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Tehran Jewish leader asks Obama to reconcile with Iran

JTA

October 14, 2013 | 9:22 am

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani at U.N. headquarters in New York on Sept. 26. Photo by Mike Segar/Reuters

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani at U.N. headquarters in New York on Sept. 26. Photo by Mike Segar/Reuters

The head of the Jewish community of Tehran called on President Obama to reconcile U.S. relations with Iran while the Islamic Republic is ruled by a moderate president.

Homayoun Sameyah Najaf Abady sent the open letter to Obama and a copy to the French news agency AFP, which reported on its contents on Monday.

“If the US and the international community do not make the best of this golden and perhaps unrepeatable opportunity, then it will be in the benefit of those who are against the normalization of ties between Iran and the U.S.,” he wrote.

Abady also referred to the freedom enjoyed by the Jewish community in Iran.

“We, the Iranian Jews, as an Iranian religious minority, participated in the elections and elected our popular president freely,” he wrote.

The Iranian Jewish leader mocked a recent statement by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu criticizing what he said was a lack of freedom in Iran, writing that the Jewish community has freedom of choice in “wearing jeans and listening to music,” according to AFP.

The Iranian Jewish community in the United States declined an official invitation to meet with newly elected Iranian President Hassan Rouhani during his visit to New York to attend the opening of the new session of the United Nations General Assembly.

Rouhani is considered much more moderate than his predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and has promised greater transparency in Iran’s nuclear program.

Iran is scheduled to meet with the United States and five other world powers beginning on Tuesday in Geneva to discuss its nuclear program.

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