When Maurice Motamed, the sole Jewish MP in the Iranian parliament, arrived in the United States in August 2000, he received a warm welcome from the American Jewish community. He met with leaders of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, Sen. Arlen Specter, and Rep. Brad Sherman, and was given a forum to propagandize on behalf of the Islamic Republic at several gatherings attended by thousands of Iranian-American Jews interested in hearing what “their” new MP had to say. Currently in the U.S. again, the reception for Motamed this week, considering his recent record, should be different.
In 2000, Motamed did what he was sent to do. He claimed that the life of the Jews in Iran was far better than that of other Iranians and that the Jews in Shiraz would be freed very shortly (something that has not yet happened). He even invited the wealthy Iranian Jewish community to return to the Islamic republic. In other words, Islamic Iran was a heaven for the Jews — better than even America or Israel.
Motamed is a tall and dashing man. He is known for wearing hand-tailored three-piece suits and fine ties. He looks more like a British MP than an Iranian one. He is reported to have a wonderful relationship with the mullahs in Tehran. He met with the all-powerful Rafsanjani just a week before his visit to the U.S. He is a close ally of Karoubi, the speaker of parliament, and is said to be very close to Khatami. Motamed, just like Khatami, is genuinely saddened that he can’t do more for his constituency. And, just like his friend Khatami, he always has a smile on his face — he’s just another smiling face put out by the his country’s P.R. team to cover up the daily atrocities of the Iranian regime.
Some may claim that Motamed has no choice, that he has to say what he is told or he himself may face a harsh end. But no one forced him to take the position. He campaigned for the job. And he is not just the Jewish MP, but a member of the parliament of the Islamic Republic of Iran, a member of the axis of evil. Just like other candidates, he was vetted to make sure that he had the necessary revolutionary credentials to join the team; just like the others, he has sworn to uphold the constitution of the Islamic Republic and its revolutionary ideals.
Motamed seems genuinely pleased with his achievements. He brags of meeting Rafsanjani (the man who threatened Israel with the atomic bomb and is one of the biggest Death to America cheerleaders in Tehran). He tells tales of his friendship with Khatami (the same Khatami under whose watch the Jews of Shiraz, student intellectuals, and political dissidents were sent to prison) and the great improvements that Iran has made under his reign.
In the past two years, Motamed has served his terror masters well. As a member of the Energy Committee of the Iranian Parliament, he has met with representatives of oil companies in London and has urged them to invest in the Iranian energy sector; by doing so, he is playing a role in lengthening the life of the Islamic Regime. Motamed again appeared in Russia, where he urged Russian companies and governments to complete the Bushehr Nuclear Project; thus is he involved in helping Iran destabilize the region by assisting the regime in getting its hands on a nuclear bomb. Most recently, he was in Riyadh as a guest of the Saudi royal family, urging better relations between the Sunni Saudis and the Shiite Iranians.
And then there are his “charitable” contributions: Every year, he donates one month of his salary as a member of parliament to the Palestinian struggle to liberate Jerusalem from the hands of the Zionist infidels. Is it not a crime to provide financial assistance to terrorist organizations?
With achievements such as his, Motamed has every right to be proud of himself. He is one of the regime’s best P.R. tools and has managed — mysteriously — to make it into the United States to do his work for the mullahs (I don’t know how Motamed managed to get a U.S. visa and go through a background check undetected while there are Iranian Jewish refugees who have been stuck in Vienna for more than a year waiting to pass the same security checks).
Will we ever see Mr. Motamed again? Perhaps. But the next time Mr. Motamed enters this country, it should be as a refugee fleeing Iran — not as a stooge of the regime.
— Pooya Dayanim is the president of the Iranian Jewish Public Affairs Committee. The views expressed in this article are his own.