Last week I was pleasantly surprised to read an opinion article published in the Los Angeles Times that was authored by Shahrzad Elghanayan, the granddaughter of the late Habib Elghanian who was the Jewish community’s leader that had been executed by the Iranian regime in 1979. Shahrzad Elghanayan’s piece was particularly powerful not just because she reminded readers of the significantly heinous crime Iran’s current regime committed by executing her grandfather on trump up charges of espionage for Israel, but she shed light on the brain drain from Iran during the last 33 years that has caused that nation to continue into a downward spiral. Habib Elghanian was not just your average wealthy industrialist in Iran, he was one of perhaps a dozen proud and very affluent Iranian citizens who helped create entire industries in Iran that employed millions of people and were gradually helping Iran to become self sufficient. More importantly he was a philanthropist who gave back to all Iranians regardless of their religions. In 2009 I had the pleasure of interviewing Elghanian’s brother, family members and friends who recalled this great man’s generosity and love for his country. My piece regarding Elghanian can be read here.
His granddaughter in her beautifully crafted piece expresses the sentiments many young and old Iranian Americans feel in their hearts today about the tragedy that occurred in Iran in 1979. The mass executions, arrests and torturing of business people, intellectuals and Iran’s educated “cream of the crop within the population” in the early years of the revolution have resulted in a mass exodus of millions of Iranians— Jews, Muslims, Bahais, Christians and Zoroastrians from their homeland. Shahrzad Elghanayan proudly names just a handful of the thousands of Iranian Americans who have transformed the business world but from the U.S. and the west. Moreover she correctly makes the point that the nation of Iran could have today benefited from these great minds if the insanely idiotic fundamentalist Islamic leaders in Iran had not destroyed the substantial freedom and relative tolerance people in Iran had enjoyed during the Pahlavi dynasty. The Iranian clerics that run the regime have essentially “flushed down the toilet” Iran’s chances of a better and prosperous future when they carried out their ruthless campaign of terror, persecutions and murders in Iran. And as Iran continues to spiral out of control today with the regime’s pursuit of nuclear weapons that can potentially drag the world into a horrendous international war, Iranians living outside that country can only sit on the sidelines and pray others worldwide do not experience the horrific tragedies they experienced at the hands of the Iranian regime’s leaders.
Iranian Jews living in the U.S. will never forget the crime that was committed against our community when the Iranian regime executed the innocent Habib Elghanian. The horror of his sudden murder that caused thousands of Jews to quickly flee Iran, has been tattooed forever in the minds of many Iranian American Jews. Today we will not remain quiet about what the Iranian regime did to Elghanian and we will continue to remind the world of the dangers of this regime that has been ruling Iran with an iron fist for more than three decades! My only hope is that President Obama and the U.S. administration will finally wake up to the reality that they cannot trust nor hammer out a deal to “contain” a nuclear armed Iran. Regime change in Iran carried out only by the people of Iran who must rise up against their totalitarian regime is the only hope for a normal, nuclear weapons free and peaceful Iran. Kudos to Shahrzad Elghanayan for sharing the reality that not only Iranian Jews in the U.S. feel but that most Iranians of various faiths living in the west believe about the failed clerical regime running their former homeland.