Iranian Jews Protest in Favor of Nuclear Program

In a rare public display, members of Iran's Jewish community rally in support of the country's nuclear program.

Elad Benari ,

AFP photo

Members of Iran’s Jewish community were among hundreds of Iranians who rallied on Tuesday in support of the Islamic Republic's disputed nuclear program.

The Associated Press (AP) reports that in Tehran, several dozen people identifying themselves as Iranian Jews gathered outside a UN building and protested in favor of the nuclear program.

It was a rare public display by the community, which tends to keep a low profile despite being the largest in the region outside Israel and Turkey, noted the news agency.

Other reports said that the Jewish demonstrators included the country’s only Jewish parliamentarian, Siamak Moreh Sedgh, along with Jewish women and schoolchildren. They demonstrated in favor of the nuclear program but not in favor of the development of nuclear weapons.

The demonstrators held up a sign, which read in Hebrew, English and Farsi, “Iranian monotheists are proud of supreme leader fatwa for prohibition of mass killing weapons.”

Before the protest, the semi-official Fars news agency quoted Marreh Sedq as having said that Iranian Jews from across the country would gather in front of the UN office in Tehran “to show their support for Iran’s stances in the upcoming talks with the world powers.”

“Jews from all Iranian Jewish communities, especially from Tehran, will take part in this gathering to show their solidarity with the Islamic Republic of Iran’s stances in the recent talks, specially the issues proposed to Group 5+1,” Marreh Sedq said, referring to the six world powers negotiating with Tehran.

The talks between Iran and world powers are set to resume in Geneva on Wednesday.

Ahead of the talks, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif released a video in which he emphasized his nation's "rights" and "dignity" in pursuing a nuclear program.

In the video Zarif claimed the Geneva talks have not "hit a dead end" following the collapse of the previous round of talks.

However he said that in order for a deal to be made Iran needs "equal footing" with other nations that have nuclear power. Zarif added "no power...can determine the fate of others."

Meanwhile Zarif told AFP on Tuesday that he approaches the talks Wednesday "with the determination to come out with an agreement at the end of this round." Zarif has in the past said Iran has an "inherent right" to enrich uranium.

He also accused Israel of trying to "torpedo the process."