ASIA/IRAN - The election of Rohani seen by Iranian Jews

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Tehran (Agenzia Fides) - The election of new Iranian President Hassan Rohani is for Iranian Jews the confirmation that "Iran is a democratic Country, where it is quite normal to change President and Members of Parliament according to the needs of the moment". This is what Dr. Ciamak Morsadegh, representative of the Jewish community in Parliament in Tehran told Fides Agency. According to Morsadegh, the surprising victory of the "moderate" Rohani in the first round of the presidential election does not involve a radical discontinuity in the geo-political perspectives of the Islamic Republic of Iran: "The strategies and underlying interests of the Country do not change. The appropriate changes should be introduced gradually and always taking into account the general interest of the Nation.
Otherwise a Country risks to destabilize itself," notes Morsadegh.
The Jews in Iran are 25 thousand. Synagogues and Jewish places of worship are more than a hundred across the Country. The Iranian Jewish community has a seat in parliament in Tehran (where two seats is entitled by law to Christians and one for Zoroastrians). According to Morsadegh, who manages the Jewish hospital in the capital, the current Iran provides full exercise of citizenship to members of religious minorities: "Before the Islamic revolution" says the MP "the Constitution defined us as Jews, Christians and Zoroastrians living in Iran . In the currrent Constitution we are defined as Iranian Jews, Christians and Zoroastrians. The most serious problems we face are the same faced by our fellow Muslims: inflation, unemployment, economic problems. Sometimes low-level officials in the government offices are reluctant to employing Jewish personnel. But almost all of these unfortunate incidents have been resolved thanks to competent authorities. In Iran, there have never been Jewish ghettos, even in past centuries. And after the Revolution an episode of organized anti-Semitism has never occurred". According to the Jewish MP, the non-permeability among the different religious communities and the opposition to conversions in Iran groups in with all religious groups, and it is not an exclusive trait of the Shiite majority: "Here", explains Morsadegh "the rate of interfaith marriages within the Jewish community is very low, less than 0.1 percent. We are Jews, we want to remain Jews. In Iran, anyone who makes propaganda against one of the monotheistic religions is punished. The punishments are the same for those who offend Mohammad, Moses or Jesus".
With regard to relations with the nations and surrounding powers, Morsadegh says firmly that the Iranian Jewish community has the sole criterion for judging the events of the geo-political interests of the nation: "In the war between Iran and Iraq I went to fight as a volunteer. In Iran, no one wants war. Over the last three hundred years, we Iranians did not start any war, we only defended ourselves from the attacks. Even now, if some crazy person puts in mind to attack our Country, we Iranian Jews will do everything we can to defend our homeland". (GV) (Agenzia Fides 02/07/2013).