Iranian leaders are doing everything they can to display their country’s Jewish population as satisfied, even if they have to resort to fakery to do so, according to Iranian Affairs expert Menashe Amir.
Amir, who was born and raised in Tehran and now lives in Israel, explained that Iran’s leaders believe that showing Jewish support will help their image.
“In Iran they know that Jews have influence on the international scene. They want to show the world, and the Americans, that Jews have a good life in Iran,” he told Arutz Sheva.
“The Jews are Iran’s display window – and they take their orders from the regime,” he explained.
He pointed to a recent letter allegedly sent by Iran’s Jewish community that urged United States President Barack Obama to mend fences with Iran. The letter was not authentic, he charged.
Amir also expressed doubt over Iranian Jewish leader Homayoun Sameyah Najaf Abady’s recent statement to AFP saying Iranian Jews “have an easy life,” and that “the government does not create problems for us.”
Iranian Jews suffer from discrimination as do all religious minorities in Shiite Muslim states like Iran, he said. The problems they face include, in some cases, a lack of access to medicine, he said.
It is not easy for Iran’s Jews to leave the country, Amir said. While the Iranian government does not prevent them from leaving, “the problem is that there aren’t many countries willing to take them,” he explained.
Other Iranian Jews in Israel have offered a different explanation, saying that Iranian Jews are indeed financially well-off, which makes it harder for them to make the move to Israel. Travel is also an obstacle; while Iranian Jews are welcome to immigrate to Israel, they are unable to fly directly to the Jewish state due to the political conflict between the countries.
Amir concluded by noting that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s appeal to Iranians was better-received than people may assume. “It was a good speech, there were tens of thousands of responses, some positive,” he said.
Some of the responses came in to the Persian branch of the Israeli Kol Yisrael (Voice of Israel) radio station, he said.