March 26, 2015


Iran brain drain in reverse? Why some young professionals are going home. (Scott Peterson, MARCH 26, 2015, The Christian Science Monitor)

The Leon restaurant, which sits atop a luxury mall in Tehran, features large paintings, a faux fireplace, and jazz, all to complement its fusion menu and fabulous, thick steaks.

It's a place one goes to be seen. So when the check comes, Salar - oozing confidence and sporting a wild shock of gelled hair, a stylish plaid shirt, and a leather wristband - knows just what to do.

The 31-year-old British-educated Iranian investor hands the waiter his debit card. He then tells him his PIN, raising his voice so anyone within earshot can hear he has embraced a practice common in Iran but unthinkable anywhere else.

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"When I first came back, I couldn't believe people in Iran shared their PIN numbers like that. Now I sometimes shout it out," says Salar, a pseudonym.

His move back to Tehran is part of a reverse brain drain encouraged by the June 2013 election of President Hassan Rouhani. Shouting out PINs is just one of many quirks embraced by those young professionals educated abroad who have spurned good prospects in the West to return to live and invest here. 

It's a bet on the future, and for many a bet on the presidency of Mr. Rouhani, the relatively moderate regime insider who has promised to resolve Iran's nuclear issue with world powers and revive an economy crippled by sanctions and tumbling oil prices.

Posted by at March 26, 2015 5:12 PM

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