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A report on the activities of Iranian Jewish member of The Parliament

   

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Moorris motamedThe Iranian Jews’ member of the parliament, Eng. Morris Motamed, in the 6th period of the Islamic Council, is one of the active members, with two responsibilities: one as the member of Iranians in the parliament, and the other one as a representative of Iranian Jewish Community in the parliament. He is not only a member of the energy commission, but also engaged in follow-up of the technical and economical affairs of the energy section of the country within the legislative power, besides the usual political and cultural investigations.

Motamed informs people of his activities in Tehran’s large synagogues usually every month. Meanwhile, his pre-agenda speeches are published in details in the newspapers’ reports and sometimes broadcasted in the programs of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Television. The following is an abstract from the activities of the Jews’ member of the parliament within the first 6-month time of 2003, which is extracted from his interview with Bina magazine.

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* In April 2003, the members of religious minorities in the parliament met with the head of judiciary power, Ayatollah Shahroodi, in order to state some subjects. In this meeting, the Jews’ member of the parliament referred to the problems of the religious communities of the minorities in the judicial authorities of the country. Referring to the problems of executing rule 49 of the constitutional law and repeated rule 881 of the personal manners’ law, the member of the parliament protested against the procedure of some judges- especially in the Revolution (Enghelab) Court- in recognizing the country’s religious minorities as infidels and releasing votes contrary to religion and Justice, and the head of Judiciary power promised to cooperate in this regard.

 

* One of the most principal activities of the Jews’ member of the parliament and other members has been to request and follow up the parliamentary bill indicating the parity of the blood money of the country official religious minorities with that of the majority of the fellow countrymen. The bill was considered in the council for two times, and was ratified in each turn with at least 80% of votes. The said bill was disagreed by the Guardian Council and was not ratified. Following the request made by deputies of the religious minorities including the remittance of the bill to the Expediency Council, the case was discussed in the judiciary and legal commission of the parliament, and the members of the commission approved to send the bill to the Council with unanimity of votes.

In this regard, the deputies of the minorities in the parliament met with the head of the Expediency Council, Hojjat-ol-Eslam Hashemi Rafsanjani, in May, and sought for the coordination of the Assembly in ratifying the blood money’s parity bill. Fortunately, the head of the assembly had a positive view over the religious minorities of the country and promised to give a priority to the bill, upon the arrival of the bill to the Assembly. Eng. Motamed believes the bill shall be ratified due to the positive atmosphere in the Assembly, and it will be notified to the legal authorities.

 

 * Jews’ deputy in the parliament along with some other members met with Ayatollah Khamenei, the great leader on May 17. Upon his chance to speak, the deputy thanked the favors of the great leader of the Islamic Republic in freeing the Jewish prisoners of Shiraz. Later, Motamed mentioned some of the current problems, some discriminations and injustices against the Jews, specially the understanding and interpretation of some judges regarding the rights of religious minorities without attention to the rule 13 and other rules of the Constitutional Law, specially the discrimination in the Iranian Jews’ cases in the Revolution courts. The great leader was also told that unfortunately, some judges of the courts, recognized the official religious minorities as infidels and issued the verdicts against the interests of minorities’ citizens.

At the end of the meeting, Eng. Motamed asked Mr. Khamenei to arrange a meeting with authorities and representatives of Iranian Jews’ Community’s organizations, and the Revolution Leader agreed to this meeting. The meeting is supposed to be held soon within the next few months.

 

* Regarding the problem of employment of instructors and training personnel from the religious minorities of the country in the Ministry of Education, which –due to particular reasons- has not been done for several years, negotiations were made between Motamed and Bet-Kolia (Jews’ and Assyrians’ members of the parliament) and the Minister of Education, Mr. Haji. The result of this meeting was the agreement of the Minister with employment of 200 individuals from the religious minorities.

 

* Following a request by Morris Motamed, a special meeting with the President was organized for August. Speaking about some problems and negotiating to resolve them, Eng. Motamed, in the meeting, thanked the President for coordinating and allocating a budget for religious minorities of the country (since 2003, out of the Presidency Budget, a particular budget is supposed to be allocated for cultural, sports and social activities of the religious minorities of the country). Later, the Jews’ deputy thanked Hojjat-ol-Eslam Mohammad Khatami for the efforts and coordination made by the Administrative Power in dealing with the problems of the religious minorities, and asked the president to visit and talk to Iranian Jews’ Community, and the President agreed to be present in one of the Synagogues of Tehran in the near future.

 * On October 28, in the open session of the Islamic Council, in his pre-agenda speech, Jasem Shadidzadeh, the deputy of Ahwaz spoke of the tribal problems and difficulties of Arabs dwelling in Khoozestan and attributed all these problems to the seditions of the Jews and the Judaism. He even recognized the discrepancies among Shi'as and Sunnis in the region, emerging from Judaism. In the meeting, the Jews’ deputy severely protested against these words. Speaking in Majlis (Parliament), he briefly explained the history of ancient and rooted presence of the Jews in Iran and their coordination and cooperation with other fellow countrymen throughout the history, especially within the years after the war and called the claims of the deputy of Ahwaz as being null and void, and recognized these words as the evidence for destroying the rights of Jewish community and the bloods of Jewish martyrs in the Iran-Iraq imposed war.

Majority of the members of Parliament verified and supported the protesting statements of Morris Motamed, and the Head of Parliament, Hojjat-ol-Eslam Karroubi, while confirming the works of the Jews’ deputy, once more emphasized the separating of Judaism and Zionism and congratulated the Hebrew New Year to the Iranian Jews, and referred to the cooperation and loyalty of this religious minority with Iranian nation. At the end of the meeting, making a friendly talk with Motamed, Shadidzadeh revised his words and asked the Jews’ member of the parliament for removal of misunderstanding.

 

* Following many referrals of Jewish soldiers and their families including the problems in doing their religious duties and supplying Kosher food in far-reaching regions or non-Jewish dwelling cities, several visits have been made with the Parliamentary Deputy of the Disciplinary Force, and in an agreement with the Jews’ member in the parliament, it was nearly agreed that the Jewish military soldiers -after passing their training course- could pass the remaining of their military service in the cities where they live, so that they do not face problems in doing their religious duties and supplying their food.

* As his Parliamentary missions, Eng. Motamed made two foreign trips in the first half of the year 2003. On his first trip, he traveled to Australia and visited the Australian parliaments in Sydney, Canberra, and Melbourne. The Jews’ member in the Islamic Parliament is the vice-president of the friendship board of Iran-Australian parliaments, and the said trip was carried out in line with fulfilling the tasks of the board. In this mission, the member of Jews in the parliament could find a chance to visit and talk with the Jews and the authorities of Jews’ Association in Sydney. The Australian Jews’ Community significantly welcomed this visit.

 

 

 

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