Leading Iranian human rights activist, lawyer and Nobel Peace laureate Shirin Ebadi on the key issues facing the Islamic Republic:
The most pressing issue facing Iran is the increasing levels of unemployment among the youth and also increased poverty in society, as well as a greater occurrence of cases of violation of human rights.
The hawks are correct when they say that the Jews of Iran face threats. But they are wrong about the nature of the threats. They point to Ahmadinejad’s anti-Israel stance and Holocaust denial, and they draw the faulty conclusion that he is on the verge of launching an ethnic-cleansing campaign against the Jews. In fact, Ahmadinejad seems determined to prove otherwise, even subsidizing the purchase of land for a new Jewish community center in Tehran.
What actually threatens the welfare of Iranian Jews is the laws and regulations that have been put in place since 1979, which have curbed the ability of Jews to thrive in Iran in any meaningful way. In courts, the testimony of a Jew is not equal to that of a Muslim. In business, Jews have a tough time getting permits and licenses. In the arts, Jewish writers wait for years to get various governmental approvals of their manuscripts. In the academic arena, Jewish educators are not promoted. In health care, Jewish doctors and medical providers must inform their patients of their religion. Yet, despite all these hardships, Iran’s Jews are faring better than many other minorities, especially the Baha’is and Sunni Iranians.