The Jews in Iran, and Iran’s Rank in the World
The New York Times / Letters
24-Mar-2009 (15 comments)

 I question Roger Cohen’s reference to Iran as “the Middle East’s least undemocratic state outside Israel.” Elections in Iran and the candidates for elections are determined by one man: Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the supreme authority in Iran

recommended by Fred


Nader Vanaki

Conscripts vs Ranking

by Nader Vanaki on

Dear, The Right to Be Ridiculose is Something I Hold Dear

We always had sarbazeh vazifeh or conscripts.  So serving two years of military service is for everyone.  You are claiming your father and grandfather are ranking members which I dispute.  The jews could not become fulltime military ranking members that is professional soldier like the late General Rahimi or General Jahanbani.  Your grandfather and father's name would be among millions of sarbazeh vazifeh who have served.

I hope I made my point clear to you.  The Right to Be a Slightly Gondeh Gooz is obviously something you hold dear.

Shabbat Shalom 


Dear Mr. Vanaki

by The Right to Be Ridiculose is Something I Hold Dear (not verified) on

I apologize but you have no idea what you are talking about. Please see Wiki link below. Jews are conscripted in today's Iranian Army. Jews even fought in the Iran/Iraq war. See below. Are you convinced now?

Again, My grandfather served in the Iranian Army in WWII and my uncle served in the Army as well.


Conditions (see second paragraph)

Jews are conscripted into the Army like all Iranian citizens. Many Iranian Jews fought during the Iran-Iraq war (1980-1988) as drafted soldiers. About 15 were killed. [55] It has been reported that Jews in Iran are proud of their heritage. Thus, they have not settled in Israel despite being encouraged by some groups. [56]

Nader Vanaki

Don't Lie Just to Get Your Lame Opinion Substantiated

by Nader Vanaki on

Dear  The Right to Be Ridiculose is Something I Hold Dear,

You are lying since even during Shah's time non-muslims were not promoted to ranks in the military.  It was the general rule since they had to swear by the Quran and could not swear by their holy book.  That was the rules of the military.

If you are right name a few.  I am sure you will be silent as you should be.  Try working on your spelling next time.

Shalom and Peace!



by Mehrnaz (not verified) on

If someone is persecuted and wants to leave for those reasons they would leave if they get a chance without lucrative offers of help or guarantees of "lifestyle" equivalence to what they enjoyed at home'!!! So you are actually admitting that Iranian Jews mostly enjoy a very good lifestyle! Most migrants are not lined up with jobs, homes, and equivalent of $400,000 lifestyle; they are not even offered your 'meagre' $10,000! When people decide to migrate for something better, they migrate. So according to your own argument, those Jews who stayed despite the incentives, felt that they are better off in Iran, despite the shortcomings in civil liberties and democracy, and oh yes, 'persecution'! Many who HAVE left, have not left because of persecution directed at Jews but have left for the same reasons as others, political, economic, educational and family ties.


Vanaki keep up with the discussion, and don't get side tracked.

by Yek-Irani (not verified) on

This discussion has nothing to do with Israel. It is about how Islamic Republic of Iran behaves toward Iranian Jews and their educational, cultural, and health organizations.

I know Iranian Jews have lived in Iran for thousands of years. Since the Jews were liberated by the Cyrus the great and were allowed to rebuild their temple in Jerusalem. But, this discussion is about the last thirty years.


Great link

by tsion on

Thanks Fred.



Dear Vanaki, Please don't be Ignorant Sir

by The Right to Be Ridiculose is Something I Hold Dear (not verified) on

You State:

"I never remembered one single member of the government or military during Shah's reign to be Jewish. They all live their professional lives in trades, science, arts, and literature ridiculous"

I am Jewish and my uncle served in the Shah's Army and my grandfather served in Reza Shah's army during WWII. What the heck are you talking about? There were even Iranian Jewish air force pilots in the Shah's army.

Generalizing makes you look ignorant.

Nader Vanaki

Our Beloved Kalimis

by Nader Vanaki on

Why should Iranian Jews support Israel?  To them their country is Iran and they have lived there for thousands of years.  Now, the ones living in LA want everyone to think that all Jews in Iran are under presecution.  Some simpletons think that they are barred from the government and military because they are Jewish.  I never remembered one single member of the government or military during Shah's reign to be Jewish.  They all live their professional lives in trades, science, arts, and literature.  And yes the offer of $30,000 to emigrate to Israel was a failure and everyone knows that.

