Becoming Iranian-American

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I took Yara Elmjouie on a tour of Tehrangeles’ less well-known spots for an AJ+ documentary about Iranian-Americans entitled “Becoming Iranian-American“.

There’s the Garment District downtown, It’s All Good House of Kabob in the Valley, and even The Spot (if you look close enough!), and on the way we talk about the beauty and challenges of growing up Iranian-American amidst the War on Terror.
“Iranian Americans, like many other Americans with roots in the Middle East and North Africa, have been made to feel like outsiders in the United States. In addition to facing the stereotypes perpetuated by the media, they’ve also been targeted by the US government.
President Donald Trump’s travel ban has torn apart families and ruptured the limited exchanges that exist between Iran and the US, two countries that have not had formal diplomatic relations for nearly 40 years. But over those decades, many Iranians have made the US their home. Their community is among US’ newer immigrant groups, with informal estimates suggesting a population of Iranian Americans that hovers around one million people.
They have come to the US as students and economic migrants seeking opportunity, as well as refugees and exiles fleeing war, revolution and persecution. Currently, Southern California is home to what is frequently referred to as the largest community of Iranians outside of Iran – aka “Tehrangeles”.
As an Iranian American, I had been to Los Angeles a number of times, but I had not really had a chance to fully explore the Iranian parts, beyond perhaps driving past them.
In this latest Untold America series from Al Jazeera, I travel to Tehrangeles to learn about that tumultuous past.”