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February 3, 2016 2:36 pm

UK Jewish Leader Calls Invitation of Iranian FM to Address London Event an ‘Insult to British Values’

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Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. He is expected to talk at an event in London on Thursday night. Photo: Wikipedia.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who was invited to address an event in London on Thursday night. Photo: Wikipedia.

The head of a major Jewish organization in the United Kingdom condemned a decision by a London-based think tank to invite Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif to speak at an event on Thursday, The Jewish Chronicle reported.

Jonathan Arkush, president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, said giving Zarif the opportunity to speak at Chatam House, which is hosting Thursday’s event, is “nothing less than an insult to British values.”

He pointed out that Zarif publicly supports the “Iranian-funded” terrorist organization Hezbollah, and that he “represents a regime which has been complicit in massive violations of human rights beyond its borders, including in Syria, where it supports the Houthis, whose flag proclaims ‘Death to the Jews.’”

“His is a government which sponsored a Holocaust cartoon competition, condemned around the world and notably by UNESCO,” Arkush continued. “Zarif is the representative of a vile regime and a pariah terrorist state. His presence at Chatham House is an affront to anyone with a belief in peace and justice.”

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A spokesperson for Chatham House said the think tank had not received any complaints regarding the event or Zarif’s presence there, according to The Jewish Chronicle. Responding to Arkush’s statement, the spokesperson said, “As with all such events at Chatham House, policy-makers, academics, journalists and others will have an opportunity to question and challenge the speaker to enable the Institute to facilitate a range of views.”

According to Chatam House’s website, Zarif is set to address key issues about the Middle East, including the rise of ISIS and the conflicts in Syria, Iraq and Yemen. The hour-long event is titled, “Overcoming Regional Challenges in the Middle East: An Iranian Perspective.”

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