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Iranian American Jewish Federation Censures Letter By Israeli MPs

Tuesday, 05/02/2023

A US Jewish federation has slammed a letter by Israeli MPs to advocate for the separation of Iran’s Azarbaijan region, as most of the signatories rescinded their signatures.

In a joint open letter to Israeli foreign Minister Eli Cohen on Sunday, the Iranian American Jewish Federation of New York and Los Angeles called the letter signed by 32 members of the parliament (Knesset) “ill-advised”.

They have underlined that the authors of the letter are clearly misguided in thinking that such advocacy “will deliver a hard blow” to the regime in Tehran, which has been putting pressure on Azerbaijan since its opening of an embassy in Israel in March. 

“This could further destabilize the region, create additional threats to Israel, and damage the current security structure to an irreversible and irreparable degree,” warned the federation, which claimed to support Iran’s territorial integrity.

The parliamentarians’ letter is further advocacy to deal a blow to Tehran and show support to its ally Azerbaijan but such meddling in the country’s foreign affairs has not been welcomed by Iranian Jews in the US. 

The letter claims: “Any attempt, by any entity, foreign or domestic, to sever portions of the country will compel the Iranian people to rally around the flag. Any such entity will be considered an enemy of the Iranian nation, not just its government.”

In another part of the letter, it has been noted that although Iran has several ethnic regions, each with its own small separatist movement, any attempt towards the country’s fragmentation could result in the creation of radical and hostile states.

The US group asserted that the misplaced concern is not a matter for comment from the state of Israel, urging Cohen to publicly announce his stance on the matter.

Later on Tuesday, Israeli Intelligence Minister Gila Gamliel tweeted in Hebrew and Persian that she had “convinced most of the Israeli parliamentarians to rescind their signature from the letter.”

“Fighting against a religious extremist regime is the common desire of many nations, and we must always continue this way," Gamliel said, sharing a document with signatures of about 20 lawmakers who said they “express their disapproval of the establishment of a state in part of the territory of Iran for the Azeri minority.”

Earlier, Prince Reza Pahlavi and diaspora political group Solidarity for a Free Iran also slammed the letter.

The diaspora political group (7th Aban Front in Persian) said the Knesset members’ letter regarding “the Azeri minority” in Iran is “a clear case of action against Iran's existence”. “Solidarity for a Free Iran considers this letter a hostile act against the Iranian nation and strongly condemns it,” the statement said, adding that “the letter of these Knesset members is in sheer contradiction with the statements made by Israeli government officials regarding friendship between the two nations of Iran and Israel during the recent visit of Prince Reza Pahlavi,” Solidarity for Free Iran said.

“The verbal assault on Iran’s territorial integrity by 32 members of the Israeli parliament is completely unacceptable and a service to the interests of the anti-Iranian Islamic Republic regime,” Pahlavi said.

Following Cohen's recent state visit to Azerbaijan, the Knesset members asked the Israeli government to “pressure Iran to stop oppressing the Azeri minority in northwest Iran” and called for separation of what they called South Azerbaijan from Iran.

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