A few weeks ago Iran’s newly “elected” president Hassan Rouhani as well as Iran’s newest foreign minister Mohammad Javid Zarif both took to the social media site “Twitter” to tweet well wishes to Jews worldwide for Rosh Hashana. News media outlets in the U.S., Europe and Israel were all abuzz that Rouhani and Zarif were supposedly extending an “olive branch of peace” to Jews through their tweets for the Jewish new year. Yet many Iranian human rights activists and journalists like myself who have been following the Iranian regime’s media tactics for years know very clearly that the “tweets” from Rouhani and Zarif were not goodwill gestures to Jews, Israel or America— but merely propaganda stunts to fool individuals in the West that they are not as “bad” folks as Iran’s former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who was a very proud and outspoken anti-Semite, Holocaust denier and hater of all things Western. The tweets from Rouhani and Zarif were a part of their larger publicity campaign to halt the strong sanctions on Iran by projecting a supposed “nicer” face to Iran’s totalitarian regime. It is clear to us journalists of Iranian background that Rouhani and his “moderates” cronies in Tehran are involved in full media damage control mode in an effort to paint a new giant happy face that was destroyed during the last eight years by Iran’s ex-president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in the Western news media.
The Iranian regime’s propaganda wing never ceases to amaze me with their unending attempts to show that their regime is supposedly “all loving and kind” to the Jews with their endless publicity stunts, press releases and ridiculous statements made by Iran’s only Jewish member of parliament that the regime treats Jews with supposed 100% equality! I have written extensively about how the Iranian regime uses the Jews living in Iran as propaganda pawns to improve their image in their world. The Iranian regime is quick to pull out the Jewish member of Iran’s Parliament to show that Iran’s Jews have “fair representation”. Yet what the mainstream media does not realize are that comments made by any Jewish leaders in Iran to the Western media lack credible since these leaders have been hand-picked by the Iranian Intelligence Ministry to parrot what the regime tells them to say. Whenever any journalist goes to Iran to talk to the Jews, they are handed over to hand-picked Jews who have been given a script to read from—just as was the case with the Nazi films at Theresienstadt during World War II. What is even more outrageous about Iran’s propaganda machine is that the regime does not grant visas to journalists it deems unsympathetic to their regime! So the Iranian officials have had pretty much free reign in spewing their one-sided message regarding Iranian Jews that is in no way objective. This is by far not fair and balanced journalism!
The Iranian regime, much like the Nazi regime, loves to parade the Jews of Iran in front of the international news cameras to attack Israel in any way possible because they know these news outlets will carry stories about Jews “condemning Israel”. Anyone in the right mind who actually believes that the Jews of Iran hate Israel is foolish. Jews along with other religious minorities in Iran live in constant fear for their lives because the Iranian regime by law treats them as second class citizens who have few rights than the Muslim majority and can be immediately punished for a whole host of “crimes” the regime can conjure up. The only reason Jews in Iran even participated in the sham protests against Israel or America is because members of Iran’s secret police threaten their lives if they do not do what these radical Islamic thugs dictate to them!
As a journalist who exclusively covers Iranian Jewry and has close ties to the community, I am personally baffled at how member of the media in the U.S. and Europe can make any assertions that life is great for Jews in Iran. On a regular basis, I am reminded by countless Iranian American Jewish leaders to “watch” what I might be writing about the Iranian regime for fear that what I may report on may have negative repercussions on the Jews of Iran. So my question is why on earth are Iranian American Jews so concerned about my words and the safety of their brethren in Iran if everything is supposedly so fine and dandy for Jews in Iran? If Jews are supposedly free to practice their religion in Iran without restrictions, then why have the Iranian regime’s leaders during the last 34 years forced Jews to keep their Jewish day schools open on the Sabbath which is holy to the Jewish people? Why do Iranian authorities repeatedly refuse the Jewish community’s requests to close their Jewish schools during the Sabbath in Iran? Also, why have nearly 100,000 Jews fled Iran since 1979 if life is supposedly so fantastic and free for Jews in Iran? Likewise, if things are so happy and rosy for the Jews of Iran, then was Toobah Nehdaran, a 57-year-old married woman brutally murdered and had her body mutilated by radical Islamic thugs in the Iranian city of Isfahan in November 2012? Why have Nehdaran’s murders not been brought to justice yet by the Iranian authorities? All of these clear facts prove that Rouhani and all the other Islamic clerics who control the Iranian regime do not give a damn about the Jews of Iran or the Jews of any other country!
I was quite surprised that news media outlets in the U.S. and Europe have been fooled into believing that Rouhani and his gang are supposedly “nicer” and “moderate” than the other radical Islamic leaders of Iran’s current regime. The fact of the matter is that Rouhani is NO MODERATE! It is a misnomer for anyone to call him a “moderate” because he currently does not take any stance on Israel, the rights of Jews or minorities in Iran, or on the nuclear issue that are any different than his predecessor Ahmadinejad or Iran’s brutal Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei! The only difference between Rouhani and Ahmadinejad is that Rouhani smiles for the western news media cameras, speaks of wanting supposed “peace with the west” and says he wants to give more freedoms to the people of Iran. But the proof is in the pudding and while Rouhani may talk the talk of being “different or moderate”, his actions are no different than those of Ahmadinejad. The centrifuges in Iran’s nuclear sites are still spinning full speed ahead, Baha’is and Christians are still being brutally tortured and killed in Iran for practicing their faiths and Rouhani has not denounced the calls from other leaders in Iran who want Israel destroyed. Sadly Americans and Europeans do not understand the Farsi language programs broadcasted by Iran’s state-run media and do not see nor hear the real Rouhani. Throughout the recent “elections” in Iran Rouhani kept boasting in his news media interviews and during the candidate debates that he was the only one during the 1990’s as Iran’s nuclear negotiator who deceived the West and bought time for the nuclear program to get to this irreversible stage! Now people who may not believe me, can always buy a copy of Rouhani’s biography in Farsi (that has not been translated into English) online in which he point blank admits to deceiving the West in order to buy Iran more time for their nuclear program. Also the news media in the West also forgets that Rouhani was one of only a handful of presidential candidates hand-picked by Iran’s Supreme Leader to run for the presidency of Iran. So how moderate and how open to change can a man who has been approved by Iran’s most radical leader truly be? Lastly, let us not forget that Rouhani from the age of 18 was a protégé of and studied under Iran’s late dictator the Ayatollah Khomeini-- the brutal founder of Iran’s current radical Islamic regime. So anyone brought up with Khomeini’s idiotic radical fundamentalist Islamic ideologies can in no way be a moderate!
In the end it also very funny to me to sees how that regime prevents average Iranians and journalists from using social media sites like Twitter, while at the same time Rouhani and Iran’s leaders easily use Twitter to get their propaganda messages out to the world! The hypocrisy of the Iranian regime is truly amazing! Let us disregard this bogus Rosh Hashana tweet from Rouhani and all the other clowns in Iran’s regime who claim to “love” the Jews but are really faking it.
(Ileft to right; Iran's former president Mahmoud Ahmadenijad and Iran's current president Hassan Rouhani)