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Iranian Jewish fears

by: Ben Morris - Last updated: 2006-05-20

Yellow Star

Yellow Star

Human rights groups have expressed shock over plans which if approved by Iran's 'Supreme Leader' Ali Khamenei will see an Iranian law for Jews and other non-Muslims to wear coloured  cloth on the front of their clothes to identify their religion.

But Iranian politicians have dismissed the suggestion as a "lie".

"Such a plan has never been proposed or discussed in parliament. Such news, which appeared abroad, is an insult to religious minorities here," Iranian Jewish lawmaker Morris Motamed told the Associated Press. 

According to Canada's National Post, for Iran's Jewish population of 25,000 this would mean a yellow piece of cloth, while Zoroastrians would wear blue and Christians red, if the national uniform law gains approval.

The Simon Wiesenthal Centre has written to Kofi Annan, the Secretary-General of the United Nations calling on him to protest about the new law and bring pressure on Iran to drop its plans.

"This is reminiscent of the Holocaust," said Rabbi Marvin Hier, the dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles. "Iran is moving closer and closer to the ideology of the Nazis."

"The world should not ignore this," added Rabbi Hier. "The world ignored Hitler for many years, he was dismissed as a demagogue, they said he'd never come to power and we were all wrong."

But politicians in Iran have hit back saying the report by the National Post is not true.

"It's a sheer lie. The rumours about this are worthless," Emad Afroogh told the Associated Press.

According to another politician, the law is to do with wearing Western Clothes and also women who wear them. "Promotion of Western and spontaneous styles has become a cultural problem in major cities. It needs national attention," said Mahmoud Hosseini.

Over the last year, Iran has upped it vocal attacks on Jews, Israel and the West with its president  Mahmoud Ahmadinejad describing the holocaust as a myth in December 2005 and calling for Israel to be "wiped off the map" in October 2005.