Iranian Man’s Plea for Freedom and Peace

Hamed (Matt) Moghim grew up in Tehran. His father served in the Iranian military from 1965, under the Shah, until 1996. In the ’70s, Matt’s father, Mahmoud, attended graduate school in Washington, D.C., earning a Ph.D. in computer science. After he earned his degree, the Moghim family returned home to their comfortable middle-class life in Tehran.

Matt and his Mom

Matt and his Mom

Until the revolution in 1979, Iran had been ‘among the most cultured, cosmopolitan countries in the region . . . The mostly Shiite Muslim population was pious but not fanatical. The new rulers banned western music and instituted many religious restrictions-for instance, men and women were not allowed to dance or swim with each other. As a result of these restrictions, Iran experienced a brain drain, with talented youth and accomplished people leaving the country to relocate in the U.S.

In 1996, Matt’s American-born brother, Kaz, moved to the U.S. to attend a prestigious private prep school. Once he was financially established, Kaz, founder of iProgr.am and a serial entrepreneur, brought his family to the U.S. Matt immigrated in 2005, attracted by the American ways as well as the social and economic freedom.

When Matt arrived in California, he spoke almost no English. With hard work and determination, he quickly became fluent. He attended college, studying computer science, and went on to found the company WebLinksBiz.

On December 31, 2010, he met his American girlfriend Kimberly Karen (KK). KK had moved from Boston to Los Angeles to pursue her master’s degree in teaching. Occupied by school, KK was reluctant to begin a relationship, but Matt pursued her. Best friends, they made each other laugh; they loved quiet days, spent watching movies. Matt had taught himself to play Flamenco guitar and, at only 14, had begun giving lessons, and he often sang to KK. By 2011, they were sharing an apartment, building a life together, hoping to buy a home and one day marry and start a family.

Over the years, Matt kept in regular touch with family and friends in Iran. He was concerned about their wellbeing, particularly in recent years. The harsh effects of U.S.-led sanctions hurt the country economically, devaluing the Iranian national currency, now worth only 1/3 of its former value.

Matt loved his homeland, America; he also loved the Motherland, Iran. He hated the idea of a nuclear-capable Iran threatening the U.S. with an atomic bomb. Yet he also hoped for social and economic freedom for his family and friends in the Iran.

When President Obama was reelected, Matt was ecstatic. Diplomacy, Matt believed, would eventually lead to the social reforms he had long feared the Iranian people would never experience. A resolution to the nuclear standoff would give his loved ones a better quality of life; they’d finally have a chance to enjoy the social freedom he’d enjoyed in the seven years he’d lived in the U.S.

Matt's Memorial Service

Matt’s Memorial Service

On November 16, Matt suffered a massive seizure that ended his life. He’d had his first seizure at age 14, but he’d been taking medication to control his epilepsy. It had been over a year since his last seizure. Twelve days before his death, as if he knew he’d soon leave this world, Matt had told KK that, should he die, he wished to be buried in Iran. A few months earlier, he’d told Kaz he wished to donate his organs.

Before his journey home to Iran, Hamed gave the gift of his heart to 6 fellow Americans. Matt’s heart was harvested in parts: four valves, aortic arch, aortic root, pericardium. All are transplant-able. When the heart is harvested in this way, many more lives can be saved than if the entire heart were given to one person.

Matt’s love for the Iranian and American people transcended political difference. With the gift of his heart, he sends a plea for peace and freedom for all-in the U.S. and in Iran.

Please consider sharing Matt’s story via the Guitar for Peace Facebook Page.