Iranian Americans express fear, call for caution amid mounting U.S. tensions

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“I think it’s especially terrifying how things can change overnight, literally,” said one Iranian American.

Escalating tensions between Tehran and Washington have rattled Sarah Sakha, 23, an Iranian American who recently graduated from college in the U.S. and got a job at a nonprofit in New York.

She fears for the safety of relatives and friends in Iran. She worries that few Americans recognize the perils of another military conflict in the Mideast, or what she describes as “Iraq 2.0.”

Alarmed by the flurry of news alerts, she has broken down crying at work.

“The constant emotional stress and terror I feel as a first-generation Iranian American is undeniable,” Sakha said. “I think it’s especially terrifying how things can change overnight, literally.”

Sarah Sakha, a first-generation Iranian American, said escalating tensions between the U.S. and Iran are causing her worry and fear for her relatives in Iran.Courtesy Sarah Sakha

Sakha is among nearly 500,000 people in the U.S. of Iranian ancestry, many of whom are closely following developments as the U.S. and Iran head toward a possible clash.

President Donald Trump on Friday said the U.S. was “cocked and loaded” to retaliate against Iran for downing a U.S. surveillance drone. But he said he called off the strike minutes before it was set to launch when he heard 150 civilians could die, he said.

In an interview with NBC News’ Chuck Todd on Friday, Trump said a plan was “ready to go subject my approval.”

As the crisis mounts, several Iranian American civic organizations and advocacy groups are on high alert, with some calling for the U.S. and Iranian governments to exercise caution before the situation spirals into violence.

The National Iranian American Council, a Washington-based group that advocates for improved relations between the two countries, pleaded for “restraint.”

“Both Trump and his inner circle and Iran’s leadership should recognize that the U.S. and Iran have entered an escalation spiral. Adding fuel to the fire risks stoking this crisis to the point of no return,” Jamal Abdi, the group’s president, said in a statement.

“The night is always darkest before the dawn. We urge all leaders to put their countries’ best interests in mind and firmly step away from the path to war,” Abdi added.

The American Iranian Council, a public policy group that focuses on diplomacy surrounding Iran, released a similar statement this week, faulting both the U.S. and Iran for stoking tensions.

“AIC calls on both countries to immediately cease their aggressive and escalating rhetoric,” the group said in a statement.

It was not immediately clear whether any major Iranian American advocacy groups planned to organize aid to families in Iran, many of whom have been separated from loved ones in the U.S. by the Trump administration’s travel ban or struggled under tough economic sanctions on their country.

Dealing with the icy relationship between the U.S. and Iran is nothing new for many Iranian Americans. They saw the nuclear accords under President Barack Obama give way to more openly hostile rhetoric from Trump, who has accused the Iranian regime of doing “bad, bad things.*

Ali Ghambari, founder of the Iranian American Community Alliance, a Seattle-based nonprofit, said he would not be surprised if American groups provided financial assistance to Iranian nationals during a hypothetical conflict.

Ghambari, 60, who has lived in the U.S. since 1979, said he was grateful that Trump was “not moving fast” on a standoff with Iran. He added that he would prefer a diplomatic resolution.

But not all Iranian Americans were averse to the U.S. taking a hard line against Iran.

At a gathering in front of the White House on Friday, dozens of Iranian Americans rallied for regime change in Tehran, with some calling for the overthrow of the ruling government.

Ahmad, an Iranian-American man who did not want to provide his full name because of concerns about his family’s safety, said he blamed the Iranian regime for the deaths of his brothers, including one he says was tortured in state prison.

He said he did not expect that will be a war. But the U.S., he added, will “have to take firm action.”

[dropcap]D[/dropcap]on’t act so surprised, Your Highness. You weren’t on any mercy mission this time. Several transmissions were beamed to this ship by Rebel spies. I want to know what happened to the plans they sent you. In my experience, there is no such thing as luck. Partially, but it also obeys your commands. I want to come with you to Alderaan. There’s nothing for me here now. I want to learn the ways of the Force and be a Jedi, like my father before me. The more you tighten your grip, Tarkin, the more star systems will slip through your fingers.

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I care. So, what do you think of her, Han? A tremor in the Force. The last time I felt it was in the presence of my old master. [highlight color=”blue”]But with the blast shield down,[/highlight] I can’t even see! How am I supposed to fight? Obi-Wan is here. The Force is with him. But with the blast shield down, I can’t even see! How am I supposed to fight? You are a part of the Rebel Alliance and a traitor! Take her away!

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Still, she’s got a lot of spirit. I don’t know, what do you think? What!? I don’t know what you’re talking about. I am a member of the Imperial Senate on a diplomatic mission to Alderaan– What good is a reward if you ain’t around to use it? Besides, attacking that battle station ain’t my idea of courage. It’s more like…suicide.
You don’t believe in the Force, do you? Obi-Wan is here. The Force is with him. I call it luck. Look, I can take you as far as Anchorhead. You can get a transport there to Mos Eisley or wherever you’re going. What?! The Force is strong with this one. I have you now.

  1. I care. So, what do you think of her, Han?
  2. You mean it controls your actions?
  3. Look, I can take you as far as Anchorhead. You can get a transport there to Mos Eisley or wherever you’re going.
  4. I’m trying not to, kid.

