PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) — Iranian-Americans in Portland say they fear for the safety of their family abroad, even those who are U.S. citizens living here full time.
For them, concern is turning to outright fear – fear for their own safety and the safety of their family in the Middle East, after Iran launched a series of ballistic missiles at two Iraqi bases housing U.S. troops.
Uncertainty swells here at home.
“Nobody knows what’s going to happen,” said Goudarz Eghtedari.
Eghtedari left Iran in the late 1980s.
“I’m really proud of living in Portland, and considering myself an Oregonian,” he said.
His life has been shaped by the decisions of world leaders – American presidents – since the Carter administration.
“I haven’t seen my nieces for 10 years, because they cannot come to U.S.,” said Eghtedari. “I cannot go back, because of the political situation in Iran… because of the advocacy for human rights, I am not welcome back.”
He says he fears the conflict abroad will lead to discrimination of Iranian-Americans here at home.
“You don’t even imagine that there are these kind of discriminations happening against them,” Eghtedari said.
He cites just last week, when dozens of U.S. citizens of Iranian descent, were held at the Washington border after attending a pop concert in Vancouver, B.C.
“When they came back, some of them were totally taken for 24 hours. Some of them were interrogated for 15, 16 hours,” Eghtedari said.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection says “secondary screenings” were performed on some Iranians and Iranian-Americans as they attempted to cross the border.
“If you open up the tension, then it definitely will escalate,” Eghtedari said. “Who can stop it?”
FOX 12 also spoke with a man who was in Iran less than a month ago. He says according to his family, since the killing of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani, every day has been worse than the last.
He says he believes no matter what happens politically in the next few days, that people in his home nation are still going to die.
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