An Iranian in Portland: Nervous, hopeful for peace


Local anti-war rallies are being held over the next few days

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Jason Rostami moved from New York to Portland in 2014. He calls Portland his home and even owns a business here.

In fact, he and his girlfriend got engaged on New Year’s Eve. But just 2 days after their engagement tensions grew between his family’s country — Iran — and his country, the US.

“With this situation, we can’t go back to my country for wedding,” he told KOIN 6 News.

After the US killed Iran Gen. Qassem Soleimani and the Iranian missile attack in response, he’s trying to stay calm.

But Rostami still has family in Iran. They’re nervous.

“A lot of Iranians love Americans and they don’t want to have another war. No one wins in a war. Both sides are losing,” he said.

Jason Rostami owns the Metroman salon in the Pearl District of Portland, January 8, 2020 (KOIN)

He hopes there can be a peaceful resolution to the escalating tensions between the US and Iran.

The hostility seen from the Iranians in the media is just a small percentage of people, he said.

“To be honest I am a little bit nervous and I hope there won’t be war between these two countries,” he told KOIN 6 News. “There’s been a lot of animosity between these two countries and I like that they come sit at the table and they talk.”

Asked if he’s worried about discrimination, he said people in Portland have been kind. He wants others to continue not to judge someone based on their nationality.

“I love this city, I love the people, I love this country. Even though I don’t have a family here, but I have 4 employees who (are) like my family.”

Reactions from lawmakers, rallies planned

Reactions to the Iran missile attacks have come quickly — directed at both Iran and the president for what could come next.

Some Democratic lawmakers from Oregon and Washington have taken to social media. Senators Patty Murray and Jeff Merkley tweeted prayers for service members in harm’s way, while Senator Ron Wyden released a statement warning against further escalation and the president’s “reckless actions and rhetoric.”

Local organizers said anti-war rallies are being held in Beaverton on Wednesday and in then on the Hawthorne Bridge in downtown Portland.

The anti-war rally in Beaverton is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. across from the main Beaverton library on SW 5th Street. Speakers will include Veterans for Peace and statements from Oregon’s congressional representatives are expected.

The Portland “No Iran War” rally is scheduled for 5 p.m. Thursday at the Hawthorne Bridge in downtown Portland.

In recent days, protests in Portland and around the country condemned further violence with people worried the president could take action to escalate tensions and violence in the Middle East.

“We are on the precipice and we have to be careful or we’re going to fall over that precipice and everybody is going to be hurt by this,” said Daniel Shea of Veterans for Peace. “There are no winners in war.”

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