Turbulent Iran: Recollections, Revelations and a Proposal for Peace

By Eldon Griffiths | Go to book overview
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THEY CAME NOT EMPTY-HANDED

Seeking a refuge from the cruel battering of fortune we have come.

Hafez, Iranian poet (1320–1390)

My Iranian connections multiplied in the early 1990s when Betty and I took up residence in the United States upon my retirement from the House of Commons. To my new job as president of the World Affairs Council of Orange County, California, we drove across the continent in a Range Rover given to Betty by my New York friend, Akbar Lari as a belated wedding present, following our marriage three years earlier. Akbar by now had flourished as a house builder in Long Island. Among his friends were numerous other Iranians I had met over the years, one of them, Ahmad Teherani, the Shah’s former ambassador to South Africa.

Akbar Lari: Outstanding
immigrant

Akbar Lari in 2003 was named one of America’s outstanding immigrants and honored by the mayor of New York at a ceremony at Ellis Island. When I took Betty to see this, we saw a picture of a some words scrawled in chalk by some unknown immigrant on the base of the Statue of Liberty which aptly summarized what Akbar and an estimated two million other Iranian immigrants have contributed to America:

We came not empty-handed here, we brought a rich inheritance.

En route to California we stopped in New Orleans where I was a fraternal delegate, a fancy name for foreign guest, at the 1990 convention of the Republican party which nominated the first

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