Yek-Irani and Farhad Kashani need to separate being a Jew and an Israeli.  They are not equivalent at least not in the case of our own beloved Kalimis.  Quit subscribing to simple minded propaganda and face the facts that maybe Iranian Jews want nothing to do with Israel specially in this day and age.

Farhad Kashani

Fred, thanks for posting

by Farhad Kashani on

Fred, thanks for posting this. Happy Nowrooz aziz and keep up the good work.

In a country that Jews don't even have the freedom to say one word in favor of Israel (even if they are wrong!), this Islamists-apologist and enabler Roger Cohen is saying that Jews enjoy all rights!! The audacity is remarkable!!





Both side are correct; but they use different reference.

by Yek-Irani (not verified) on

I think, disconnect between Roger Cohen and some Iranian Jews in LA that immigrated to US along many more Muslims after the revolution is lack of common reference.

The Jews in LA compare the current state of Jewish affairs and their organizations in Iran with that of pre-revolution. Naturally their conclusion is that the situation is much worst. The Jews are much more restricted and barred from the government and Military positions. Their educational and medical organizations, which are mostly supported by the local Jewish charities, are much less Jewish, and are managed by none-Jews and do not follow Jewish calendar and holidays.

Roger Cohen compares the current state of Jewish affairs and their organizations in Iran with that of Nazi Germany. Naturally his conclusion is that things are not that bad.

Of course, the Bahai’s were out of the scope of his report. Otherwise, he may have had different conclusions.


oosatd: No wonder they

by sickofiri (not verified) on

oosatd: No wonder they didn't accept it. $10,000 is ridiculous. It takes a lot more money to immigrate, at least more than $400,000 to have the same life style. And what kind of jobs were they offering them? How would they survive when the money ran out???

You're not exactly the brightest tool in the shed are you?


Oosatad of whatever: I just

by sickofiri (not verified) on

Oosatad of whatever: I just lifted that paragraph from the article and pasted it.

Read the article, and do the legwork yourself. I'm not about to spoonfeed you. What kind of Oostad are you?

I'm not going to sink to your level and call you an Islamofascist.


Sickofwhatever, can you provide a link...

by Ostaad on

to the State Dept. report mentioned here. Why are you regurgitating a Zionist hack to bad mouth another Jew?!!! Did you think Rafael Mddoff is an authority figure?!!! Did the "report" also mentioned only four families migrated to Israel after $10,000 was paid to each?!!! If the "some" Iranian Jews "continue to emigrate, and there is money on the table to entice them to do so, then why do many Iranian Jewish families prefer to stay?

In short I am not denying the fact the current Iranian government is undemocrtaic, downright despotic and anti-Semitic, what I am strongly disagreeing with is putting the Iranian people in the same categories. The Iranian government is an equl-opportunity oppressor and, unlike the Israeli government, has never claimed it adheres to democratic norms.


"Roger Cohen says that the

by sickofislamists (not verified) on

"Roger Cohen says that the “rage” in response to his claim that Iran’s Jews are safe and secure erupted because “the hawks’ case against Iran depends on a vision of an apocalyptic regime” that is “frenziedly anti-Semitic.” He says that “the presence of these Jews” in Iran “undermines that vision.”

The status of the Jews in Iran should be evaluated based on the facts, regardless of hawks’ or doves’ political positions regarding United States policy toward Iran.

The State Department — which does not embrace the hawks’ position on Iran — in its “International Religious Freedom Report 2008” found that Iran’s Jews live in a “threatening atmosphere” and that religious minorities suffer “officially sanctioned discrimination, particularly in the areas of employment, education, and housing.” The government “limited the distribution of Hebrew texts, particularly nonreligious texts, making it difficult to teach the language.”

Is the Iranian regime “frenziedly anti-Semitic,” as Mr. Cohen puts it? According to the State Department, “There was a rise in officially sanctioned anti-Semitic propaganda involving official statements, media outlets, publications and books.”

Among other examples, the report noted the publication in the Iranian press of “anti-Semitic editorial cartoons depicting demonic and stereotypical images of Jews” and an Iranian television broadcast of a documentary describing “the Jewish plan for genocide of humanity.”

Three-quarters of Iran’s Jews have emigrated in the 30 years since the Islamic Revolution of 1979, and the State Department report noted that some Iranian Jews are continuing to emigrate, “partially due to continued anti-Semitism by the government and within society.”

Rafael Medoff
Washington, March 16, 2009

The writer is director of the David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies.

thank you for posting this Fred.


Who Cares

by Yek-Irani (not verified) on

Why is it all about Jews?