Iran: Jewish MP says West needs to reach out to Rohani

US should not repeat mistakes of Khatami era

19 June, 17:43

    (ANSAmed) - Rome, June 19 - ( By Elisa Pinna ) - The West should reach out to Iran's president-elect Hassan Rohani and avoid humiliating him like it did with reformist president Mohammad Khatami who led the country between 1997 and 2005.

    That is the view of an unusual Iranian MP, Chamad Morsadeghi, who represents the Iranian Jewish minority.

    He is in Rome for an interreligious conference between Catholics and Shia Muslims organised by the International Association Charity Policy at the Vatican.

    While few people are aware of it, Iran has the largest Jewish community in the Middle East apart from Israel - 25,000 to 30,000 people.

    In an interview with ANSAmed, Morsadeghi said Iranian Jews enjoy full religious freedom, respect and civil and political rights. They live in an atmosphere of "brotherhood" and the Teheran synagogue has no security unlike synagogues in many Arab countries.

    He said the new president offers great opportunities on domestic proposals and the possibility of building peaceful relations with the West.

    "But this time the United States should not repeat mistakes it made with Khatami," he said.

    He said there has to be flexibility and a willingness demonstrated by both sides.

    The Iranian MP said "Israel was the only country in the world that does not want normalisation of relations with Teheran adn the end of economic sanctions".

    He said Jews in Iran "feel Iranian in every way".

    "We have been in this country for 2500 years, since the period of Cyrus The Great.

    During the Holocaust, many European Jews found refuge in Iran.

    "Personally I fought on the front line for 18 months against Iraq and I would be ready to also do it against Israel," he said. "Whoever is an enemy of Iran is our enemy".

    (ANSAmed).

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