In what is a first, a sitting member of the Iranian parliament (Majles) has given an interview to Israel radio’s Reshet Bet radio station.
The MP in question is Dr. Siamak More Sedegh. He is the representative of Iran’s approximately 9000 strong Jewish community. He is also a surgeon and the director of the Tehran Jewish Committee and the Dr. Sapir charity hospital.
Among other things, in the interview Dr Moreh Sedgh states that Iran is not interested in a war against Israel as it would be suicidal. He also talks about Iran’s Jewish community and the challenges it faces, in addition to the fact that Jews generally feel secure in Iran. The interview was conducted in Paris.
It would be dangerous for an Iranian MP to give an interview to an Israeli radio station. Dr Moreh Sedgh almost definitely did this with the explicit permission of the Rouhani government. This seems to be the second part of Rouhani’s message of non-confrontation with Israel (not to be confused with a message of peace). The first part was witnessed when in April 2015 Iran allowed Orly Azulay who is a US based Israeli reporter to visit Iran and report from there (although not officially. She interviewed people as a tourist). Mrs Azulay even interviewed a member of Esfahan’s Jewish community in Hebrew!
This is a small, positive and welcomed move by the government of President Rouhani. Its a good, tactical step to reduce tensions. Furthermore, with the Iranian presidential elections coming up next May, Mr Rouhani needs to improve Iran’s economy and to attract foreign investment. In theory such a move could also help ease concern of foreign investors. Constant threats against Israel by Iranian hard liners make some foreign investors concerned, as they make Iran look unsafe and conflict prone.
However, unfortunately the hostile strategy of the Iranian regime (not government) remains the same towards Israel. And its the regime which is in charge of the Israel – Palestine file, not the government. Its the Iranian regime’s IRGC support for anti-Israel groups such as Hezbollah in Lebanon, its presence in Syria, public calls that it will continue in its path until Israel is destroyed as well as its recent missile tests which called for the elimination of Israel which continue to be viewed by Israel as realistic threats. And as long as the regime has the upper hand in Iran, which is likely to be the case for the foreseeable future, then we are unlikely to see any real change in Iran’s overall hostile strategy towards Israel.
You can listen to the interview here (its in English with Hebrew voice over)