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Iranian Jew faces death penalty for killing Muslim attacker in self-defense

Arvin Nathaniel Ghahremani (Photo: Iran Human Rights)

A 20-year-old Iranian Jew is facing the death penalty after reportedly killing a Muslim man in self-defense, the Norwegian-based NGO Iran Human Rights (IHR) reported.

Arvin Nathaniel Ghahremani, who hails from the southern Iranian city of Kermanshah, was reportedly scheduled to be executed on Monday. The young Jewish man was convicted of the “intentional murder” of Amir Shokri in a fight about two years ago.

With the help of international support, Ghahremani’s family has attempted to convince Iranian authorities to commute the death sentence in exchange for a ransom. For the time being, Iran has decided to postpone the execution for one month.

Because Iran is currently ruled by an Islamic legal code, Ghahremani can only be pardoned from his sentence if he is forgiven by Shokri's family, which has so far refused to offer forgiveness.

Jews were seen praying for Ghahremani at Rachel’s Tomb, outside Bethlehem, south of Jerusalem, in a recent video clip posted on social media.

Formerly known as Persia, Iran is home to one of the oldest Jewish communities in the world. The community was once prosperous and numbered around 100,000 people before the Islamic Revolution in 1979.

However, the rise of the ayatollah regime forced many Iranian Jews to leave the country and move to the United States, Israel, Great Britain and other countries. Today, less than 10,000 Jews are believed to remain in Iran, living under an explicitly antisemitic regime that openly calls for the destruction of the Jewish state.

Many Iranian Jews have relatives living in Israel. However, Iranian authorities have criminalized any contact with Israel or Zionism. These oppressive measures have forced the remaining Jews in Iran to keep a low profile.

In April 2023, during the Jewish holiday of Passover, the ayatollah regime reportedly pressured local Iranian Jews to participate in Quds Day, an annual event that officially calls for the destruction of the Jewish state. In March, when Jews worldwide celebrate the holiday of Purim and the miraculous rescue of their people in ancient Persia, modern Iranian Jews face a blood libel. 

According to popular antisemitic conspiracy theories, the Jewish woman, Esther, convinced the ancient King Achashverosh to kill over 75,000 Iranians.

Dr. Thamar Elam Gindin, an Israeli expert on Iran, at Haifa University, placed the antisemitic libel in a wider context of being fueled by the ayatollah regime’s propaganda.

“Like every Purim, this year too, Iranian antisemitic social media users repeat the Iranian version of the Esther story, and the tomb of Esther and Mordechai in Hamedan is under attack. Their story is based on the Book of Esther and some verses in the Quran that refer to Jews as liars. This allows them freedom to tell the story based much on imagination,” Gindin assessed.

“The story as told on the web is, mainly, that Esther and Mordechai killed 77,000 Iranians, which is the first genocide in history, and since then Jews celebrate Purim, whose other name is ‘the holiday of killing Iranians’ (Jashn-e Iranikoshi) and eat symbolic body parts of Iranians (a reference to Hamantaschen, named in Hebrew “Haman’s ears”) originally baked with the blood of little Iranian children.”  

In the biblical account, Esther convinces the king to spare the lives of the Jewish population, who were facing genocide.

Israel and Iran had close ties before the Islamic Revolution of 1979. Anti-regime protesters across Iran are increasingly expressing their support for Israel amid the confrontation with the ayatollah regime and its terror proxies Hamas, Hezbollah and the Houthis.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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