Mitra Jalali: 'Unacceptable' for Trump to say he's acting in best interests of Iranian people

“It's just very unacceptable to me that they would invoke our people as a justification for plunging us into more endless war..."

The Chad Hartman Show
January 06, 2020 - 3:43 pm
Mitra Jalali

St. Paul City Council member Mitra Jalali was about to take off on a flight back to Minnesota when she saw news breaking that a U.S. drone strike had killed Iranian General Qasem Soleimani. As the state’s first elected Iranian-American, and as a member of the local Persian community, she felt “gut punched” and flooded with dread.

When the captain announced that it was time for passengers to put away their phones for takeoff, Jalali couldn’t help but wonder if the country would be at war by the time the plane landed. 

It was not the first time Jalali had been gripped by fear after hearing about escalating tensions between Iran and the U.S., and she knew that many of her peers in the Iranian-American community felt similarly, a reality she described in a recent piece for The Guardian

“Any time something happens, saber rattling or a development with the Iran Deal or weird tweets, anything, you name it with Iran, there's a little ripple effect that goes through the community. And you never get to hear from us, not just the diaspora community, but actually Iranian people in Iran. And I'm not the latter, but I am the former and this is a moment where we need to use our voice,” she told News Talk 830 WCCO host Chad Hartman. 

When Hartman pointed out that Trump administration officials had said many Iranians were happy about Soleimani’s death, Jalali argued they had no “basis or place of good faith standing,” to claim they were acting in the best interests of the Iranian people considering their track record. She cited the administration's decision to pull out of the Iran deal, the impact of economic sanctions on everyday Iranians, and Trump’s travel ban, a series of executive orders which severely restricted the ability of Iranian citizens to travel to the United States, which she said had directly impacted her family.

“It's just very unacceptable to me that they would invoke our people as a justification for plunging us into more endless war and turmoil and chaos,” she said. 

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Soleimani directed Iran’s elite and covert Quds Force, which helped prompt up the Assaad’s regime in Syria and, as Hartman pointed out, is believed to have played a role in the deaths of hundreds of U.S. troops in Iraq. 

Jalali acknowledged that Soleimani was involved in oppression and heinous acts,” but questioned the decision to assassinate him, comparing it to the US decision to remove Saddam Hussein and invade Iraq. 

“We have to question the type of reasoning that says someone was bad, and so we have to go and pursue the most extreme option for dealing with them. You could use that as a justification to get us into anything as a country that is extraordinarily costly in terms of American lives. That is how we got into the conflict in 2003.”

Jalali said that as events have unfolded over the last several days she, like many of her friends who are also second generation Iranian Americans, had spent time talking to her Iranian family to gauge their read on the situation. 

“This is the first time in the last several years that I can remember that so many of our parents are terrified. This is definitely a new normal and that that tells me something,” she said. 

Listen to the full interview here:


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