'I was in danger and Israel saved me'

Iranian journalist granted asylum by Israel speaks with journalists after her arrival in Israel this morning.

Tal Polon ,

Iranian journalist Nada Amin
Iranian journalist Nada Amin

Iranian journalist Neda Amin spoke with press today, Thursday, following Israel’s decision to grant her asylum and her subsequent landing in Israel this morning.

Before arriving in Israel, Amin had stood to be deported from Turkey back to Iran, from which she had fled three years ago and where she was expected to be put to death for her journalistic work with Israeli media.

Amin writes opinion pieces for Israeli newspaper the Times of Israel, among other projects.

On Sunday, Interior Minister Aryeh Deri announced that he had permitted a request by the Jerusalem Association of Journalists to grant Amin asylum in Israel.

"This is a journalist whose life is in real danger, only because of writing columns on an Israeli news website. In these clear humanitarian circumstances, I authorize her entry without hesitation,” Deri had said.

Speaking to journalists in Israel today, Amin said that Israel had likely saved her life.

“There is a death penalty [in Iran] for those who cooperate with Israel, and that’s what scared me,” she said.

"I feel safer now. I was in danger and the State of Israel saved me. I want to stay here for now, but I will honor any decision of the authorities.”

Amin described the price she has paid for her association with Israeli media.

“I am in touch with some family [in Iran] every several months, but other family members broke off contact with me. Some of my friends are not ready to speak with me, as well.”

She also explained that she felt "some sort of connection with Judaism and Israel.”

“According to Jewish law, my father is considered Jewish, but according to Muslim law, my father is considered a Muslim. But my father didn’t really believe in Islam, so he also learned about Judaism,” she said.

“My roots are somewhat connected to Judaism. I loved Israel since my youth; I never accepted all the regime’s anti-Israel slogans. I always dreamed that I will somehow get to Israel.”