Jewish Iranians prefer Ahmadinejad to Mousavi

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Jerusalem, July 7 (ANI): Notwithstanding the anti-government protests in Iran, Jewish Iranians living in Israel and abroad think that Iran under the presidency of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is much better than it would be under opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi.

At a conference of Iranian Jews in Jerusalem on Monday, leaders of the Mashadi Jewish community said that despite Ahmadinejad's blustery rhetoric against Israel, Iran is a safe place for Jews to practice their religion.

"Ahmadinejad speaks badly about Jews, but he is preferable to Mousavi. The current government is relatively stable and provides a safe environment for Jews," The Jerusalem Post quoted Shlomo Zabihi, a Mashadi rabbi, as saying.

The Global Mashadi Jewish Federation is an umbrella organization of Jews from Mashad, Iran's second largest city.

During the 1979 Islamic Revolution, many Mashadi Jews fled to the United States, and there are almost no Jews in Mashad today. An estimated 25,000 still live in Iran, concentrated in Teheran.

"They've found it very safe and pleasant, no problems. Actually, the regime during Khatami and the regime now have been very good with Jewish people. There has not been any problem," said Bahman Kamali, founder of the federation.

Kamali said Ahmadinejad's calls for the destruction of Israel were not the same as condemnation or encouragement of violence against Jews in the Diaspora.

"There's a distinction between the two because Iranians, they respect the religions that have books, Christianity, Judaism. They respect people freely going to the synagogues and praying there without any problems," Kamali said.

He doesn't think the Jewish community in Iran will face persecution stemming from political unrest following the disputed elections. (ANI)

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