Report: Persian Jews in Israel Say Iranians Are Negotiating to ‘Dupe’ the US
“We are the Persians, we know how to negotiate,” warned a Persian-Jewish Israeli man in an article published by the Washington Post on Friday.
“They sent their best negotiators to negotiate with the States and Europe,” said Avi Hanassab, a cook in Tel Aviv’s lively Levinsky Street market, where many Persian Jews set up shop selling spices, dried fruit, fish, cheeses and other items decades ago, after moving to Israel following the Iranian revolution of 1979. “The Persians are very smart.”
He said he feared the Iranians were trying to “dupe” the Americans in the ongoing negotiations over the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program, according to the report.
Some 140,000 Iranian Jews live in Israel today according to the official estimate by Israel’s Central Bureau for Statistics, but other reports have put the number as high as 200,000. In either case, the numbers far outdo Iran’s Jewish population, which some estimates have as low as 8,000 people today.
The chief concern among Persians Israelis in the Washington Post article was how the political and military fallout from a nuclear agreement with Iran would affect Israel.
“If they lift all the sanctions, the Iranian economy will bloom. Then the money will go to Gaza and to Hezbollah,” said Baruch Davidi, who also works in the Levinsky market area.
These sentiments largely echo Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other outspoken opponents of the Iranian deal, who have said they believe the nuclear deal will allow modern Iran to expand unprecedentedly throughout the region.
Most recently, Netanyahu warned that the nuclear deal with Iran that was outlined in brief following intense negotiations between Western powers and Iranian negotiators in Switzerland “might very well spark a nuclear arms race throughout the Middle East.”