The Situation With Iran From the Perspective of an Iranian-American

This new year has started out rocky for international relations. As most of you might know, relations between the U.S. and Iran have disintegrated to the point where many are expecting a war to the proportions of World War Three. But for those of you who don’t know about this or are a bit confused on the details here is a refresher for you: On January 3, 2020, President Trump ordered the assassination of Iran’s Major General Qasem Soleimani by drone strike in Baghdad, Iraq. The president of the United States claimed that it was an action taken to protect the U.S. from Iran, specifically U.S. soldiers that have their bases in Iraq. This action was taken without the approval of Congress, which has the power to declare war after being voted on as stated in the Constitution. The reason behind this action, according to President Trump, was because back in June 2019, Iran shot down a U.S. drone which was seen as an act of aggression that caused some people in President Trump’s advising team to urge an assassination of Soleimani. This plan didn’t go into action until a couple weeks ago when an American contractor was killed in Iraq through an attack that many Americans believed to be the action of a group Soleimani is said to be a part of. Fast forwarding to after the assassination, Iran then took action and bombed the U.S. bases in Iraq, but didn’t do anything further. After the bombings, President Trump said he would impose more sanctions on Iran, furthering the economic strain that people in Iran are currently facing. A few hours after the bombings, Iran mistakenly shot down a Ukrainian plane and killed all 176 people on board, believing it to be a missile from the U.S. Iran has since apologized for shooting down the plane and have called it a mistake, expressing their sorrow for the lives lost when the plane went down.

While things seemed to have been left off on that note, tensions haven’t decreased between the U.S. and Iran, or even between Iranian citizens and the Iranian government. Iranian citizens were already facing economic hardships due to the increased sanctions the U.S. keeps imposing on them, but they were also dealing with a government that acted as a dictatorship, telling the citizens what to wear, how to act in public, who can participate in certain activities, and lying to them frequently. The citizens have been trying to rebel against the government, but their protests haven’t led to positive results. In fact, there are currently protests in Iran against the government for shooting down the Ukrainian plane but the results of those protests are yet to be known. Iranian citizens have long been the victims of oppression and tyranny, and due to President Trump’s reckless actions, and yes, they were reckless, they face more dangers than just their government. Currently, the House of Representatives and Congress are limiting President Trump’s military actions so he can’t make the situation worse, but for a while, everyone will be waiting in suspense to see what happens next.

On a more personal note, these events have been extremely nerve-wracking to me and my family. I am a citizen of the U.S., but I am also a citizen of Iran, which means I consider both countries my home. Most of my family still lives in Iran, and several aunts and cousins have even evacuated their homes because they were too close to the Iraq borders and therefore too close to the U.S. military bases. Hearing about all these events have filled me with a sense of terror, not for me, but for my family. My aunts, uncles, cousins, grandma, and other family members are all in danger with no way of getting out of Iran due to current American visa laws. It’s difficult to cope with the idea that the people I love more than anything are facing a situation that can be extremely damaging all because of actions that they did not commit. I feel infuriated that so many innocent people are at risk because of the selfishness of the people in power. I don’t support the actions of either country, because each event has just increased the risk of danger for Iranians. It just feels like a personal battle between leaders who don’t like each other and will risk their citizen’s safety to make their feelings clear.

Despite it all, I am still holding on to hope that the conflicts won’t escalate and a war with Iran won’t happen. Many Congress members have made it clear that they are against a war with Iran, and if it ever goes to a vote, I hope it is a very clear "no" from them. Right now, my family is safe and the anxiety has seemed to calm down over the situation which makes me feel not so negative about it all. It is important to note though that while people might not think these international relations affect them, they are incredibly important and shouldn’t be brushed off or made a joke of. There are innocent people in the middle east that are in a lot of danger, and whether you know them or not they are still worthy of being fought for, not through war but through protests. Just like with the Vietnam War where many people protested against it, it is up to us to protest a war with Iran if it ever gets to that point and make our voices known. This country is a democracy which means the people’s voices matter. And a great way to voice your opinion is to get out and vote. Vote for people who support your ideas, and make your thoughts of the current political issues known.

Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4

Image Credit: 1, 2, 3