The local Arab-American population is often not aware of a much smaller yet equally rooted community which shares many of their struggles and strives to hold their unique identity, the Persian-Americans.
These two cultures are closely comparable, and many who are not familiar with Arabs and Iranians will often see them as belonging to the same ethnic group.
Dr. Reza Azadegan, an electric engineering researcher, has said that many Iranians have suffered as a result of the recent restrictive immigration laws which promote discrimination at borders. He also said that he feels Iranians suffer far more than Arabs when it comes to airport security checks and clearances.
According to Azadegan, this has been partly due to the threat of terrorism associated with individuals who have ties to Iran, unlike Arab nations who have stronger ties with the United States. Discriminations towards Iranians is even worse as so little data, and information has been shared between these two countries.
Recent restrictions have been implemented regarding the Visa Waiver Program by the Department of Homeland Security. These restrictions prevent foreigners who have traveled to either Iran, Sudan, Yemen, Syria, Iraq, Libya or Somalia from entering the United States.
Such restrictions have caused major difficulties for Iranians at the borders; there are also restrictions on Europeans of Iranian descent who are prevented from entering the United States without a visa.
Jamal Abdi, Executive Director of the National Iranian American Council (NIAC), said that the law reflects the climate of Islamophobia and xenophobia which has increased in recent months.
The dissociation began during the Islamic Revolution in 1979, which replaced the primarily secular Iranian government with Islamic law. The secular Persians who take pride in their nationalism detest Arabs blaming them for the difficulties relating to Islamophobia and xenophobia associated with Arabs and Muslims. Many religious Iranians associate Arabs with the people of Saudi Arabia and extremist representation of Islam.
Additionally, the Arabs did not offer their support to Iran during the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980's but opted rather stand behind Iraq.
There is still such as stigma against Arabs in Iran nowadays as they blame them for the government and the Islamic revolution. Hence some of the Iranians in the United States still prefer not to associate closely with Arabs and Muslims who they consider being traitors.