Karmel Melamed
Iranian American Journalist and Commentator

Iran’s War Against the Jews Began in May 1979

Iran's Jewish community leader Habib Elghanian executed by Islamic regime in Iran on May 9, 1979 on false charges of spying for Israel and America.
Habib Elghanian, Iran's Jewish community leader executed by Islamic regime in May 1979 on false charges of spying for US and Israel.

Today marks the 41st anniversary of Iran’s Ayatollah regime wrongly executing the country’s Jewish community leader Habib Elghanian. He was the voice and symbol of Iran’s once vibrant 80,000 strong Jewish population. His execution by the regime of the Ayatollah Khomeini on trumped up charges of spying for Israel and America, sent shock waves through Iran’s tight-knit Jewish community. It prompted scores of Iran’s Jews to immediately sell off or abandon their assets altogether in order to flee the country out fear for their safety. But the execution of Elghanian was not an exception, but the beginning of the Ayatollah regime’s war against the Jews. Since 1979, this radical Islamic regime in Iran has executed or killed nearly two dozen Jews, arrested and tortured thousands more and confiscated billions of dollars’ worth of assets from the Jews.

Today apologists and lobbyists in America for Iran’s current radical Islamic regime claim that Elghanian’s killing was an exception and that the Jews of Iran live in peace and security. These claims are 100% false and pure Ayatollah regime propaganda! In reality, the Jews of Iran live as third class citizens in Iran and the regime’s radical Sharia laws convey inferior status to Jews and other religious minorities as well as inequality under the law. Likewise the Ayatollah regime in Iran has executed or killed nearly two dozen Jews. The following is a short list put together by Iranian Jewish activist Frank Nikbakht, who heads the Los Angeles-based “Committee for Minority Rights in Iran”:

  • Habib Elghanian; head of the Jewish community in Iran and industrialist falsely charged with spying for Israel and the U.S.; executed by firing squad in May 1979.
  • Gorgi Lavi; affluent Jewish businessman imprisoned and executed in 1979.
  • Simon Farzami; Jewish newspaper editor executed in 1980.
  • Albert Danielpour; affluent Iranian Jewish industrialist in the Iranian city of Hamadan who was imprisoned, tortured and executed in June 1980.
  • Ebrahim Berookhim; affluent Jewish hotel owner in Tehran imprisoned, tortured and executed in August 1980.
  • Youssef Yadegar; affluent Jewish hotel owner in Tehran executed in 1980.
  • Farajollah Hakimi; Jewish businessman in Tehran executed in 1980.
  • Isaac Lahijani, affluent Jewish architect and real estate developer in Tehran; kidnapped, held for ransom by Iranian regime thugs and later killed in Spring 1980. Iranian regime in 2007 finally accepted guilt for his killing and paid compensation to his family.
  • Mansour Ghedooshim; affluent Jewish businessman and Jewish leader in Iranian city of Isfahan executed in September 1981.

    Iranian Jewish leader Mansour Ghedooshim.
  • Manoucher Rakhshani; Jew imprisoned for several days and suspiciously died within two days of his release in 1985.
  • Farzin Yazdanpour; Jew assassinated while driving on Shiraz-Isfahan highway by Iranian Revolutionary Guard members; 1987.
  • Hedayatollah Zendedel; Jewish businessman and civil engineer imprisoned for years in Tehran and then executed in 1998.
  • Rouhollah Kadkhodazadeh; Jewish activist who helped smuggle Jews out of Iran; imprisoned and executed in 1998.
  • Hamid Lameh; Jewish businessman suspiciously found hanging from his neck inside his Tehran store with no signs of suicide in 1998.
  • Feziollah Mekhoubad; 78-year-old Jewish cantor of Youssefabad Synagogue in Tehran who was imprisoned, tortured by having his eyes gouged out and executed in 1999.
  • Sepehr Ebneyamin; Jewish man imprisoned in Tehran and suspiciously died in custody in November 1999.
  • Nasser Davoodpour; Jewish man in Tehran assassinated by Iranian Revolutionary Guard in 1999.
  • Ebrahim Kohan; Jewish man executed in his Tehran home by Iranian Revolutionary Guard in 2000.
  • Toobah Nehdaran; 57-year-old Jewish woman brutally murdered and her body was dismembered by radical Islamic thugs inside her home in the Jewish ghetto within in the Iranian city of Isfahan in December 2012.
  • Robert Levinson; American Jewish former FBI agent arrested by Iranian regime while visiting island of Kish on March 9, 2007 while on a mission for the CIA. On March 25, 2020, Levinson’s family announced his death, and although the date is unknown, it is assumed that he died while in Iranian custody.

