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Iranian Americans React To Escalating U.S.-Iran Tensions


We're going to turn now to Southern California, which is home to the largest Iranian population outside of Iran. In fact, the greater Los Angeles area is sometimes referred to as Tehrangeles.

We wanted to hear more about how the Iranian American community and expatriates are reacting to the death of Qassem Soleimani and escalating tension between the U.S. and Iran, so we've called once again Reza Goharzad because he hosts the show "Politics And Society With Reza Goharzad" on KIRN in Los Angeles. The show discusses politics in the U.S. and around the world, and it invites listeners to call in with their questions and comments.

Reza, welcome back to the program. Thanks so much for joining us once again.

REZA GOHARZAD: Thank you for inviting me for your program.

MARTIN: So can you just tell us what you've been hearing from listeners about the airstrike and Soleimani's death?

GOHARZAD: You will always witness in any kind of this situation two different kind. In beginning, some of the people for sure they know that - who was Qassem Soleimani, and they know that he's a really bad murderer. And in the last 40 years, he was one of the government's key player. So somehow, they are happy.

In other hand, mostly you will see the people - they are scared of the consequence of this attack because people - they have families in Iran, so they are scared. And anybody that is in favor of the peace in the whole world will be scared of this situation because it's escalating to the new war in the region. And it's not a good thing to hear.

MARTIN: What is, though - forgive me for putting it this way, but what is the worst-case scenario that people are concerned about?

GOHARZAD: War. People - they experience 40 years ago Iran-Iraq war, and they know how it - war damaged the people's life. And for years and years, a lot of people - they get killed. Now they are not ready to have another war. And it's especially in these days, in last month, we would witness the Iranian people uprised (ph) against the Iranian government. Now government will use this situation against those people and eliminate any kind of uprising in Iran. So that is not good for the future of democracy in Iran.

MARTIN: Well, before we let you go, I asked you what the worst-case scenario was. Is there a best-case scenario? Is there any hope that is being expressed right now?

GOHARZAD: Let's not forget that the hope always grows in democracy and diplomacy. If United States government and the Iranian government - they listen to the United Nation and their allies and try to talk with each other, and, you know, try to solve the problem through diplomacy, there is a little hope that there is nothing going to happen.

But unfortunately, the way that both of the countries - they are acting next to each other. And, more importantly, proxy of the Iranian government around the Iran, like in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan - anywhere in those - they will do something on their own, those proxies in Lebanon, and that will take it to the new phase of the war and fight. People in region will be damaged. We will be victim of wrong thinking from the both government.

MARTIN: That was Reza Goharzad. He hosts the show "Politics And Society With Reza Goharzad" on KIRN in Los Angeles, which is also sometimes called Radio Iran.

Reza, thanks so much for talking with us once again and sharing your insights.

GOHARZAD: Thank you for your invitation. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.