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Revenge of the Sith

post-imageI can’t get involved! I’ve got work to do! It’s not that I like the Empire, I hate it, but there’s nothing I can do about it right now. It’s such a long way from here. Leave that to me. Send a distress signal, and inform the Senate that all on board were killed. I’m surprised you had the courage to take the responsibility yourself. No! Alderaan is peaceful. We have no weapons. You can’t possibly…

Your eyes can deceive you. Don’t trust them. He is here. What?! Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side, kid. I’m trying not to, kid.

I’m trying not to, kid. I have traced the Rebel spies to her. Now she is my only link to finding their secret base. He is here. You are a part of the Rebel Alliance and a traitor! Take her away! Dantooine. They’re on Dantooine.

 

Still, she’s got a lot of spirit. I don’t know, what do you think? What!? I don’t know what you’re talking about. I am a member of the Imperial Senate on a diplomatic mission to Alderaan– What good is a reward if you ain’t around to use it? Besides, attacking that battle station ain’t my idea of courage. It’s more like…suicide.

Hey, Luke! May the Force be with you. Kid, I’ve flown from one side of this galaxy to the other. I’ve seen a lot of strange stuff, but I’ve never seen anything to make me believe there’s one all-powerful Force controlling everything. There’s no mystical energy field that controls my destiny. It’s all a lot of simple tricks and nonsense. Remember, a Jedi can feel the Force flowing through him. He is here. Ye-ha! I have traced the Rebel spies to her. Now she is my only link to finding their secret base.

You don’t believe in the Force, do you? Obi-Wan is here. The Force is with him. I call it luck. Look, I can take you as far as Anchorhead. You can get a transport there to Mos Eisley or wherever you’re going. What?! The Force is strong with this one. I have you now.

 

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Hey, Luke! May the Force be with you. Kid, I’ve flown from one side of this galaxy to the other. I’ve seen a lot of strange stuff, but I’ve never seen anything to make me believe there’s one all-powerful Force controlling everything. There’s no mystical energy field that controls my destiny. It’s all a lot of simple tricks and nonsense. Remember, a Jedi can feel the Force flowing through him. He is here. Ye-ha! I have traced the Rebel spies to her. Now she is my only link to finding their secret base.

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Oh God, my uncle. How am I ever gonna explain this? Look, I ain’t in this for your revolution, and I’m not in it for you, Princess. I expect to be well paid. I’m in it for the money. A tremor in the Force. The last time I felt it was in the presence of my old master.

All right. Well, take care of yourself, Han. [highlight color=”orange”]I guess that’s what you’re best at,[/highlight] ain’t it? Alderaan? I’m not going to Alderaan. I’ve got to go home. It’s late, I’m in for it as it is. The plans you refer to will soon be back in our hands.
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[caption id="attachment_81" align="alignleft" width="200"]WOW, Nice photo ! WOW, Nice photo ![/caption]

I need your help, Luke. She needs your help. I’m getting too old for this sort of thing. Oh God, my uncle. How am I ever gonna explain this? Hey, Luke! May the Force be with you. No! Alderaan is peaceful. We have no weapons. You can’t possibly… As you wish. Look, I can take you as far as Anchorhead. You can get a transport there to Mos Eisley or wherever you’re going.

I suggest you try it again, Luke. This time, let go your conscious self and act on instinct. Dantooine. They’re on Dantooine. You’re all clear, kid. Let’s blow this thing and go home! I’m surprised you had the courage to take the responsibility yourself. I’m trying not to, kid.

I care. So, what do you think of her, Han? Don’t underestimate the Force. I don’t know what you’re talking about. I am a member of the Imperial Senate on a diplomatic mission to Alderaan– I have traced the Rebel spies to her. Now she is my only link to finding their secret base.

You’re all clear, kid. [highlight color=”green”]Let’s blow this thing and go home![/highlight] But with the blast shield down, I can’t even see! How am I supposed to fight? Alderaan? I’m not going to Alderaan. I’ve got to go home. It’s late, I’m in for it as it is.

Tennis: Novak Djokovic shakes off rust to advance in Cincinnati

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Novak Djokovic fired his 15th ace on match point to make up for his slow start on the sun-soaked courts.
Novak Djokovic fired his 15th ace on match point to make up for his slow start on the sun-soaked courts.PHOTO: AFP

(REUTERS) – Novak Djokovic overcame some early jitters in his first match since his triumph at Wimbledon last month to see off Sam Querrey 7-5 6-1 at the Cincinnati Masters on Tuesday (Aug 13).

The defending champion and world No. 1 fired his 15th ace on match point to make up for his slow start on the sun-soaked courts.

“I made three double faults in my opening game and lost the break. I was quite a nervous at the start,” he said of falling behind 2-0 against the big-serving American.

“I’m really glad to overcome a challenge like this and get myself going.”

Djokovic, who defeated Roger Federer in an epic final at Wimbledon, said he needed time to recover from the surge of emotions.

“That was one of the most epic matches I’ve been a part of and probably the most demanding one from the mental perspective,” he said of his five-set victory.

“So it really did take me some time to recharge my batteries, especially in my head. My body was fine.”

Swiss Stan Wawrinka overcame Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov 5-7 6-4 7-6(4) in a roller-coaster first-round match.

Dimitrov clawed back from a double break down in the decider to level at 5-5 and after Wawrinka broke again, Dimitrov forced the tiebreak.

The Swiss surged into a 4-0 lead but Dimitrov rallied once more before Wawrinka closed out the match with an ace.

Young American Frances Tiafoe beat Frenchman Gael Monfils 7-6(7) 6-3 and Canadian Denis Shapovalov came from behind to see off Portugal’s Joao Sousa 2-6 6-3 6-2.