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Iran’s Only Jewish Deputy Expelled from the Parliament on Charges of Spreading ‘zionist Propaganda’

The only Jewish deputy in Iran’s Parliament, Eshagh Farahmandpour, has been expelled from the Parliament and accused of spreading “Zionist propaganda.” Reliable sources in Paris say that Farahmandpour, a school teacher who never played a political role, was expelled by a vote of 79-36 with 89 abstentions.

The head of the credentials committee, Ibrahim Yazid, reported that Farahmandpour had served as school teacher in an ORT institute in 1969. Yazid said that ORT is “notorious for its connections with Israel and world Zionism.” He also accused Farahmandpour of having given private tutoring to one of the farmer Shah’s nephews.

Farahmandpour, who according to the new Islamic constitution represented the Jewish community in the Parliament, told the deputies that he wants to carry out his parliamentary mandate. He said that he had worked in the ORT institute for one year but never questioned or knew what its political tendencies were. He also said he had tutored the Shah’s nephew at the order of the Iranian Ministry of Education and had received no payment whatsoever for his work.

Several deputies accused Farahmandpour of “opposing the taking of American hostages” and their continued detention. When he denied this the deputies shouted at him: “If you are in favor of the Islamic act (taking American hostages) shout ‘death to America’.” Farahmandpour according to the sources, stood up and shouted: “Death to America a hundred times. Death to Israel two hundred times. Death to Russia five hundred times.” Several deputies applauded but others expressed skepticism at what they said was his lack of conviction.

After the vote, several deputies, including the Ayatollah Kholkhali, called on the Jewish community to “lose no time and elect another representative.” The sources here say that it seems highly unlikely that any other potential candidate will step forward as most of Iron’s Jews now apparently want to blend into the moss of Iranian people and not draw attention to themselves and to their families.

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