Iranian ex-pats living in Israel have evaluated claims suggesting that the Islamic republic’s newly inaugurated president Hassan Rouhani will moderate Iran’s foreign and domestic policies. “Deeply skeptical” is how the Jerusalem Post described their reactions:
Salome Worch was born in Iran, grew up and spent most of her adult life there. The daughter of a Jewish mother and a Muslim father, she was registered as a Muslim in Iran’s records. Gradually, she grew more interested in her Jewish heritage, and in 2005 eventually immigrated to Israel, where she works in catering. “Don’t use my maiden name because my brother is still in Iran and I wouldn’t want to put him in any danger,” she warned…
Worch says she is deeply skeptical that the election of new Iranian President Hassan Rouhani heralds any change in Iran’s policies. “I wouldn’t trust him — he’s just another Mullah,” she said, referring to the Iranian clerics who are in charge of Iran’s policies. “I wouldn’t trust him at all.”…
Many of the Iranian Jews in Israel are deeply skeptical of their governments. Panteh, a young mother and yoga teacher who asked me not to use her last name out of fear of the Iranian government, grew up in Los Angeles, where the second-largest community of Iranian Jews after Israel is located. She says she believes that despite official denials, Iran is continuing to pursue a nuclear weapon.
Analysts have echoed Worch’s evaluations, emphasizing that Rouhani is a consummate regime insider who spent decades at the top tier of Iran’s security establishment.
The evaluations are in tension with a recent report published by the Washington Post, which aimed to convey the conditions of Iranian Jewry and suggested – per Washington Post blogger Max Fisher – that they were “mostly doing fine” and “disagree with [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu.”
The recent report was not the first time that the mainstream media has conveyed rosy sentiments from Iranian Jews.
A 2009 column by Roger Cohen proceeded along much the same lines, and was ridiculed for taking at face value pro-regime comments from members of a persecuted and demonized religious minority that has been routinely subject to arbitrary arrests and executions.
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