Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi met with members of the radical anti-Zionist haredi Neturei Karta faction on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly annual general debate in New York on Wednesday.
“I have heard that there are anti-Zionist Jews here, and this is a great thing,” said Raisi.
“We always reiterate the fact that we have no issue whatsoever with the Jewish faith, with the Torah, and in Iran, the Jews have freedom of religion. Our only issue is with the Zionists.”
The president also said that Iran’s state policy is against oppression from anyone, including Jews, Christians and Muslims, which is why “we never recognized the members of ISIS as Muslims.”
Raisi continued, “Today the Zionists wish to discredit the Jewish faith but we draw a clear distinction between Zionism and the Jewish faith, and your work in which you announce that ‘We are Jewish, yet we are against Zionists,’ that is something to be commended.”
The members of Neturei Karta said at the meeting: “We found that throughout the history of the Islamic Republic of Iran, they respected and protected the Jewish community till today and you’re only distinguishing that Zionism has nothing to do with the religion and the occupation is unacceptable.”
The meeting came a day after Raisi addressed the U.N. General Assembly, taking several swipes at Israel during his speech as he referred to decades of Israeli “occupation,” accused Israel of murdering civilians and called for the creation of a state of Palestine.
In January, members of the Neturei Karta organization visited Jenin in Samaria, where they met with a member of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist group.
In 2020, members of Neturei Karta attended the funeral of Iranian Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani in Iran, following his assassination in Baghdad by the United States.