More Iranians live abroad in American than any other foreign country in the world. This book chronicles their immigration experiences through a sociological lens, how their culture adapts, and what drove Iranians to come to America. Iranian immigration to the United States is a relatively new political phenomenon and constitutes one of the highest status foreign-born groups in the United States. More Iranians live in the U.S., today than in any other country in the world other than Iran. It began fifty-five years ago with the study abroad of young Iranians. They came to the United States in the 1950's often as temporary residents (students and interns) but eventually changed their status to permanent residents. However, it was the Iranian Revolution of 1979, the establishment of the Islamic Republic, and the eight years of Iran-Iraq war that forced many of the best educated and most wealthy into exile in the United States and many other countries. Never before in Iran's long history, have so many people involuntarily had to leave their country.
In so far as the revolution ousted the Pahlavi dynasty, displaced the ruling class directly associated with it, it drastically changed the pattern and the nature of Iranian emigration to the United States. Consequently, the Iranian community in the United States has since undergone important structural changes in its character, its social composition, economic power, and notably, its political orientation and participation.