Iranians in Cleveland

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News and Upcoming Events for Iranians in Cleveland

RIP Maryam Mirzakhani

Maryam Mirzakhani was an Iranian mathematician and a professor of mathematics at Stanford University. Her research topics include Teichmüller theory, hyperbolic geometry, ergodic theory, and symplectic geometry.

In 2014, Mirzakhani became both the first woman and the first Iranian honored with the Fields Medal, the most prestigious award in mathematics. The award committee cited her work in "the dynamics and geometry of Riemann surfaces and their moduli spaces".

Maryam Mirzakhani

Maryam Mirzakhani

Mirzakhani died from breast cancer on July 14, 2017 at the age of 40.

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Out & About - Photos and Event Recaps


Iranian American Olympic Medalist Matt Ghafarri

1996 Olympic Wrestling Silver Medalist Matt Ghafarriis Muslim and is of Iranian heritage. He became a US citizen and competed for the US.

He spoke at the Rotary Club of Cleveland on May 6, 2021 and was asked if he endured any prejudice after 9-11 because of his Muslim and Iranian heritage. He said it began before then. He got hassles during the Iranian Hostage crisis which went from November 4, 1979, to January 20, 1981.

Matt told a funny story about a coach changing his name and other ways he dealt with the prejudice from that event as well as 9-11.

See Matt Gahfarri's entire presentation to the Cleveland Rotary

Arab American Heritage Month

During the month of April, Arab America formally recognizes the achievements of Arab Americans through the celebration of National Arab American Heritage Month (NAAHM). Across the country, cultural institutions, school districts, municipalities, state legislatures, public servants, and Arab Americans will engage in special events that celebrate the community's rich heritage and numerous contributions to society.

Arab Americans have roots in 22 countries located in the Middle East and North African regions: Algeria, Bahrain, the Comoros Islands, Djibouti, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Mauritania, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen. And within all those countries, there are various languages, religions, traditions that are now part of our American story. There are nearly 3.5 million Arab Americans in the United States, according to the Arab American Institute. Establishing Arab American Heritage Month was critical in combatting post-9/11 anti-Arab sentiments, and while Arab Americans still face prejudice regularly, acknowledging their fight for recognition and equality - and becoming better allies - is something we can all contribute toward.

CAMEO president Pierre Bejjani with City of Parma. Arab American Heritage Month Proclamation

CAMEO president Pierre Bejjani receiving
Arab American Heritage Month Proclamation

See more about Arab American Heritage Month in Cleveland


Cleveland American Middle East Organization 49th anniversary

The Cleveland American Middle East Organization (CAMEO) is a nonpartisan, nonsectarian political action organization established in 1970. They celebrated their 49th anniversary at a dinner event at St. Elias Cultural Center.

CAMEO honored Dr. Nizar Zein, Mr. Husein Rabah and Mediterranean Market at the event.

CAMEO Board Members

CAMEO Board Members

Photos and video of the CAMEO 49th anniversary event

You can also see photos of many of the attendees on the CAMEO 49th Photo Page.

Husein Rabah family

Honoree Husein Rabah and family members


Cleveland American Middle East Organization 48th anniversary

The Cleveland American Middle East Organization (CAMEO) is a nonpartisan, nonsectarian political action organization established in 1970. They celebrated their 48th anniversary at a dinner event at St. Elias Cultural Center.

CAMO honored Dr. Mansoor Ahmed, Mr. Ali Faraj and Kan Zaman Middle Eastern Restaurant at the event.

Cleveland American Middle East Organization (CAMEO) board with honorees

Cleveland American Middle East Organization (CAMEO) board members Faris Alameh, Pierre Bejjani, Sam Tanious, Tony Abdulkarim and Abby Mina with honorees Dr. Mansoor Ahmed and Mr. Ali Faraj

Photos and video of the CAMEO 48th anniversary event


Cleveland American Middle East Organization 47th anniversary

The Cleveland American Middle East Organization (CAMEO) is a nonpartisan, nonsectarian political action organization established in 1970. They celebrated their 47th anniversary and induction of new officers at a dinner event at St. Elias Cultural Center.

Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish and CAMEO Board

Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish and CAMEO Board

Photos and video of the CAMEO event


Cleveland Iranian community at Cleveland Multicultural Event

The Cleveland Iranian Community was represented at the 7th annual International Community Council - Worldwide Intercultural Network (ICC-WIN) holiday party on December 14, 2016.

120 people participated in the fashion show and each walked the runway to music from their country. Click on the white arrow to watch the short video of the Iranian models Marzieh Ayati, Fatemeh Marefat, Nahid Sadrian and Elaheh Farghadani.

