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It starts with wanting to see Iranians progress

By Said Rouhol-Amin
September 17, 2002
The Iranian

Being an entrepreneur, I am often times faced with the dubious challenge of making tough business decisions. A good and successful businessman is one who can see in black and white, with little conscience for the personal, hence the old adage of "business is never personal".

In principal I agree with this theory, but truth be told, when it comes to my interactions with Iranian, Iranian-Americans, I have a soft spot and a self imposed higher calling that sometimes conflicts with the pre-described shrewd businessman mentality.

Does this mean that business is not for me? No, hardly. I am good at what I do; it simply means that I am willing to bend "the rules" or compromise a little more than usual if my dealings happen to be with a fellow Iranian who a) offers a solid product or service and b) a seemingly decent person in need of perhaps a little help/break.

The larger point is that as immigrants in this country, if we help, and support one another we can directly/indirectly enjoy more success for ourselves and more importantly, open up opportunities and a better life for our kids and generations to come.

Having grown up going to a predominantly Jewish private school I had a first hand look at the closeness of the Jewish community. I have always been in admiration of the steadfast support for their own and have long wished the same for our community.

As an Iranian-American who was born in Iran and who has lived in the states since the early 80s, I relish seeing Iranians do well at home and abroad (and yes, the US is now home).

Whether it's the music of Deep Dish winning a Grammy, or Founder of Ebay, Pierre Omidyar making millions off his business, or the local Iranian rug store running commercials on cable TV, I feel a certain pride and inspiration in Iranians attaining success, especially if they are proud of their heritage and willing to support their own.

Supporting your own does not simply entail buying products from Iranian store owners or contributing money or time to Iranian non-profits/for-profit organizations. More importantly, supporting your own starts with a positive conscience and outlook of wanting to see Iranians progress both individually and collectively as a harmonious, united group.

Based on my experiences and observations, many Iranians do not often enough embrace the success, or aspirations of their own. For whatever reason(s) I have too often found that the success of other Iranians is an offense to our own goals and aspirations. That's silly, but probably true of too many of us.

Iranians have been and continue to be heavy contributors to society. From the business sectors, to the fields of medicine, science and law we have *knock on wood* achieved tremendous success over a gamut of professions.

Interestingly enough, despite our monetary wealth the Iranian-American political constituency and lobby is tenuous at best. Why is that? Perhaps we do not embrace each other, or our fellow Iranian-American politicians and advocacy groups enough. Perhaps we do not support one another enough to make strides as one, unified, cohesive group like the Jewish community.

With a little more support and appreciation for our own the sky is the limit for Iranian-Americans in this land of opportunity. So instead of being negatively consumed by other people's wealth, accomplishments, failures or endeavors, throw out the negative stuff and remember that we can all stand to gain from each other's success. What comes first, the chicken or the egg? You decide.


Said Rouhol-Amin is CEO/Founder of World Singles LLC and principal of Elephant Roll Productions.

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