Tehrangeles is the nickname that some have long applied to the largest concentration of Iranian-Americans in the United States. The most intense concentration exists in the Westwood neighborhood of Los Angeles (LA). Iranian-Americans of all political and religious persuasions live in this area. The vast majority are first and second generation refugee families who left Iran following the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Most despise the theocratic junta which now governs Iran. But not all.


There is no shortage of pro-regime elements, some of whom migrated to the United States shielded by the huge refugee flow of anti-regime Iranians who sought political asylum here. While the LA office of the FBI keeps tabs on these agents, it is not able to move against these individuals and pro-regime organizations if their activities are protected by the U.S. Constitution. Nor are these activities always collectable unless reported by loyal Americans of Iranian descent.

Iran"s agents in the LA area have engaged in the following activities, some which are legal, others which are not. It should be noted that these operations are not the normal activities engaged in by lobbyists like the National Iranian American Council (NIAC), which has developed into a powerful proponent of improved relations between the United States and the current regime in Iran. Subsequent articles in this section of Iran Inside will focus on various actors and activities of NIAC in the National Capital Area (NCA).

Regime agents often approach Iranian-American residents of Westwood who have family relations and/or property/business interests in Iran. Seen as especially vulnerable are those Iranian-Americans who travel back and forth to Iran. Some are asked to perform "little favors" for the regime. One type of "favor" is to persuade particular individuals in the community to attenuate their anti-regime activities or even to report on these politically active residents. Some upon arrival in Iran are closely surveiled for behavior which can serve as blackmail leverage "back home" in California. Others are subject to pressure by Iran"s Ministry of Information Service or Islamic Revolution Guard Corps Intelligence Division operatives in Iran to "cooperate" or be charged with espionage.