Mansour Moussavian, immigrated from Iran after getting an advanced degree at Stanford.
- Why did you leave Iran?
“I left Iran for education, advanced education in England. I then came to California to pursue graduate studies at Stanford. Then I got a job after graduation and decided to stay because I liked the job and the location”. These were the formal reasons he left and if it weren’t for the idea of pursuing a higher level of education, he would have most likely stayed in Iran and have never immigrated.
- What was the first difference you noticed between Iran and the United States?
- “Many differences. Freedom of speech and freedom to criticize anybody such as the government. Open society with unlimited potential for personal growth”. In Iran it was and is now more than ever harder to criticize the government. The Shah, or King, had personal police who would shoot and kill anyone who went against him. This is now worse with the current extremist leadership.
- What was the most difficult part of leaving Iran?
“Leaving my family behind”.
- What was/has been the best part of living in California/the United States?
“Professional success and enjoyment of the weather. I feel like there is no limit for what a person can achieve if they put their mind to it and try hard enough. For example, you can take classes at any community college whereas in Iran you have to apply”. In Iran it is quite rare for someone to attend “community college” since it is looked down upon.
- Do you have any regrets about immigrating?
“My regret is that there are some of my relatives that I haven’t seen for over 40 years. I have also missed places I grew up and relatives that have passed before I got a chance to say goodbye”.
- How have current politics impacted you?
“Trump’s Muslim ban has prevented some of our relatives from visiting us here”. This is true for several Muslims across the country and the irony is that there have never been terrorists from the majority of the countries that Trump banned. Saudi Arabia for example is where Osama Bin Laden was from, yet Trump allows visitors from there because he has businesses and companies in Dubai.
- Do you feel welcome in America?
“I’ve lived here for so long so of course I feel welcome, it’s my home!”
- What is one piece of advice you wish you could have given your younger self before you immigrated?
“I think the thing is you have to have a five year plan, ten year plan and a long term goal for your future which I had. You have to act on it by putting your mind and effort in it. No goal worth achieving is easy to achieve or reach”. He didn’t have any advice because he wouldn’t change anything about his life today.
- What do immigrants have to offer?
“Their brain, hard work and loyalty. They came to this country from across the world by choice so obviously we love this country.” From the way he responded to this question it was clear that he felt strongly about the positive impact that immigrants have on the United States in general.
- Do you miss Iran?
“I miss visiting but I can’t say I miss living there. I wish I could go and visit regularly but that isn’t the case”. One reason he doesn’t miss living there is because of the fear of persecution from the government and the government’s police.
Mansour was interviewed by his daughter, a student at Foothill Community College.