Iranian-American Community of North Texas
Serving our community for over three decades
The Iranian-American Community of North Texas (IACNT) is an independent non-profit organization serving the Iranian Community of North Texas. IACNT strives to act as a bridge between Iranian culture and heritage and modern day America. We strive to educate local and distant communities, composed of both Americans and second generation Iranians, about Iranian culture, politics, and day-to-day life in the country. As a community we cherish the rich history and culture of Iran, focusing on the human rights situation there, while doing our utmost to contribute to the development and progress in the United States.
In the late 60’s and 70’s, many students from Iran traveled to the United States to attened college/university before returning to their homeland to put their knowledge to practice, which was quite routine at that time. In the late 70’s the Iranian revolution began to take shape. The majority of the Iranian people came to the streets in Iran to protest the inhumane corruption and lavish lifestyle of the Shah, his regime, and his notorious secret police, SAVAK. Many Iranian students in the United States also organized rallies to show their solidarity with the protestors in Iran. The Shah ultimately left the country and Khomeini’s regime came to power in February 1979. However, although the situation temporarily improved in Iran, it quickly deteriorated. The newly formed regime eliminated other groups and organizations and became an absolute theocratic dictatorship in a matter of two years.
With the situation worsening rapidly between the late 70’s and early 80’s, many students who were already studying in the states, remained there, and many more poured out of Iran and into Europe, Asia, Australia, Canada, and Africa. Many families sold everything they had, left Iran, and sought political asylum in other countries while some simply sought a better social life. Many families who were connected to politically active or imprisoned relatives sent their children out of the country in fear of persecution due to association. As a consequence of all these events, the number of Iranian immigrants increased astronomically all over the world from the late 70’s to late 80’s.
Our Iranian-American community started to grow rapidly in the early 80’s, particularly in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area. Many of the founders of our community (students from 70’s) got married and raised our children in the area. We found work, supported our families, and became naturalized citizens. We assimilated into local communities and began celebrating new holidays like Halloween, Thanksgiving, and the Fourth of July.
Our community soon became involved in political activities, and we took full advantage of the democracy available to us by voting and campaigning for different American officials. We voted for local and national officials along with our neighbors and coworkers. We strived to participate in, and contribute to our new communities, all the while building new friendships and bonds with other members of our communities.
At the same time, our community kept up with the news and events from back home. We had found safer and better lives but it was not our goal to forget our homeland or heritage. We aimed to teach our children our native tongue, Farsi, in addition to English. It was important to teach our children about Iranian culture and history in addition to the American history they learned at school.
Our past activities:
Once our activities started, we soon learned to become more organized. We got together with other Iranians in Dallas, Fort Worth, Denton, Arlington, and Tyler to celebrate Nowrooz (the Persian New year), Sizdah Bedar (the Persian annual picnic), Charshanbe-Suri ( Festival of Fire) and other Iranian holidays. We met more people who were victims of the regime’s atrocities and had interesting and individual stories about their past lives and departures from Iran. We started having regular meetings to discuss our plans for educating our children and the general public on different topics, ranging from cultural events to the political atmosphere in Iran.
We had regular weekly bookstands during the 1980’s when many Americans had little knowledge about Iran. These information stands were frequently set up in front of Aziz—one of the few Persian stores that existed back then—on Park Lane near Central Expressway. Using popular intersections like this one was a prime way to attract the attention of Iranians and Americans, alike.
As students in colleges and universities, we introduced aspects of Iranian culture to our American classmates, hoping they could learn about our culture the way we had learned about, and grown to appreciate, theirs. We played Iranian music, organized and presented folk and traditional dances, and cooked and served Persian foods Every March, when the biggest celebration of the year took place, the Iranian New Year, Nowruz, we celebrated with Americans and Iranians, alike.
We had regular Farsi classes for our kids to teach them how to write and read their parent’s language. Kids from different age categories participated in our Farsi classes. This by itself made it a lot of fun for older kids to play and have fun with the younger ones.
We invited torture victims of the regime, who had managed to escape from Iran, to speak about their experiences to our local community. The gravity of their experiences and pain was so disturbing that sometimes members of our audience would leave the room in tears.
We organized picket lines in Dallas to protest the Iranian government. For example, when Prime Minister of the regime traveled to Italy in 1988, our community was outraged. We had picket lines in front of the Italian Embassy in Dallas to protest the Italian Government for hosting him.
Not only did we organize and participated in local events, we also organized and attended many meetings, rallies, and demonstrations outside of Dallas, Texas. We work very closely with our sister organization in Houston to promote our values. For example, we have attended meetings hosted by the Texas Convention held in Houston, and National Convention of Iranian Americans held in Washington, DC.
Every year, when the leaders of the Iranian regime, including the former Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Velayati, former presidents Ali Khamenei, Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, and Mohammad Khatami, as well as Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, travel to New York to attend the United Nations General Assembly, our community does not miss the opportunity to form a large and very visible presence in New York and demand that the UN to expel the leaders for not representing the Iranian people.
Throughout the past three decades, we, the Iranian American Society of Dallas, Iranian Students Society, Iranian Community of Fort Worth, and some other ad-hoc group of Iranian Americans, have come together to form the Iranian-American Community of North Texas. Our founders were students; they came here to learn and go back to Iran, but they did not have this chance. However, our community has become a large school in itself. We have learned about democracy and human rights not by reading about it in books, but by getting the priceless opportunity and blessing to live democratically and freely. We don’t read about the separation of three branches of the government just in books, but we see it in practice and are able to contribute to it with our votes and voices. These are the rights and opportunities we hope that Iranians in Iran can have one day, when it finally breaks free from the theocratic regime.
It is our goal to make this not just an ideal thought, but also a tangible reality for Iran one day. We hope to achieve this by staying politically active in America, raising awareness about the events and issues pressing Iran, building connections and trust with our community members, local officials, and national representatives. It is our goal, and we are proud that it is our goal.