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February 6, 2014 11:08 am
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Report: Iran’s Rouhani Donates $400,000 to Tehran Jewish Hospital

avatar by Joshua Levitt

President Hassan Rouhani. Photo: Iranian government.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has reportedly donated $400,000 to Tehran’s Jewish hospital, according to Thomas Erdbrink, The New York Times‘s correspondent in Tehran.

In a tweet, Erdbrink sourced the news to the semi-official Iranian state news agency Mehr, but no further information was available. Erdbrink said the hospital serves Jews and non-Jews.

Tehran claims that the 25,000 to 35,000 Persian Jews living in the Islamic Republic enjoy full rights, with Iran’s Jewish community officially recognized as a religious minority group by the government, and, like the Zoroastrians, allocated one seat in the Iranian Parliament.

However, in 2007, Ramin Farahani, an Iranian filmmaker who created a documentary about Jews in Iran, told Israel’s Yediot Ahronot that the way Iran treats its Jews “is very complicated to say, because it has both positive and negative sides.”

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“In the legal system there are still some differences between non-Muslims and Muslims. I think the whole issue needs to be revised by those who have the knowledge and power,” he said.

Since the Iranian revolution, in 1979, thirteen Jews have been executed in Iran, mostly for ties to Israel. In November 2012, Israel Radio reported that a “Jewish woman in Isfahan, Iran, was murdered and cut in half by Muslim extremists who wanted to take over her home.” Iranian officials have also routinely denied and belittled the Holocaust.

In 2006, the BBC reported that Rouhani’s predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, also donated money to the Jewish hospital.

“Despite the offence Mahmoud Ahmedinejad has caused to Jews around the world, his office recently donated money for Tehran’s Jewish hospital,” the BBC said at the time.

The BBC also said that most of the patients and staff at the hospital are Muslim these days, but director Ciamak Morsathegh is Jewish.

Siamak Moreh Sedgh is the current Jewish member of the parliament and Chief Rabbi Yousef Hamadani Cohen is the spiritual leader for the Jewish community of Iran.

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