Iranians in Rhode Island saddened and fearful following airstrike
By: Ellie Romano
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) – The world is watching for a dramatic retaliation from Iran after a U.S. airstrike killed a top Iranian general.
Qassem Soleimani, the leader of Iran’s elite Quds Force, was killed late Thursday in a U.S. airstrike that targeted a convoy near the main airport in Baghdad.
As the fallout begins in the Middle East, Iranians living in America say they are saddened by the rising tensions.
“I’ve been worried about this for a long time now, but it keeps getting worse and worse,” said Brown University grad student Babak Hemmatian.
He grew up in Iran and came to America for school four and a half years ago. His mother and sister are back in Iran and he’s worried about their wellbeings.
“I told them to look out for the news and to be ready to possibly seek shelter,” said Hemmatian.
President Donald Trump is calling the elimination of Soleimani a victory for the U.S.
“We took action last night to stop a war. We did not take action to start a war,” said Trump.
But Hemmatian said this attack almost guarantees war, which he doesn’t want to happen.
“There would be so much collateral damage. There would be so much economic devastation,” said Hemmatian.
In Iran, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei promised retribution for the strike.
“#SevereRevenge awaits the criminals who have stained their hands with his & the other martyrs’ blood last night,” Khamenei tweeted.
Hemmatian said as someone who grew up in Iran’s capital, that threat is real.
“If Americans thought a war with Iraq and Afghanistan was a disaster, a war with Iran would be worse,” he said.
©WLNE-TV/ABC 6 2020