I want to visit Iran – opinion

My father was born in Iran in the 1930s. Although he left Iran in his late teens and, through the miracle of aliyah, moved to Israel with his many siblings, Iran never left him. It was a deep part of their culture, their tastes, their identity.

He always had Iranian music in his room. He loved Iranian food (and even I admit it is the best tasting cuisine in the world). He followed the news in Iran with a blatant addiction. And his dream was to see his beloved Iran again before he died.

He realized that dream once, about 10 years ago, when he traveled to his hometown of Isfahan to help inaugurate the construction of a synagogue that he had supported. He wanted to go back when the synagogue was completed.

But being very concerned for his safety, I begged him not to even consider it. At that time he was old and frail and the journey, in any case, became impossible. When he died in May 2020, I was very sorry that he could not fulfill his dream, both for his health and especially for the brutality of the most evil regime in the world.

Now it’s my turn.

The Iranian flag flies in front of the UN office building, which houses the IAEA headquarters, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, in Vienna, Austria, on May 24, 2021 (credit: LISI NIESNER / REUTERS).

Having heard countless stories about my father’s childhood in Iran, something I spoke about in my eulogy for him on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem, I want to see the places where he grew up and the influences that shaped his life. I especially want to see the finished synagogue that he helped build.

Obviously, these are all impossible dreams. Any visit to Iran would be a one-way trip. This is true for almost any American and especially for an American Jew. But it is especially true for me, who has waged a public battle against the murderous mullahs of the Khamenei regime for many years, including a constant stream of full-page advertisements in The New York Times calling the world’s attention to the brutality of the regime. and his genocidal plans against the Jewish people. Former Vice President Mike Pence said it best in Warsaw in February 2019 at a conference I attended where he was emphatic: Iran plans a second holocaust.

In fact, it was on Cory Booker’s pro-Iran vote and his support for Obama’s Iran nuclear deal that gave the terrorist regime $ 150 billion that they could use to kill people around the world, leading to a hard-hitting public battle with someone who was so wrong. close to me as a brother, and whom I have known since he was my student president at Oxford University beginning in 1992.

Since that vote that legitimized Iran’s nuclear capability, Cory’s political career has gone in an entirely different direction, losing national support amid perceptions of insincerity, and has deeply eroded the close ties I built between him and the US. American Jewish community.

But hating the Iranian regime does not mean hating the Iranian people. Increasingly we see the deep disgust of the Iranian people with their criminal regime. And if they once rose up against the shah, the mullahs know they can rise up against them again.

So is it possible that I can see the land my ancestors inhabited for 2000 years, since the destruction of the First Temple and the forced expulsion of the Jews to the east? Could I finally see the imperial grandeur of the ancient Persian capital of Isfahan, where my father was born and which is listed by UNESCO as one of the most beautiful cities in the world? Can I visit the graves of my ancestors who are buried there?

Could I finally see the snow-capped mountains that surround the modern capital, Tehran, and the building that was once the United States Embassy where our staff were taken hostage in November 1979, the month I had my bar mitzvah? ?

Could I finally get to eat fresh (and of course kosher!) Ghormeh sabzi in Iran instead of having to settle for even delicious but not authentic American copies?

Most of all, could you pray in the synagogue my father helped build in the city of his birth?

Or will the tight grip of Khamenei and his henchmen continue, with their vile acts of stoning women and hanging homosexuals from cranes, all while the Biden administration negotiates a possible second nuclear deal with Iran that will once again legitimize, even indirectly , his desire to annihilate Israel and fulfill his demonic plans for the Jewish people?

In the last years of his life, Elie Wiesel ran a series of full-page ads in The New York Times with me and on the World Values ​​Network that warned the world about the dangers of the Iran nuclear deal. I accompanied Wiesel and his wife Marion to Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech at a joint session of Congress in March 2015, where Wiesel was the only person in the audience appointed by the prime minister.

The reason, of course, was that the world’s leading genocide witness had special credibility in alerting the rest of the world to another possible genocide. Just over a year later, Wiesel passed away and his witness was handed over to his son Eliseo. Last month, at a ceremony honoring his father at the Washington National Cathedral, Elisha delivered a powerful speech equating hatred of Israel with anti-Semitism.

OTHERS, HOWEVER, prefer to turn the other cheek to Iran’s promises to annihilate the Jews, dismissing them as empty saber rattling, even as Iran blew up the Jewish Community Center in Argentina, funds the killer rockets from Hezbollah and Hamas, and continues to murder people around the world.

I’m not saying there’s anything Joe Biden and Secretary of State Anthony Blinken can do to change Iran so much that it makes it safe for me, or any American, to visit Iran anytime soon. No, Khamenei is a would-be Hitler, and as long as he and his henchmen remain in power, there is no hope of regime change.

But Biden can continue to fuel unrest in Iran by refusing to remove any of the sanctions that have been won by a government that uses its revenues for assassination. A deal with Iran is a deal with the devil.

It is amazing that President Obama, a genius in so many areas, has been duped by Iran. Did you really believe that giving Iran hegemony in the Middle East would change its insane ways? And now you know that your Iran deal would be a stain on your legacy, as well as the legacy of those like Cory who supported you, that it will never be erased?

So far, Biden appears to be treading cautiously with Iran, as if he understands how dishonest and unreliable these terrorists are. However, he also seems to need this deal as part of his foreign policy legacy.

It must be remembered that the millions who are part of the American-Iranian diaspora who came to the United States in search of freedom know this regime, know its brutality, know its barbarism, and therefore have strongly opposed each and every one of them. agreements with terrorists.

For now my visit to Iran will have to wait.

The writer, “America’s Rabbi,” just published Kosher Hate: How to Combat Anti-Semitism, Racism, and Bigotry. Follow him on Instagram @RabbiShmuley.


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