Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Iran denies wanting to "wipe Israel off the map"

I came accross this piece of news today from Reuters:

Iran's foreign minister denied on Monday that Tehran wanted to see Israel "wiped off the map," "Nobody can remove a country from the map. This is a misunderstanding in Europe of what our president mentioned".

Also Manouchehr Mottaki, the Iranian Foreign Minister, added a comment about Holocaust:

"Our friends in Europe stress that such a crime has taken place and they have stated certain figures that were actually suffered. We have no argument about that, but what we are saying here is to put right such a horrific event, why should the Muslims pay a price?"

Denying Holocaust is denying the most notorious crime that has ever happened in last century to the human being. It is a big sorrow to see someone calles such an act a myth.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Persian Jews in Iran

Another question that I have been asked frequently has been about Persian Jews in Iran. I have found the information of this post from Tehran Jewish Committee website. But this post can not show all aspects of their lives in Iran. To my knowledge Iranian culture has had a better record of treating Jewish people relative to other countries during history. I mean from 2700 years ago when the the Cyrus king released them after conquering Babylonia. I will write more about this topic in future. (Meanwhile i'd appreciate if you introduce me the informative resources on this subject).
Largely forgotten by the rest of the world, Iran is home to the largest Jewish population in the Middle East outside of Israel. After the revolution in 1979, a majority of the Jews fled, many to the United States, but 25,000 still remain. Iranian Jews have been living in Iran (Persia) since 2700 years ago and there are many holy and historical places of Jews in this country such as the tomb of Prophet Daniel in the city of Shoush, Ester and Mordechai in Hamedan and Prophet Habakkuk in Touiserkan. Those are the holy places for both Jews and Muslims. There are also tombs of several outstanding Jewish scholars in Iran like "harav Uresharga" in Yazd and "Hakham Mullah Moshe Halevi" in Kashan. Muslims had respected these also.

By establishment of the National legislature in Constitutional period (about a century ago), religious minorities in Iran obtained representation in the parliament and since then Jews have always had representatives in the parliament. After the 1979 Revolution, a Jewish representative has had an active presence in the Constitution of Elite Council. According to the Constitution, Jews have a representative in Islamic Consultative Assembly . Political, social, and religious activities of Jewish society revolve around Jewish religious authorities (Chief Rabbi Yousef Hamedani Cohen), Jews representative in Islamic Consultative Assembly and Tehran Jewish Committee Board of Directors. Any position declaration or pursuance of legal, political, and social issues of Jewish society is addressed through above bodies.
At the present, this community has many synagogues, special schools, cultural complexes, youth, students and women centers, aging centers, central libraries, computer training centers, music training centers, gathering halls and butcheries according to Jewish religion in different regions and cities of the country. Information and publishing of Jewish cultural works as many different books and journals almost always have been present and after the Islamic Revolution, in addition to periodical local bulletins, the magazine of “Tamouz” (up to 1989) and the monthly of “Ofegh-BINA” (organ of Jewish Committee since 1999) have been responsible for the task. Tehran Jews usually do their sport activities in the sport club of “Gibor.” This club is responsible for sport training courses and competitions as well as contests between religious minorities and always has the cooperation from Jew and non-Jew coaches. Jewish Women Organization is cooperating with this club in women sport affairs too. Charity Hub is also one of the charity agencies of Jewish society that its main activity is managing the Dr. Sapir Hospital in south of Tehran city that provides services to all of Tehran citizens. The cost of maintaining this hospital is primarily provided by the Jewish charitable.

Ahmadi Nezhad and Israel

The president of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadi Nejad, overwhelmed the world by surprise after his comments in last October about Israel and Holocaust. He talked about wiping out Israel from the map while he called the Holocaust a myth. But right after his speech most of the scholars in Iran and even the conservative leaders in Iran seemed to be stunned how to deal with the Persident's words.

While many people in the world were talking about the Iranian intentions to attack israel, Ayatollah Ali Khameni, the supreme religious leader, tried to correct the presidents's words by claiming that " We want all the people there (Jews, Muslims and Christians) to participate in an election and choose their government" he clearly ruled out any intention of Iran to attack Israel.
That comment made the Europeans and US closer to each other in nuclear negotiation with Iran and also helped the public opinions in the world to be more watchful of Iran's nuclear program. But why does the president of country makes some comments that makes his country in more trouble? I think that was the question that even made the president of US to say that this Ahmadi Nezhad is a strange guy! Some people who are familiar with the politics in Iran believe that Ahmadi Nezhad's words were mostly usable for internal politics in Iran.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Anti-Democratic move by US

That is the news:

"Candoleezza Rice: US is going to devote 75 million dollars to promoting democracy in Iran."

Iran has a dynamic society although many people in West may think otherwise . Political and social norms have changed a lot after the revolution. Reformist and people who struggle for more freedom have tried hard during the last decades. In the other hand, their opponents who almost rule the judicial system, are looking for a good excuse to put the reformists in jail. That piece of news is a good present for hardliners to accuse their opponents of getting money from foreigners and it is a nightmare for all democrat activists.

This is the start

My friend Vincent asked me about Iran. He believed Iran is a mysterious country. He might be right. I am going to write about this country: Iran. Your questions,feedbacks and comments are welcomed.