In the wake of fresh U.S. and European sanctions against Iran, activists gathered at Powell and Market streets in San Francisco Saturday afternoon to protest a potential war against the Middle Eastern nation.

Organized by The World Can’t Wait and other anti-war groups, the rally coincided with similar protests in 80 other U.S. cities in a national “day of action” against a possible U.S. attack on Iran, according to World Can’t Wait SF organizer Stephanie Tang.

Organizers estimated that more than 300 people attended Saturday’s rally and march down Market Street.

The event follows an increased Western military presence in the Persian Gulf and President Barack Obama’s comments during his recent State of the Union address warning Iran against developing its nuclear program.

“He said ‘no options are off the table’ in dealing with Iran that’s psychopathic!” said Cindy Sheehan, a well-known anti-war activist whose son died in the second Iraq war and who ran for Congress in 2008.

“It’s the military empire that’s in charge of this country this is a revolution, saying we’re sick and tired of your wars against humanity we’re sick and tired of your economic terrorism here at home,” she told the crowd this afternoon, earning cheers and applause.

Many protesters, including members of local Answer Coalition and Occupy chapters, carried signs bearing anti-war slogans such as “$ for jobs, homes, and healthcare, not more imperialistic war!” and “No War in Iran!”

Protesters also heard from several other peace activists, including former U.S. military analyst Daniel Ellsberg, who released the historic Pentagon Papers, a covert study on the U.S. government’s private Vietnam War policies.

Representing the group Women for Peace and Justice in Iran, Simin Royanian told protesters, “It is hopeful we are gathering here this peace march is walking even before one bomb has fallen on Iran.”

Shortly after 1 p.m., hundreds of activists marched from Powell and Market streets to United Nations Plaza, many toting anti-war signs and chanting, “No more wars!”

San Francisco resident Sharooz A., an Iranian man who declined to give his last name, said a war against his home country would mean “bombing innocent people” who have no control over their national government’s decisions.

Laura Dixon, Bay City News

Want more news, sent to your inbox every day? Then how about subscribing to our email newsletter? Here’s why we think you should. Come on, give it a try.

Please make sure your comment adheres to our comment policy. If it doesn't, it may be deleted. Repeat violations may cause us to revoke your commenting privileges. No one wants that!