Additionally, the following is just a brief list of the anti-Semitic statements by the Iranian regime’s leadership or anti-Semitic acts carried out in Iran which were never stopped or investigated by the regime during the last 20 years:

  • Between 1994 and 1997, 12 Jews that were trying to flee Iran via Pakistan were arrested by the Iranian secret police and have not been heard from since. The 12 were imprisoned and the Iranian regime has refused to discuss their fate.
  • During 1999-2000, 13 Jews from the Iranian city of Shiraz were arrested and falsely charges with spying for Israel. They faced imminent execution by the regime. Ultimately a rigorous international media campaign waged by Iranian Jewish activists in America and American Jewish groups halted the 13 men’s executions. They were spared from death but imprisoned and later released.
  • In December 2005, the Iranian regime’s state-run “Jaam-e Jam TV” program, broadcasted Iranian commentator Ali-Reza Akbari who stated “the Jews murdered non-Jewish children and used their blood for Passover”.
  • In January 2011, the Iranian student Basiji militia, of the Abu-Ali Sina/Avicenna University in the western Iranian province of Hamadan rioted outside the entrance of the Esther and Mordechai tomb and threatened to destroy it if Israel destroyed the Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem. The Iranian state-run media news reported at that time that Basiji militia had removed the mausoleum’s entrance sign, covered the Star of David at the mausoleum’s entrance with a welded metal cover and demanded the site be placed under the supervision of the local Islamic religious authority.
  • In June 2012, the Iranian Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi in a televised speech alleged that the prevalence of drugs and drug-addiction throughout the world was rooted in the Talmud. “The book teaches them how to destroy non-Jews so as to protect an embryo in the womb of a Jewish mother,” he said.
  • In November 2012 Toobah Nehdaran, a 57-year-old married Jewish woman, was strangled, then repeatedly stabbed to death, and her body was mutilated in a ritual manner by thugs who had broken into her home located inside the Jewish ghetto within the Iranian city of Isfahan. Nehdaran’s gruesome murder was never investigated by Iranian authorities and suspects were never arrested in connection with her murder.
  • In 2016 in an online video, the Iranian regime’s cleric Mehdi Taeb, claimed that “the Jews aim to control the world and therefore people are obligated to kill anyone who is not willing to accept this control, particularly Muslims”. He also repeated false conspiracy theories that “the Jews control the global economy, the media and have hatch plots and sow division, strife and wars, especially among Muslims”.
  • In December 2017, two synagogues located in the Iranian city of Shiraz were vandalized by unknown assailants who left a total of five Torah scrolls and numerous prayer books damaged or totally destroyed. Likewise, Tzedakah charity boxes were also stolen from the synagogues. The incident was never investigated by the regime’s authorities and no arrests were made in connection with the crime.
  • On February 28, 2019, three antique Torah scrolls were stolen by unknown thieves from the centuries-old Ezra Yagoub synagogue located inside Tehran’s Jewish ghetto. The crime was never investigated by the regime and no regime state-run media reported on the crime.

So to the English speaking Ayatollah regime’s chief propagandist Javad Zarif who goes on U.S. news programs proclaiming the Iranian regime’s “love for the Jews of Iran”, “respect for the Jewish religion in Iran” we say stop lying! Your lies are believed by no one in their right mind! The Ayatollah regime’s apologists and loyalists living in the U.S. and Europe who praise this sick demonic regime should also stop spewing their lies about the “great” status of Jews in Iran. These same propagandists for the Ayatollah regime should stop using Iran’s Jews to improve the criminal image of their paymasters in Tehran!

The Ayatollah regime in Iran and its lackeys in the West can continue to dismiss Elghanian execution and even try to sugar coat the regime’s mistreatment of Iran’s Jews, but their long heinous record of killing and abusing Jews is something they can never escape. In the end, Iran’s war against the Jews did not begin with the Iranian regime’s mullahs funding and arming Shiite and Palestinian terrorists to kill Israelis. It began when they shot Habib Elghanian in the heart 41 years ago and declared the regime’s war against the Jews.

About the Author
Karmel Melamed is an award-winning internationally published Iranian American journalist based in Southern California; He is a member of the Speakers Bureau of JIMENA: Jews Indigenous to the Middle East and North Africa
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