Bay Area Iranian Americans honor day of service


Local Iranian-Americans are unsettled by what they fear is the drumbeat of war, with Israel and President Obama hinting at possible military action if Iran does not end its nuclear program.

On Saturday, Iranian-Americans helped pack and sort food at the San Francisco Food Bank as the National Iranian American Council held community events around the Bay Area and the nation. "So, I was born in Iran. I came here when I was about 5 or 6 and been here ever since. Iran is my homeland, but this is definitely my country," volunteer Hani Ganji told ABC7. While they did their volunteer work at the food bank, their minds were thousands of miles away in Iran where they still have family members.

Iranian leaders are moving forward with their nuclear program which the U.S. and Israel consider a dire threat. Israel is hinting at a possible military strike on its own. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is set to meet with President Obama in Washington on Monday. Mr. Obama is facing increasing pressure to be more aggressive toward Iran.

"Hopefully Israel doesn't go it alone either, but I mean Israel, obviously, they have an issue as well. Iran is talking about wiping Israel off the map and things like that, and that's obviously troublesome. I think Israel and America and all the other countries can come to a diplomatic solution," Ganji said.

"It's not going to be beneficial for the country of Isreal to go unilaterally attack Iran," Abuzar Amini told ABC7. "I don't see any benefit that'll bring the people of Israel and I don't see any benefit it'll bring to the people of America or our government."

Friday's parliamentary elections in Iran appear to favor the ruling clerics over President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The results are seen as further proof that the country will not end its nuclear program.

In San Francisco, men and women of Iranian descent are hoping for peace. "A day like this is to bring community together, to see that we're all the same. We're all helping everybody out. We're all here as a community. If you think of us as a global community, you shouldn't be going to war with anybody," Ganji said.

They want to stress that the people of Iran should not be lumped in with the government of Iran which continues to defy the international community. Pro-Israel groups are putting pressure on the U.S. to come up with clear ground rules for an American attack.

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