"This is not some far off land that's being affected. This is affecting you here in Palo Alto," Varza said.
On a 6-3 vote, the council passed the resolution calling for the United States government "to refrain from any preemptive action in dealing with any unconfirmed threat" and to use peaceful methods to resolve issues with Iran.
Vice Mayor Larry Klein and council members John Barton and Bern Beecham voted against the resolution because it is beyond Palo Alto's jurisdiction, but Councilwoman Dena Mossar, who usually opposes such actions, shifted her position to support the resolution.
Varza was one of a handful of Iranian Americans who waited for more than three hours to address the council.
Vahid Naraghi, also a Palo Alto resident, said he is a high-tech engineer and a veteran of the earlier war between Iran and Iraq.
"It is your job to raise your voice to show to the world that it's not being done under your name," Naraghi said.
And 22-year resident Abtin Assadi said he's always been proud of Palo Alto's progressive politics.
"This is important for many reasons to send a loud message to an administration that has used war as a prime tool of foreign policy," Assadi said.
Several members of the activist group Raging Grannies also attended the meeting, but several left early, saying it was past their bedtimes.
Council members LaDoris Cordell, Peter Drekmeier and Judy Kleinberg authored the resolution.
Kleinberg said she is not supporting the resolution lightly and that in some cases "the policy of preemption may have validity." But she said she went back and read a failed resolution several years ago opposing such a preemptive strike against Iraq, and "it's a sad statement to say that everything in that resolution has come true."
Mossar said she is shifting her position in this case because of the country's experience in Iraq, saying, "All that's necessary for evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing."