Tag: Jews of Iran

After Elghanian’s execution, thousands of Jews fled Iran

If we fail to recall  the execution of  Iran’s most  affluent Jewish businessman and philanthropist Habib Elghanian on false spying charges 43 years ago on 9 May, we will fail to convince the world of the dangerous threat posed by Iran to Jewish people, Israel and the free world, writes Karmel Melamed in The Forward (With thanks: Edna):

A newspaper report on Habib Elghanian

In 1967, when the Islamic clerics of Tehran were in the middle of constructing their new and grand Hossieneh Ershad mosque in the heart of the city, their funds for the project dried up. They turned to individual Muslim business leaders and observant Islamic individuals for financial help to complete the grand mosque after work on it came to an abrupt halt. But none of the sources were able to provide the needed funds to restart work on the mosque.

So the clerics turned to a last option — Habib Elghanian, Iran’s most affluent businessman who was also the leader of Iran’s Jewish community, 80,000 strong at the time. Without blinking an eye, Elghanian donated 250,000 rials to the Ershad mosque completion project, and encouraged other Jewish businessmen in Tehran to donate as well.

And roughly 12 years later, those same Iranian clerics who Elghanian had helped thanked him by remaining silent as the radical Islamic thugs of the new Khomeini regime executed Elghanian on false charges of spying for America and Israel. On May 9, 1979, after a sham, 20-minute trial, Elghanian was executed with a bullet to the heart by Iran’s Islamic revolutionary thugs.

On May 9 of this year, the Iranian Jewish communities living in New York and Southern California will again be mourning the loss of Habib Elghanian, our leader. It is a tragedy whose wounds have still not healed, even after 41 years. In 1979, Iran’s Jews were not only emotionally devastated by Elghanian’z killing; they quickly discovered their lives were at risk under the Ayatollah Khomeini’s regime.

Many Iranian Jews living in America today agree that the primary reason the Iranian regime executed Elghanian which was to strike fear into the hearts of all Jews in Iran. After Elghanian’s execution, thousands of Jews fled Iran, and in subsequent years, every time the Iranian regime executed a Jew in Iran, thousands more Jews fled the country. These Jews either had their assets confiscated by the Khomeini regime or were forced to leave them behind in Iran and flee the country with very little in order to save their lives. By killing Elghanian and others like him, the Ayatollah regime thought it could get rid of their “Jewish problem” in Iran and make themselves wealthy at the same time. Their plan worked; in subsequent years since Elghanian’s killing, thousands of Jews have continued to flee Iran and today only 8,000 remain there.

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More about Habib Elghanian

Iranian newspaper praises Hitler as Israel remembers Shoah

As  Israel marked its national Holocaust Remembrance Day, a major Iranian paper newspaper published an opinion piece including antisemitic tropes and overt praise of Adolf Hitler. Jews were known for their stubborness, objections and excuses, it said. The Times of Israel reports:

On Friday, the Islamic Republic of Iran will mark Quds Day, a day of solidarity with the Palestinian cause initiated by Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini in 1979 – the year of the Islamic Revolution. The national holiday is characterized by anti-Israel speeches and events and threats to “liberate” Jerusalem from Israeli control.

Corresponding with this year’s Holocaust Remembrance Day marked in Israel, the state-run ultraconservative Iranian daily newspaper Kayhan ran a front-page opinion piece that openly praised Nazi leader Hitler.





Iran’s loss of entrepreneurial Jews is America’s gain

The death of Iranian-Jewish entrepreneur Younes Nazarian prompts Karmel Melamed to ponder what Iran would have become had it not suffered a massive post-revolution brain drain. He blogs in the Times of Israel:

Younes Nazarian z’l (Photo: USC)

The U.S. Jewish community and Israel lost a great friend with the death of successful Iranian Jewish businessman and philanthropist Younes Nazarian who passed away on March 18th. Nazarian not only gave millions of dollars to countless Jewish and Israel related causes through his family’s foundation, but many Southern California universities and non-Jewish organizations also received donations from his family foundation. His early investment in what later became the telecommunications giant Qualcomm, not only hired thousands of individuals but the company’s new technology forever improved communications worldwide.

And yet Nazarian was the not the only Iranian Jew to achieve remarkable success in his business and career after fleeing Iran following the country’s 1979 Islamic revolution. There were indeed thousands more Iranian Jews who immigrated to the U.S. and Israel, and eventually making both nations blossom with their contributions.

