A day after being accused of making anti-Semitic comments at the United Nations, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad met a fringe group of ultra-religious Jews who seek peace in the Middle East.
“Zionism has greatly weakened and, God willing, it will be destroyed soon and then all Jews, Muslims and Christians can live peacefully with one another,” Ahmadinejad told nearly a dozen rabbis from Neturei Karta International a few years ago.
The group is a small ultra-orthodox Jews who says it adheres strictly to the Torah, the Jewish holy book, which it says forbids the establishment of a Jewish state before the coming of the Messiah.
Its views are considered marginal by mainstream Jews who condemned Ahmadinejad’s speech as anti-Semitic, as did several world leaders, human rights groups and the U.S. President Barack Obama.
Marty Irom, spokesman for the non-profit group the Israel Project, which promotes security and peace in Israel, said Neturei Karta was a “very tiny fringe group that represents only themselves.” He said such meetings gave Ahmadinejad an “air of legitimacy which he should not have.”
Ahmadinejad railed against “Zionist” in his speech at the U.N. General Assembly, dwelling on what he described as Zionist control of international finance, echoing the libel that blamed a world Jewish conspiracy for all the world’s troubles.
At a New York meeting with the group, which also goes by the English name “Jews United Against Zionism,” Ahmadinejad said Zionism was a political movement “that seeks wealth and power” and was “corrupting the earth.”
Nearly a dozen rabbis dressed in the black garb of ultra-Orthodox Jews sat around a table with Ahmadinejad and his delegation and posed for photographs after the meeting in a Manhattan hotel.
“That we have the honor and privilege to meet with such a distinguished person who understands the difference between Zionism and Judaism is for us a tremendously happy occasion,” the group’s senior Rabbi, Moshe Ber Beck, told Ahmadinejad.
Ahmadinejad has said Israel should be wiped off the map. Ahmadinejad has made some disgusting comments about the holocaust referring it as a myth and his government held a conference in 2006 questioning the fact that Nazis used gas chambers to kill 6 million Jews in World War Two.
Rabbi Yisroel Dovid Weiss, a spokesman for the group, said Ahmadinejad was no enemy of the Jewish people, that many thousands of Jews lived in Iran without persecution and that the Iranian president was not a Holocaust denier.
However, at that meeting, Ahmadinejad spoke about World War Two in general terms as “one of the most abhorrent acts” in history. “Numerous crimes occurred against everyone, admitting to terrible crimes committed by Nazis against the Jews.” he said, through an interpreter.
Ahmadinejad ended by praying with the rabbis, saying: “God, please nullify the propaganda waged by the Zionists, and let them lose hope, and make victorious your deserved people.”
Iran wants to cooperate with Saudi Arabia
Iran’s former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has reportedly reached out to Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman with a letter offering to work together on Yemen, despite the history of tensions between the two countries.
Ahmadinejad, who served as Iran’s president from 2005 to 2013, sent a letter to the Crown Prince in which he offered to coordinate a ceasefire in Yemen, according to the New York Times, which said it received a copy of the letter from Ahmadinejad’s office.
U.S. brands IRGC as a terrorist organization
US President Donald Trump has designated Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a foreign terrorist organization.
Labelling the Guards as a terrorist organization will allow the US to impose further sanctions – particularly affecting the business sector, given the IRGC’s involvement in Iran’s economy.
A number of IRGC and affiliated entities have already been targeted by US sanctions for alleged proliferation activities, support for terrorism and human rights abuses.
“The leaders of Iran are not revolutionaries and people deserve better,” Mr Pompeo said. “They are opportunists.”
In a later tweet, he added: “We must help the people of Iran get back their freedom.”
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