The man who lived in an airport

Mehran Karimi Nasseri, or known as Sir Alferd Mehran has one of probably aviation’s most interesting story. Which took him about 18 years to create.

Mehran was born in Masjed Soleiman Iran, his father was a doctor working for the Anglo-Persian Oil company. While his mother was a nurse working for the same company. In the 1970s Mehran arrived to the United Kingdom to study in the University of Bradford.

Three years later Mehran alleged that he had been expelled from Iran in 1977 for protest again the Shah After a long battle. He applied for several countries to move there as a refugee and was awarded the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Belgium. This status permitted residence in many other European countries. But this claim became disputed showing that Mehran was never expelled from Iran.

With the fact his mother was from the United Kingdom he decided to settle in the UK in 1986, while enroute to the UK his paper were lost when his briefcase was stolen. Despite this situation he still boarded the aircraft for London, when Mehran arrived to British Immigration, he was quickly sent back to France. Mehran was initially arrested by French officials but then was quickly release to the airport since he had no country of origin to be return to. This started his life at Terminal 1.

Mehran case was taken on by the French human right lawyer, Christian Bourget. In 1992 a French court ruled that having entering the country legally, he could not be expelled from the airport but the courts could not grant him permission to enter France. Attempts were made to have new documents issued to Mehran from Belgium. The only catch was Mehran must be in person to accept them, though the Belgium officials granted permission to move to Belgium as long as he lived under the supervision of a social worker, he refused the offer on the grounds of wanting to enter the UK.

Both France and Belgium offered Mehran residency, but he refused the offers as they listed him being an Iranian and didn’t show his preferred name of, “Sir Alfred Mehran”. His refusal to sign the documents brought a lot of frustration to his layer. While living in the airport, in 2003 Steven Spielberg’s “Dreamwork” production contacted Mehran and paid him $250,000 to the rights to his story, ultimately they did not use his story, but a movie was produced called “The terminal” with Tom Hanks.

Mehran’s left the airport in 2006 when he was hospitalized and his sitting place was dismantled. Towards the end of January of 2007 he left the hospital and was looked after by the airport’s branch of the Red Cross. He spent a few weeks in a hotel close to the airport, on March 6th of 2007 Mehran finally moved to a Paris shelter and has lived there since. During his 18 year stay, Mehran had his luggage by his side and spent his time reading, writing in his diary or studying economics.


I’ve heard about this man. A true legend.

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I was just watching the Terminal again and felt like IFC would enjoy this story, crazy!

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related HAI video @Altaria55

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HAI is the best channel hands down, very informational and they love to rip on Newark Airport and CRJ-200s


Interesting channel thanks!

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