Iranian shops along Westwood Boulevard in South Westwood. Westwood is also known as "Little Persia".

Tehrangeles (Persian: تهرانجلس) (or Little Persia) is a portmanteau deriving from the combination of Tehran, the capital of Iran, and Los Angeles. A Persian community developed in Westwood, Los Angeles after the Islamic Revolution of 1979 prompted thousands of Iranians to flee to the United States. It is a shopping, eating and gathering place for the large number (estimates range from 500,000 to 600,000) of Iranian-Americans and their descendants residing in the Los Angeles metropolitan area which is the largest such population outside Iran.[1][2][3][4] The intersection of Westwood Boulevard and Wilkins Avenue was recognized by the City of Los Angeles as Persian Square.[5]


A Persian community originally centered in the Westwood neighborhood of the Westside in the 1960s.[6] Immigration to the area increased several-fold due to the events surrounding the 1979 Revolution in Iran.[7][8] Westwood Boulevard became known for its many Persian shops and restaurants[9] including being a gathering place for men in restaurants and tea shops.[10] The Iranian expatriate community of Los Angeles entered a wide variety of media including magazines, newspapers, radio, and television stations and contributed greatly to production of modern global Iranian culture while in diaspora.[8]

Westwood skyline


As the population has grown, Iranians and their American-born children have settled in neighborhoods throughout Los Angeles, including Tarzana, Woodland Hills, Encino, and Beverly Hills, as well as the cities of Irvine, Huntington Beach and elsewhere in Orange County.[11] They have also made their homes in San Diego and the Palm Springs area of the Coachella Valley.


A flyer in Westwood, Los Angeles, CA seeking Persian actors for a film

The economy of Tehrangeles demonstrates key features of ethnic enclave economics, providing a wider range of employment opportunities than the general market by virtue of its cultural (Iranian) specificity, and as such provides a feasible method for Iranian immigrants to find employment and economic integration.[12]

Tehrangeles is home to a sizable community of Iranian immigrant entrepreneurs who own their own businesses.[12] Business signs are commonly in Persian, which is also spoken in the shops.[2] Iranian-owned businesses are particularly prevalent on Westwood Boulevard between Wilshire Boulevard in Westwood to Pico Boulevard.

See also


  1. ^ MacFarquhar, Neil (May 9, 2006). "Exiles in 'Tehrangeles' Are Split on Iran". The New York Times. Retrieved June 15, 2009.
  2. ^ a b Montagne, Renée (June 8, 2006). "Living in Tehrangeles: L.A.'s Persian Community". Morning Edition. NPR. Retrieved June 15, 2009.
  3. ^ Anderson, Kurt (March 13, 2009). "Mamak Khadem gives a tour of Tehrangeles". Studio 360. NPR. Archived from the original on June 18, 2009. Retrieved June 15, 2009.
  4. ^ Dickerman, Sara (June 7, 2009). "Persian Cooking Finds a Home in Los Angeles". The New York Times. Retrieved June 15, 2009.
  5. ^ Koretz, Paul (February 26, 2010). "Persian Square approved for Los Angeles, thanks to Paul Koretz motion" (PDF) (Press release). Los Angeles: The Office of Council Member Paul Koretz, Fifth District. Archived from the original (PDF) on November 1, 2012. Retrieved January 11, 2015.
  6. ^ Etehad, Melissa (2019-02-24). "They can't go back to Iran. So L.A. Persians built 'Tehrangeles' and made it their own". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2020-01-03.
  7. ^ Khakpour, Porochista (September 16, 2015), "Round Peg in a Persian Square", Los Angeles Magazine, retrieved 22 November 2018
  8. ^ a b Hemmasi, Farzaneh (2020). Tehrangeles dreaming : intimacy and imagination in Southern California's Iranian pop music. Durham: Duke University Press. ISBN 978-1-4780-1200-9. OCLC 1135939158.
  9. ^ Addison, Bill (2019-08-06). "Two food writers eat at all the Persian restaurants in SoCal (OK, 18 of them)". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2019-08-08.
  10. ^ Etehad, Melissa (2019-02-20). "The revolution drove them from home and showbiz. In L.A.'s 'Tehrangeles,' they can relive a lost era". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2021-03-24.
  11. ^ Auyoung, Derrick. "Eastern Indo-European, Semitic, Near Eastern Altaic languages [of Los Angeles]". Project LANGUAGES OF LOS ANGELES. MAPS. UCLA College [of] Humanities. Archived from the original on 27 December 2010. based on "The Ethnic Quilt. Population Density in Southern California" by James P.Allen and Eugen Turner. Northridge: California State University, 1997
  12. ^ a b Light, Ivan; Sabagh, Georges; Bozorgmehr, Mehdi; Der-Martirosian, Claudia (1994). "Beyond the Ethnic Enclave Economy". Social Problems. 41 (1): 65–80. doi:10.2307/3096842. ISSN 0037-7791. JSTOR 3096842.

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