Iran pampers Jewish hospital in capital

A hospital that traditionally serves Jews in Tehran received about $400,000 from the Iranian government

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A Jewish hospital in the Iranian capital has received about $400,000 from the government of President Hassan Rowhani, in an attempt to further unite “all ethnic groups and religions” in the Islamic republic, the New York Times reported Thursday.

While the semiofficial Mehr News Agency said the amount received was $400,000, another Iranian source, the semiofficial website Tabnak, put the figure at $200,000, and said a second installment in the same amount would be coming.

The surprise donation was delivered by Rowhani’s brother, Hossein Fereydoon, after he walked into Tehran’s only Jewish hospital on Thursday.

“Our government intends to unite all ethnic groups and religions, so we decided to assist you,” Fereydoon said according to the semiofficial Iranian news website Tabnak.

Fereydoon also promised that more attention would be given to hospitals that traditionally serve Christian and Jewish Iranians.

A nurse, who works at the Dr. Sapir Hospital and Charity Center, told the New York Times that “we are very happy,” adding “this is a good sign.”

Recently, Rowhani visited the Arab-dominated southern province of Khuzestan in January, where he addressed the crowd in their native language, Arabic, a rare occurrence for a top Iranian official.

Rowhani, who also recited some stanzas from the great Arab poet al-Mutanabi, promised the people of Khuzestan they would see more developing taking course in their area.

Even in his foreign policy, Rowhani is toning down the hardline image his predecessor Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had fostered.

In September, he did not only send wishes for a happy Jewish New Year on Twitter, but in the recent security conference in Munich, he had his foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif describe the killing of Jews by the Nazi regime as “tragically cruel.” Zarif added that it “should not happen again.”

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