Iranian Americans in Oregon react to mounting U.S.-Iran tensions
Iranian Americans living in Oregon are reacting to mounting tensions between the United States and Iran following the killing of top general Qasem Soleimani. Many are nervous about the safety of family and friends, both those living in Iran and the U.S.
Goudarz Eghtedari said he fears conflict opens the door for discrimination. Eghtedari is a founder of the American-Iranian Friendship Council in Portland, an organization focused on promoting non-violent conflict resolutions between the two countries. He said he hopes Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler and city police will make a public statement of support for protecting Iranian Americans.
"It would help if law enforcement, the chief of police and the city mayor would come out and give the community assurance despite all the high tensions in the international scene," Eghtedari said.
Eghtedari said there are about 10,000 people in the Portland metro area who are Iranian. He fears that national unrest could lead to more harassment toward people of Iranian descent.
Nina Khanjan, a swim coach and special education teacher at Reynolds High School, just east of Portland, said even though she was born in the United States, she fears for her parents' ability to travel freely to visit relatives.
"My parents go back to Iran pretty regularly," Khanjan said. "This is something that could really limit our interactions with our family in Iran."
KOIN 6 News contributed to this report. OPB and KOIN are news partners of Pamplin Media Group.
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