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One More Mountain

by Mansur Nurdel with Jeannette Moninger

Since the Islamic Revolution began in 1979, millions of Iranians have fled to Turkey seeking refuge from religious and political persecution. In 1988, I was one of them. 

My family are followers of the Bahá’í Faith, a religion founded in Iran in the 1840s and practiced by millions of people worldwide today. Muslims in Iran consider it a blasphemous, illegitimate religion. For more than four decades, Bahá’ís have been stripped of all human rights. We are routinely arrested, detained, tortured, imprisoned, and executed without cause. We are barred from higher education, making it impossible to pursue professional careers.

I was twenty-five in 1988 when I escaped my homeland with two of my closest friends. We fled illegally in the height of winter, with the help of Kurdish smugglers, traversing on foot over a forbidding, snowy, mountainous landscape. After weeks of struggle and moments where I felt certain we would all perish, I reached the safety of the United Nations refugee center in Ankara, Turkey. There, I was granted asylum from religious persecution. It would be more than a year before I arrived in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, speaking little English, knowing no one, and understanding little about American culture except what I gleaned from television.

Today, I’m a Denver-based optometrist who established one of the country’s top independently held eye care centers, and a licensed real estate agent and investor. I met my wife, also an Iranian refugee, after coming to America. We have two adult sons who may never be able to visit Iran and the loved ones we left behind.

This is a true story about what life was like for one non-Muslim family trying to survive under Islamic rule. It’s a story about determination and perseverance. And yes, Faith. From afar, I watch as protesters clash with Revolutionary Guards today, calling for an end to human rights violations by the Islamic Republic after the brutal, unwarranted deaths of young men and women whose only crimes (like mine) were a desire to be recognized, heard, valued, and respected. ONE MORE MOUNTAIN provides a never-before-seen look at what life in Iran is like for those who have no power, no voice, and no freedoms.

“This book is the inspirational true story of a young man willing to risk it all.
As an American, I was hardly aware of the Baha’i faith at all, let alone understand the complicated relationship the Baha’i followers have with Muslim countries, especially Iran where Baha’i’s have been persecuted for decades.”