US Iranian Jews: ‘we blame ourselves’

In the aftermath of the signing of the nuclear deal with Iran,  Iranian Jews in US blame themselves for not being more vocal about the dangerous politics and goals of the regime, for fear of reprisals against the 10, 000 Jews still in Iran. Karmel Melamed reports in the Jewish Journal:

Detail from the Mullah Jacobs synagogue, Isfahan

Not all Iranian Americans opposed the negotiations at their start,
according to Sam Yebri, an attorney and co-founder of 30 Years After, an
organization created to engage a younger generation of Jewish Iranian
Americans. “Most Iranian Americans welcomed these negotiations at the
outset as providing a glimmer of hope that Iran was willing to change
its ways as the West was prepared to use its leverage as robustly as
possible. Those of us who understand or lived under the Islamic Republic
of Iran, we sensed an opportunity, an opening for change,” he said.
Yet, “This deal closed the door on any opportunity to transform Iran for
the better.”

Yebri added, “The only beneficiaries of this deal will be Iran and its
allies Hezbollah and [Syrian President Bashar] Assad and the Russians.”

Many Iranian-Jewish leaders in Los Angeles have long been hesitant to
criticize the current Iranian regime for fear of reprisals by the
Iranian regime against the nearly 10,000 Jews still living in Iran.
Nevertheless, some activists in the local Iranian Jewish community have
been very vocal in their efforts to educate Americans about the
dangerous nature of the Iranian regime. Some of those expressed concern
that the community had not advocated strongly enough against any deal
with the Iranians.

“I, for one, blame us, as the Persian-Jewish community, for not being
more vocal about these issues of Iran,” Simon Etehad, an Iranian-Jewish
attorney and L.A.-area activist, said Tuesday. “We know the politics and
goals of the Iranian regime, yet we put our heads in the sand and
pretend that everything is fine and dandy — well, it is far from that.”

Frank Nikbakht, a leader of the L.A.-based Committee for Minority
Rights in Iran, said the current Iran nuclear deal will embolden the
Iranian regime through newfound economic relief in the lifting of
sanctions, despite the regime’s heinous human-rights record against the
people of Iran.

“Internally, with all the inequalities and atrocities remaining in
place, this agreement enhances the regime’s legitimacy, wealth and
dictatorial power over a people who will have to deal with an imminent
inflationary economy, a higher degree of ruling-class arrogance and a
financial corruption surpassing even today’s incredible levels,”
Nikbakht said.

David Nahai, an Iranian-American Jewish community member and former
L.A. Department of Water and Power chief, said, “If there ever was a
deal in history that required robust scrutiny because of the
unimaginable consequences of getting things wrong, it is this one. For
that reason, I commend the president for seeking congressional approval
of this deal … because we can be looking at 100 pages of snakes in the
grass here, and we owe it to posterity to have a thorough examination of
all the repercussions that are being proposed.

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