Tag: Iran

State: Connecticut

City of Residence: Naugatuck, Connecticut

Country of origin: Iran

Arrival in the U.S.: 2000

Mr. Esmail Dezhbod fled religious persecution in Iran and was resettled to Connecticut with his wife and three young children in 2000. When the Iranian Revolution began, the university he was attending was shut down and the leaders of his place of worship, St. Paul Episcopal Church in Tehran, were arrested. With no one to lead his church, he stepped in and fulfilled the role for almost a decade. Mr. Dezhbod was prevented from becoming a priest because of the religious persecution in his country, but other church leaders were murdered, and he was eventually targeted. Mr. Dezhbod now works as a Hospice Chaplain and Episcopalian Priest in Connecticut. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree and an advanced degree in Divinity, and he hopes to obtain his Doctorate in ministry. He is most proud of contributing to his community by serving others.

Word for U.S.: Freedom

State: Virginia

City of Residence: Springfield, Virginia

Country of origin: Iran

Arrival in the U.S.: 2008

Mr. Farjam Behnam was granted asylum in the United States after fleeing Iran in 2008. In Iran Mr. Behnam managed a news website and wrote political bulletins that were widely distributed to embassies, universities, and companies in Iran. The government considered these political reports to be controversial, and Mr. Behnam felt that he was not allowed to write freely about the Iranian government. Because of his work he was invited by Freedom House, a United States-based NGO, to leave Iran and apply for asylum in the United States. He currently lives in Springfield, Virginia and works as an interpreter with Human Rights First, where he helps clients communicate with their attorneys and the courts.

Mr. Behnam is most proud contributing to his community by providing translation and interpretation services. He is honored to be part of the Refugee Congress, and wants to help other refugees and asylees because he understands the challenges faced by those who do not understand the legal system in the United States.

Word for US: Freedom of Expression