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Iran nuclear deal is supported by Jews in Iran

diplomacy-not-bombsflag-IranIran’s Jewish community gets behind nuclear deal with U.S.USA Today, 7 Aug 15 Reese Erlich, GlobalPost TEHRAN, Iran — Tapo, one of six kosher restaurants in Tehran, has become an informal hangout for the city’s small Jewish community. During a lunchtime rush last week customers ate savory kebabs while excitedly discussing the signing of the U.S.-Iran nuclear accord.

“There was lots of joy for us,” said Horiel, a Jewish customer who declined to give his last name. “It was not only the Jewish community that was happy. The nation was happy.”

Most Iranian Jews strongly disagree with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s denunciations of the accord. Horiel said his ancestors came from Jerusalem, “but I’m an Iranian Jew. Israel will get nothing with threats and war.”

Israeli leaders and conservative politicians in the U.S. have denounced the accords as too weak, saying they’ll allow Iran to eventually develop atomic weapons.

Iranians argue that they never built a nuclear bomb and have no intention of doing so. They broadly support the accord in hopes that the U.S. will lift economic sanctions and the economy will improve.

But the agreement also lessens international tensions, says Homayoun Sameyah Najafabadi, chair of the Tehran Jewish Committee, the country’s main Jewish organization. “There was the possibility of war,” he said. “With the deal signed, it will take war off the table and bring stability to the region.”

Najafabadi said that Israel’s opposition to the accord “has no impact on the Jewish community in Iran.”…….. Jewish leaders estimate there are between 12,000 and 30,000 Jews here today, making Iran’s the second-largest Jewish population in the Middle East after Israel.

But those who have chosen to stay in Iran have a long history of opposition to hawkish Israeli governments. Many consider themselves Jews but not Zionists.

The Islamic Republic of Iran allows freedom of worship for Jews and Christians, according to Siamak Morsedegh, the Jewish representative to Iran’s parliament. He points out that unlike some other countries in the region and in Europe, Jewish templesin Iran have not been attacked.

“There (is) no need for guards in front of our synagogues,” he said………..

GlobalPost Special Correspondent Reese Erlich received a grant from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting for his reporting from Iran. His latest book is “Inside Syria: The Back Story of Their Civil War and What the World Can Expect.”

This article originally appeared on GlobalPost. http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2015/08/07/globalpost-iran-jewish-community-nuclear-deal/31277653/

August 7, 2015 - Posted by | Iran, Israel, politics, politics international

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