chicken, walnut and pomegranate. Linger awhile, and you can even take a class in Sitar playing.
Houses of worship also serve as community gathering places, and many welcome visitors. Iranian Americans are religiously diverse, including Muslims, Baháʼí, Jewish, Christians and others. Their beautiful national and local houses of worship reflect both religious commitment and cultural pride.
Los Angeles, California
The Islamic Center
Baháʼí Temple USA
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