Photos from the unveiling of the monument to the fallen Jews of the Iraq-Iran war (IRNA)
Why did Iran this week unveil a monument to Jewish soldiers killed in the
Iran-Iraq War, which lasted from 1980 to 1988 and saw both countries
suffer millions of casualties and billions of dollars in damage? Numbers of dead Jewish soldiers are estimated at 150, a drop in the ocean. The regime has two objectives: to show that it is moderate and reasonable - that the US can do business with Iran in its nuclear talks; and to emphasise the Jews' unswerving loyalty to their country. Haaretz/AP reports:
Jewish community leaders and a number of Iranian religious officials
took part in the ceremony on Monday, according to Maariv's website, NRG.
Photographs from the ceremony
were published on the websites of Iranian news agencies IRNA and
Tasnim, showing banners featuring images of the fallen Jewish troops,
called "martyrs," and wreaths placed alongside the monument, which
includes a Hebrew inscription reading "Peace forever."
Other images show religious figures laying wreaths at the soldiers' graves and attendees of the ceremony praying together.
The vice speaker of Iran's parliament attended the ceremony, where he
praised the Jewish community for supporting the government.
“The explicit stances of the Jewish community in supporting the Islamic
Republic’s establishment and their obedience to the Supreme Leader of
the [Islamic] Revolution demonstrate the bonds originating from the
teachings of the divine religions,” Mohammad Hassan Aboutorabi-Fard said
on Monday, according to Tasnim news agency.
He also praised the Jewish community for denouncing U.S. demands on
Iran and the "violent and inhumane" behavior of Prime Minister Benjamin
Iran, a home for Jews for more than 3,000 years, has the Middle East’s
largest Jewish population outside of Israel. ( But while Iran’s Jews in
recent years had their faith continually criticized by the country’s
previous governments, they’ve found new acceptance under moderate
President Hassan Rouhani.
“The government has listened to our grievances and requests. That we
are being consulted is an important step forward,” said Homayoun Samiah,
leader of the Tehran Jewish Association. “Under former President
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, nobody was listening to us. Our requests fell on
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Fighting for Iraq in the Iran-Iraq war