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Local Iranian Community Leader Speaks About US-Iran Tensions

Mehdi Moein, an Iranian community leader in San Diego, talks to KPBS inside Sufi Mediterranean Cuisine, Jan. 8, 2020.
Roland Lizarondo
Mehdi Moein, an Iranian community leader in San Diego, talks to KPBS inside Sufi Mediterranean Cuisine, Jan. 8, 2020.

While tensions between the U.S. and Iran appear to be calming, Iranian immigrants in San Diego remain concerned about what lies ahead.

Tuesday, Iran fired missiles at U.S. troops in Iraq in retaliation for the killing of an Iranian general by a U.S. drone. But on Wednesday President Trump backed away, for the time being, from further agression.

Local Iranian Community Leader Speaks About US-Iran Tensions
Listen to this story by Matt Hoffman.

"We live abroad, but at the same time our heart and our mind is gravitating toward Iran," said Mehdi Moein, who is from Iran and now leads the nonprofit House of Iran in Balboa Park.

Moein emphasized that he was speaking of his own experiences and not on behalf of House of Iran, which is not a political organization.

"Without a doubt people are concerned about their loved ones in Iran and also people are concerned about their loved ones here in the U.S.," he said.

VIDEO: Local Iranian Community Leader Speaks About US-Iran Tensions

Sitting in an Iranian restaurant in Clairemont, Moein talked about hearing the news of missiles being fired at U.S. troops in Iraq on Tuesday. He thought a war was on his home country’s doorstep.

"Yesterday evening we were at the point where we did not know what would happen the next half hour, even to this morning at 9 a.m.," Moein said. "When trump was providing his feedback to the nation, we didn’t know which angle he would be taking."

Going forward, Moein said he is concerned that Trump’s anti-Iran rhetoric could negatively impact Iranian immigrants here.

"We are a nation of immigrants, we need to remember that -- Iranian immigrants are not any different than the Italian, the French or Dutch," he said.

"I have seen and I’ve heard Iranians that have complained about them being targeted — some being insulted. Hence the request for the American friends, colleagues, people of San Diego [to] understand us and walk with us — and understand that we have come here to build a society with you together."

Moein himself is looking forward to traveling to Iran soon to visit his parents, but he’s also worried.

"What’s going to happen when we go back to Iran?" he said. "So it is a very delicate situation in that we don’t know what's next and it affects us directly. Very tense, very uncomfortable."

Moein said there are two times in his life where he remembers tensions in the Middle East being this high -- during the the Iran-Iraq War in the 1980s and after the 9/11 attacks.

Governor Newsom says he will not be holding a special election following the resignation of Rep. Duncan Hunter. Also, no local troops are among those who have been deployed to the Middle East following rising tension with Iran. Plus, local Iranians are concerned about what lies head. And Mayor Faulconer marks the completion of a new rapid bus lane along El Cajon boulevard.