Coming to Fife as an Iranian Woman – Case Study

“My name is Behdokht Eliasieh. I was born in Iran. I finished my high school education in Gonbad, a city in the North of Iran. I was hoping to go to university, this did not happen. There are a lot of applicants and not enough universities.

My aunt was in Glasgow and after consultation with my parents, I decided to come to Glasgow, to learn English and continue with my education. In 1977 I arrived in Glasgow. At that time there was not English courses for foreign students. I went to Torquay, Devon for a year and then I came back to Glasgow.

My intention was to stay for few years in UK and return to Iran. In 1979 there was a change of government in Iran and a big revolution began. Demonstrations against the Shah started and the Pahlavi Dynasty was overthrow and Ayatollah Khomeini took over the country and it became Islamic Republic of Iran. It was very unsettled there!

There was a lot of persecution against minorities, journalists, women, writers, artists and many more.

I was a Baha’i and the government was very unkind towards the religion minorities. Baha’is faced torture, prison and unjustified executions.

It was not safe for me to go there and I decided to stay longer in here. My student’s visa was coming to an end and I became a refugee!!

After few years I met my husband and we married in Perth. I was working there and then moved to Falkirk and in 1985 moved to Dunfermline. My husband got a Full Time teaching job at Fife College.

We are blessed with a son and daughter. They were born in Dunfermline and educated in Scottish Universities.

My parents were in Iran and we had 23 years of separation until they were able to get passport and visa to come to UK. We met in 2000. They stayed with us for few months. It was magical and we had a wonderful reunion. My uncles and unties all left Iran and they are spread all over the world now!

I managed to go to Iran in 2001 and met family and friends after a long long time. Sadly both my parents have passed away now.

We are very happy in Fife and have integrated well in to the community. We are very thankful to the British government for showing compassion and justice and allowing us to stay in this country.

Our friends have made Scotland home and this is not easy! Iran is always in my heart.”