Local politicians, Iranians react to U.S. strike against Iran military

BELLEVUE, Wash. – The U.S. military strike in Iraq that killed a major Iranian military power has rippling effects, including for the large Iranian-American community right here in Puget Sound.

President Trump said the strike against Iranian General Soleimani was intended to stop a war.

While some are cheering the action, others worry it could lead to more chaos overseas and at home.

“He was a thug and he was a person who put force behind an enforcement of an Islamic apartheid,” said Hossein Khorram, an Iranian-American businessman now living in Western Washington.

Khorram is real estate developer on the eastside of Puget Sound. Not only is he a staunch Trump supporter, he also has celebrated the attack against Iran’s military leader.

“It was like a dream come true,” he said. “I had so many calls from friends who were congratulating each other over this great victory of democracy over tyranny.”

But some worry the attack could spur devastating impacts to U.S. interests in the Middle East, including Washington State’s own Lieutenant Governor, Cyrus Habib, also an Iranian-American.

“As the only Iranian-American to hold high public office in the country, I really did feel like it was important for me to make a statement,” said Habib during a telephone interview with Q13 News. “It not only endangered us as Americans, not only added to the instability of the region, but also make the chances of democratic reform and rule of law reform in Iran that much harder.”

Hear the entire interview with Mr. Habib here.

Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best said there are no known threats locally and said SPD will continue working with federal officials. Mayor Jenny Durkan believes U.S. interests abroad could be targeted.

“It’s an unsettling time I think for our country and we can really expect there to be some kind of reprisal,” said Durkan.

Washington State’s 9th Congressional District Representative Adam Smith called the escalation alarming.

“It is not at all clear where this is going. I think the administration believes that this strike is going to make war less likely. I think that’s debatable and that’s the concern,” said Smith during a telephone interview with Q13 News. “The escalation of violence, what the Iranian response will be, and lastly: What’s the long-term plan? Is this simply going to be a conflict that is going to steadily increase in time, if so, how is that in the U.S. interest? I don’t think it is.”

“That is a very scary thing for the immediate future and even for the long term,” said University of Washington professor Resat Kasaba.

Kasaba worries President Trump’s administration may not have considered the long-term consequences of the attack.

“This can completely, quickly go out of control,” he said. “In that sense, I’m not sure the government thought the long-term consequences of this action thoroughly before killing this person.”