Today many Iranian American Jews look back on the life of Nazarian and the remaining older Iranian Jews from his generation and often wonder how they or their families could have potentially helped transform Iran and the Middle East for the better had there never been an Islamic revolution and a totalitarian antisemitic Khomeini regime that forced thousands of them to flee Iran?

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Iranian preacher promotes bizarre conspiracy theory

Jews are lowly dhimmis yet betray their Iranian protectors by showing their loyalty to Israel – a curious mix of wretchedness and malign power. MEMRI has picked up the latest conspiracy theory trafficked by Iranian preacher Ali-Saleh Mousavi-Azam. (With thanks: Lily)

Iranian preacher Ali-Saleh Mousavi-Azam said in a Friday, February 4, 2022 sermon in the city of Yasuj, Iran that aired on Dena TV (Iran) that the Jews that live as dhimmis in Shiraz live in safety, yet still conspire and show animosity.

He said that his intention is to “awaken” his audience’s “sense of religious zeal” regarding the “atrocities” of the Jews and the Zionists.

In addition, Mousavi-Azam said that he heard from his mentor that some Jews in Iran would use kerosene lamps instead of electricity so that they could send the money they saved to Israel.

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Don’t believe Iranian rabbi’s ‘hechsher’ for Ayatollahs

Although some journalists have refused to do so, parts of  the press  have reported uncritically the words of  Rabbi Gerami, who still lives in Iran and during a visit to the US  gives a kosher stamp or ‘hechsher’ to the treatment of Jews under the Ayatollahs. Karmel Melamed sets the record straight in JNS News:

Morning service in a Tehran synagogue

As an Iranian Jewish journalist who has been covering Iranian Jewry for more than two decades, I feel compelled to set the record straight about the dire situation Jews in Iran face today by sharing the simple facts that debunk Gerami’s false claims of a “thriving” Jewish community in Iran and expose his fraudulent hechsher for the Ayatollah regime.

In Ami’s story about the “thriving” Jewish community in Iran, Gerami fires off various religious activities and “religious freedoms” that the Jews of Iran are able to participate in as examples of the supposed “great life” they have there. Yet its editors failed to ask him about the countless anti-Semitic incidents that have been unleashed against Iran’s Jews by the regime’s thugs in recent years and were also never investigated by the regime’s authorities. The following is just a short list of these incidents in recent years:

  • In May 2020, the synagogue next to the tomb of Esther and Mordechai in the Iranian city of Hamedan was firebombed by unknown assailants. While there was no damage done to the tombs, the synagogue did receive extensive smoke damage, and the regime’s authorities never investigated the case or arrested anyone in connection with it.
  • In February 2019, three antique Torah scrolls were stolen in broad daylight from the 125-year-old Ezra Yagoub synagogue in Tehran’s Jewish ghetto. The Iranian regime never investigated the crime or arrested anyone in connection with it.
  • In December 2017, two synagogues in the southwestern Iranian city of Shiraz were vandalized by unknown assailants; the Iranian regime never investigated that crime or arrested anyone in connection with it.
  • In late 2017, an Iranian Jewish man was imprisoned by authorities after returning to Iran following his visit to his elderly parents in Israel. In late December 2020, he was subsequently released from prison due to his failing health. By law, the Iranian regime prohibits all of its citizens from traveling to Israel, and punishment for violation of this law is prolonged imprisonment.
  • In November 2012, Toobah Nehdaran, a 57-year-old married Jewish woman, was strangled and then repeatedly stabbed to death. Her body was mutilated in a ritual manner by thugs who had broken into her home located inside the Jewish ghetto within the Iranian city of Isfahan. Nehdaran’s gruesome murder was also never investigated by Iranian authorities and suspects were never arrested in connection with her murder.

Indeed, the list of anti-Semitic attacks Jews in Iran have encountered since 1979 is much longer than just these few incidents. Again, it’s shameful how Ami Magazine’s editors conveniently left out these horrific anti-Semitic incidents in their story with Gerami. Moreover, they failed to disclose the fact that Jews in Iran, including Gerami, are forced to praise the Iranian regime’s leadership to the Western media because if they don’t, their lives are at risk.

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VOA article 



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