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Iranian Ayatollah Blasts U.S. And Its Allies During Televised Prayers

Iranian Ayatollah Blasts U.S. And Its Allies During Televised Prayers

One of Iran’s senior clerics today chided people he said were “surreptitiously” trying to build ties with the United States, warning they would get “nowhere” without broad Iranian support.

Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, secretary of the Guardian Council that vets and approves all elections, candidates and parliamentary bills in the country, said during Tehran’s nationally broadcast congregational prayers that “a group of people are trying to build underground networks for relations with America.”

He didn’t cite any names, but it seems likely that he was referring to reformists or moderate politicians supporting the government of President Hassan Rouhani, which is currently engaged in talks with the West about Iran’s nuclear program.

For months now, Iranian conservatives have expressed unease about any détente with the U.S., which they deem an imperialist power. The Ayatollah said U.S. sympathizers were “impregnated with the worship of America,” the way Jews had been “calf worshippers,” presumably during the time of Moses.

“In conditions when the enemy is being cheeky and impudent and says bad things, our people’s sense of honor is offended,” the semi-official ISNA agency quoted Jannati as saying.

He asked what these sympathizers hoped to gain in the “extremely improbable” case that the U.S. might reopen an embassy in Tehran, having cut all diplomatic ties in 1979. The Ayatollah said Iranians who marched to mark the Revolution’s Feb. 11 anniversary had chanted anti-American slogans.

“We say to America, come forward if you’re a man,” Jannati warned. “Our people gave another message to officials. ... They said, if we are an anti-American people, you should be too.”

Photo: Ahmad Halabisaz/Xinhua/ZUMA

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Ideas

An Open Letter To Netanyahu, From A Notable "Jew Of The Diaspora"

The Polish-French writer Marek Halter addresses a letter to Israel’s leader warning him against the undercurrents of his government that threaten the very essence of the Jewish state.

Photo of at Habima Square, protesting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government judicial reform plan.

In Tel Aviv, Israelis gather at Habima Square, protesting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government judicial reform plan.

Eyal Warshavsky/SOPA Images via ZUMA
Marek Halter

—Open Letter—

Dear Mr. Prime Minister, Benyamin Netanyahu,

I can imagine your surprise upon receiving this letter. A little over 40 years ago, I sent a similar one to then Prime Minister Menachim Begin, in which I reminded him of the principles that bind us, the Jews of the Diaspora, to those of the State of Israel. Mr. Begin understood my approach and replied to me in an open letter to the press a few days later.

As with Begin, you and I belong to the two antagonistic currents of thought that concern our people: that of the Zealots and that of the Pharisees. The first wanted to be the secular arm of the Lord, the second, his word and voice.

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