Representatives of the Jewish Community in Iran said Wednesday that Iranian Jews have never taken steps to emigrate because of the good living standards enjoyed by religious minorities in Iran and their common cultural roots.
In a communiqué published a day after news of 40 Iranian Jewish immigrants landing in Israel, Jewish community leaders Maurice Mo'atamad and Ciamak Morsathegh wrote that "the report that was published regarding the Iranian Jewish community by the foreign news agencies is an outright lie."
Jewish representative in the Iranian Parliament, Mo'atamed, and President of Tehran's Jewish community Mareh-Sadegh, continued: "The massive propaganda issued by the enemies of the Iranian people and the Jews of Iran has never influenced Jews because of our historical, cultural, and national roots in Iran.
"As we have previously declared, the childish attempts to tempt us and the spreading of lies by anti-Iranian Zionist-Imperialist elements can in no way harm the strong connection of Iranian Jews to the Iranian nation and the sacred government of the Islamic Republic."
Again emphasizing their loyalty to the regime, the leaders write, "We, the Jews of Iran, are Iranians, have always been Iranians, and will always be Iranians. We are ready to sacrifice everything for the sake of our homeland. In spite of foreign propaganda we shall continue to live in the land of our birth."
The Jewish community representatives blamed other countries for raising the immigration issue. "Any attempt on part of foreigners to meddle in Iranian Jewish internal affairs constitutes a part of the West's plan to attack the Iranian people and to fracture Iranian unity. The Jews of Iran, therefore, strongly condemn this completely unacceptable interference. The collective, peaceful life of Iranian Jews throughout history is a testament to the shared path of the Iranian nation and Iran's Jews."
Since the 1979 Iranian Revolution, the Jews of Iran have maintained an appearance of strict loyalty to the country's extremist Islamic regime and have supported its anti-Zionist policies out of necessity. The community now numbers around 25 thousand, concentrated in the country's largest cities: Tehran, Isfahan, and Shiraz. Jewish Iranians do enjoy religious freedom, but, like other minorities, receive little attention when it comes to financial aid and development assistance.