Congressional leaders and an Iranian responds to conflict between US and Iran
By Winnie Wright
MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Wednesday morning President Trump addressed the American people on the escalating tensions between the U.S. and Iran.
During the remarks, he said no Americans or Iraqis were killed in Tuesday night’s air strikes on two airbases in Iraq that house American troops.
Many hoped the president would tamp down his rhetoric.
Instead, the President threatened crippling sanctions in Iran and called out the U.S.' allies and NATO partners to do more in the region.
We often hear chants of “death to America” when the U.S. clashes with the Middle East.
However, according to the Iranian living in Memphis, FOX13 spoke with today, just as not all Americans want war with Iran, the same is true the other way around.
“I think most of the people here and in Iran all agree war is not a solution,” said Sepehr Movaghati.
Movaghati was born and raised in Iran before moving to Memphis in 2013 to get a PHD in Structural Engineering at the University of Memphis.
“Everything is good except for bad news that we hear from Iran," he said. "It kind of upset most of the Iranian community.”
His mother and many of his friends still live in Tehran, Iran's capital city.
Watching the violent protests unfold in Tehran and the airstrikes in Iraq have put his community on-edge.
“Right now, it’s really hard to say that any diplomacy is going to happen between Iran and U.S. but there is hope for that,” he said.
Wednesday morning, Iranians woke to news from State Media that American troops were killed in the airstrikes, however, according to President Trump, that's not true.
We asked Movaghati if he believes the younger generations, that were actually protesting Iranian leadership prior to Solemani's killing, believed what they were hearing about the attacks but also the U.S. as a whole.
“I’m thinking that social media is a very good platform to spread the idea of the ordinary people," he said. "My friends following my Instagram posts and seeing that Americans, most of them, are anti-war.”
Movaghati is hopeful all of this tension will dissipate.
He said in the meantime, it’s his mission to get the message to his friends in Iran that not all Americans share the same feelings as the leaders Iranians see on TV.
FOX13 spent the day speaking with the Mid-South’s congressional delegation, to see where our leaders stand on the issue.
For the most part, the president has the support of Mid-South representatives when it comes to the how he is handling the situation with Iran.
His commitment to U.S. safety and strength was a centerpiece the official statements we received.
“I found out just as everyone else found out, as it was reported,” he said.
That was Tennessee Senator Marsha Blackburn shortly after the President's remarks.
“The thing to keep in mind is: Solemani is a known terrorist," she said.
She wholeheartedly supports President Trump’s decision to kill General Solemani.
“We knew there were threats against our men and women in uniform and against our diplomats that were there in Iraq, so this is why he took him out,” she said.
President Trump has also stated that there was evidence that Solemani was plotting an eminent attack, but the American public hasn’t seen that evidence.
I asked Senator Blackburn if she has seen it.
“That is all classified," she said. "We did receive a briefing today and I can tell you I was satisfied with what I heard.”
Solemani’s death, she told us, was a result of a culmination of events, including the deaths of hundreds of Americans.
“We had drawn a red line and said 'if you cross this red line, we will take action," she said. "The President had said that red line was 'if you kill Americans, we will respond.”
"Do you think the U.S. should be negotiating with the Taliban, knowing they are known terrorists, if the line in the sand is that we will not cooperate with people who have killed Americans,” we asked.
“Our commanders in the field do not need 535 commanders in chief in congress,” she said.
Senator Blackburn says she doesn't expect the situation to escalate further.
Tennessee Representative David Kustoff was in and out of meetings all day, but sent us a statement.
“Last night our brave men and women stood strong in the face of attacks, as they always do, and I am grateful to hear there were no American casualties. Their commitment and resilience are what make the United States the strongest nation on earth. Now is the time for all Americans to come together with one voice and support their efforts. I applaud President Trump’s strong message today and his continued commitment to our safety and strength.”
Mississippi Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith tells us she's "confident in the President and our military leaders to respond appropriately to continued aggression by the regime in Iran against the United States and its allies.”
Arkansas Representative Rick Crawford couldn't interview with us today, because he was dealing with a family emergency.
Tennessee Congressman Steve Cohen was in and out of classified and declassified briefings on Iran today and was also unavailable for an interview.
We didn’t hear back from Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton.