My Story As An Iranian Refugee

Posted by Azadeh Mansouri
June 17, 2011
Statue of Liberty Is Caught in an Afternoon Silhouette on Liberty Island

I was born in Tehran, Iran, in the early 1980s into a world where equal rights and laughter had just been silenced. My mother named me Azadeh, which translates to “freeperson,” as a subtle way of ensuring equal rights for women not be forgotten in the new regime.

Once, my mother was nearly beaten to death for voicing an opinion about a portrait of Khomeini -- an Iranian religious leader -- to her colleague outside their office building. As a senator in Parliament, my grandfather was in hiding during the early years of the Islamic revolution. Many of his colleagues were either executed or tortured. In order to leave the country, my grandfather left Tehran in the trunk of a vehicle and rode a donkey across the border to Turkey.

Prior to going into hiding, my family's wealth was seized under the pretense of Islam. My mother and grandmother sold all their jewelry including their beloved wedding rings on the black market. The cash received was sent in different routes through messengers, which often did not meet their intended destination, to my relatives in America.

I am grateful for the opportunities of growing up in the United States, but at the same time am saddened to hear about the circumstances my generation faced in Iran. I look forward to seeing what my generation will bring to Iran's future.

Editor's Note: This blog is one of a series of individual stories by former refugees who are now working for the State Department. The series is part of the State Department's ongoing effort to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Refugee Convention and in honor of World Refugee Day on June 20. Each story reflects an individual's experience and does not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. government.Become a fan of the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration on Facebook.



California, USA
June 22, 2011

Azita in California writes:


United States
June 22, 2011

DeeAnna in the U.S.A. writes:

Disbelievers are the most persecuted peoples in the world and yet the least represented,I stand for your freedom every day of my life,, BUT WHAT ABOUT OURS? Who will stand for the right to disbelieve and to defend our right to disbelieve, when even our president now bows in submission to islam but to not our right to be free to disbelieve? WHEN WILL WE MATTER? When will the world have the courage to see that endless road of victims of ISLAM And stand up to say NO IT IS NOT OK persecute those who disbelieve!! Disbelievers are human too.Will Obama ever stand for the victims of Islam? NO THEY JUST WANT TO MAKE AMERICA ANOTHER ISLAMIC TYRANNY as though there werent enough already!!!! LIFE LOVE AND FREEDOM TO THE PEOPLE DEATH TO TYRANNY AND OPPRESSION!!!

June 22, 2011

Irene in France writes:


June 20, 2011

John in Canada writes:

Psalm 49 – enough said
One day we will all walk free and what divides us from our people, our homes will fall.

United Kingdom
June 20, 2011

Massoud in England writes:


June 20, 2011

Neda in Iran writes:

Great,I was born in Iran too,my name is Neda(I think you all are familiar with this name)it means voice,and now after all what you know that happens to me,my name came out among the 22000 dv2012 winners,BUT I can't leave my country and all my problems due a computer glitch,and now I'm broken,cold and sad,seems nobody hears my VOICE,Yes I'm Neda another girl from Iran but not as lucky as Azade,seems she really is a free person now but what about me?do you think it's fair???

June 20, 2011

A. in Indonesia writes:

information on the fit is good enough to increase my knowledge further

June 20, 2011

M. writes:

I will visit/research here a lot. I have worked with the local/non-profit organization out here in the desert N west. I also belong to a faith base non-D. as Team Member Prayer Chaplain & I'm the coordinator for Follow-Up/Intake GBs (gift baskets for newcomers/believers becoming members). I stand zealous for change and commitment to serve my country now as I am finishing a bachelor degree in Social Work. Thank you.

Clark L.
August 1, 2011

Clark in Afghanistan writes:

I know Azzie from working in the region with a previous employer. Her words ring true on so many stories from Iran. We as a nation, are fortunate to have such brave souls in the US spreading the voice of liberty. Take care Azzie and God Bless. Clark


Latest Stories