Fashions from Iran

Fashions from Iran

Fashions from Iran

See more from the 2016 International Fashion Show


Iranian Fashion at Cleveland Multicultural Event

Representatives from the Cleveland Iranian community participated in the International Community Council - Worldwide Intercultural Network's (ICC-WIN) 5th annual multicultural holiday celebration at the Global Center for Health Innovation in the Cleveland Convention Center in Cleveland Ohio. They modeled Iranian costumes at the International Fashion Show which featured traditional costumes of dozens of countries.

Fashions of Iran

Fashion of Iran

Photos and videos of the International Fashion Show

Asian Heritage Day Celebration

Cleveland City Hall Rotunda
May 28, 2014
The City of Cleveland Community Relations Board, led by Asian Liaison Chia-Min Chen, hosted an Asian Heritage Day Celebration on May 28, 2014 in the Cleveland City Hall Rotunda.

Over 60 Asian community groups and organizations participated. Chia-Min Chen called them up to the stage one at a time and each gave an elevator speech explaining their organization.

This included the Iranian Society from Case Western Reserve University

Iranian Society from Case Western Reserve University

Iranian Society from Case Western Reserve University

Learn more about each organization including photos and videos of the group leaders at the Asian Organizations in Cleveland pages.

Organizations and Resources for Iranians in Cleveland

Iranians in Ohio are based in Columbus, Ohio.

Submit your Cleveland Iranian organizations and resources.

Business, Education and Employment Information

Submit your Cleveland Iranian jobs, classes and other opportunities.

Cleveland Iranian Feedback and Memories

Submit your Cleveland Iranian Feedback and Memories.

Iranian History and Culture

Map of Iran

Known as Persia until 1935, Iran became an Islamic republic in 1979 after the ruling monarchy was overthrown and Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi was forced into exile. Conservative clerical forces led by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini established a theocratic system of government with ultimate political authority vested in a learned religious scholar referred to commonly as the Supreme Leader who, according to the constitution, is accountable only to the Assembly of Experts - a popularly elected 86-member body of clerics.

US-Iranian relations became strained when a group of Iranian students seized the US Embassy in Tehran in November 1979 and held embassy personnel hostages until mid-January 1981. The US cut off diplomatic relations with Iran in April 1980. During the period 1980-88, Iran fought a bloody, indecisive war with Iraq that eventually expanded into the Persian Gulf and led to clashes between US Navy and Iranian military forces.

Iran has been designated a state sponsor of terrorism for its activities in Lebanon and elsewhere in the world and remains subject to US, UN, and EU economic sanctions and export controls because of its continued involvement in terrorism and concerns over possible military dimensions of its nuclear program. Following the election of reformer Hojjat ol-Eslam Mohammad Khatami as president in 1997 and a reformist Majles (legislature) in 2000, a campaign to foster political reform in response to popular dissatisfaction was initiated. The movement floundered as conservative politicians, supported by the Supreme Leader, unelected institutions of authority like the Council of Guardians, and the security services reversed and blocked reform measures while increasing security repression. Starting with nationwide municipal elections in 2003 and continuing through Majles elections in 2004, conservatives reestablished control over Iran's elected government institutions, which culminated with the August 2005 inauguration of hardliner Mahmud Ahmadi-Nejad as president. His controversial reelection in June 2009 sparked nationwide protests over allegations of electoral fraud. These protests were quickly suppressed, and the political opposition that arouse as a consequence of Ahmadi-Nejad's election was repressed.

Deteriorating economic conditions due primarily to government mismanagement and international sanctions prompted at least two major economically based protests in July and October 2012, but Iran's internal security situation remained stable. President Ahmadi-Nejad's independent streak angered regime establishment figures, including the Supreme Leader, leading to conservative opposition to his agenda for the last year of his presidency, and an alienation of his political supporters. In June 2013 Iranians elected a moderate conservative cleric, Dr. Hasan Fereidun Ruhani to the presidency. He is a long-time senior member in the regime, but has made promises of reforming society and Iran's foreign policy.

The UN Security Council has passed a number of resolutions calling for Iran to suspend its uranium enrichment and reprocessing activities and comply with its IAEA obligations and responsibilities, but in November 2013 the five permanent members, plus Germany, (P5+1) signed a joint plan with Iran to provide the country with incremental relief from international pressure for positive steps toward transparency of their nuclear program.

(facts courtesy of CIA World Fact Book)

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Profiles of Iranians in Cleveland and Northeast Ohio

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