This interview by Karmel Melamed with US Iranian Jewish leader Frank Nikbakht in the Jewish Journal of Los Angeles gives an insight into the current state of Iranian politics and how minorities are manipulated:
Q: From your knowledge, would Ahmadinejad or the supposed reformist Mir Hossein Mousavi be any different in their treatment of religious minorities such as Jews, Christians and Bahais living in Iran?
A: They don’t make a difference since both of these candidates have hardline histories in their fundamentalist loyalties to the discriminatory Islamic Republic of Iran constitution as well as documented anti-Israeli policies and military planning. Mousavi, for example was not only the initiator of the current nuclear program In Iran but he was among the leading officials as Prime Minister in the 1980s behind the creation of the Lebanese Hezbollah terrorist group and the deployment of thousands of Revolutionary Guards in Southern Lebanon and Baalbek area.
Q:You are an Iranian Jew who knows first hand about the regime in Iran and its treatment towards Jews/minorities. What is the biggest misconception Americans have about the elections and the candidates running for the presidency there?
A:The biggest misconception among Americans is that they think the official government in Iran is actually a real policy making entity; it is not. There is another parallel government in Iran which is headed by the Supreme Leader Khamenei, complete with several major departments, which is the real government and policy making entity and which does not hold elections either. The official government is in charge of implementing major policy decisions of the higher authority and also tasked with minor policy making and the day to day business of the country.
Q: If the reformists are able to regain the presidency fromAhmadinejad, how will they be using Iran’s Jews to advance their own propaganda machine and their image in the West?
A:The “reformers” were the ones who initiated the using of minorities for major foreign propaganda, but Ahmadinejad took this to a higher level and was behind the continuous efforts for bringing sympathetic or bought off journalists to Iran to report on the “ideal” conditions of the religious minorities in Iran. Ahmadinejad, forced the removal of the old and obedient Jewish leadership in Iran since they finally refused to accept his Holocaust denying statements. The “reformers” as some in the West like to call them, will certainly do the same and appoint Jewish “representatives” according to their needs.
Update: has Roger Cohen seen the light? (with thanks: Tom Gross)
From the New York Times:
"I’ve argued for engagement with Iran and I still believe in it,
although, in the name of the millions defrauded, President Obama’s
outreach must now await a decent interval.
"I’ve also argued that, although repressive, the Islamic Republic
offers significant margins of freedom by regional standards. I erred
in underestimating the brutality and cynicism of a regime that
understands the uses of ruthlessness."