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With recent debate in the Western media over claims that Iran’s President Mahmud Ahmadinejad might have Jewish ancestry, in Iran several reformists, journalists, and bloggers have responded by saying that even if true, it wouldn't matter anyway.

What matters, they say, is that Ahmadinejad violates the rights and will of the Iranian people.

In an article published on the “Rahesabz” website, journalist Yadollah Eslami writes that “our [concern] about Ahmadinejad and his friends is not about their family record but about their respect of human rights."

In a similar vein, journalist Babak Dad writes in his blog that it doesn't matter whether Ahmadinejad is Muslim, has Jewish roots, or is an atheist. Dad argues that Ahmadinejad certainly isn't a follower of any heavenly religion because if he was truly religious he wouldn’t “lie” and become “a tool of repression.”

And blogger "Inja va anja" ("Here and there") argues that talk about whether Ahmadinejad is Jewish or not is unproductive because it might encourage people to channel their negative feelings about Ahmadinejad toward the Jews. The blogger adds: “Ahmadinejad is himself and his father, or the religion of his father, cannot be blamed for his deeds.”

Meanwhile, the "Tehran Times" speculates as to provenance of the story. It quoted an unnamed analyst who said that the “Daily Telegraph” report about Ahmadinejad’s family background was “undoubtedly “ published after a request from the Israeli leadership.

In light of the Goldstone report, such reports are obviously designed to divert world attention from Israeli crimes against Palestinians and the use of weapons of mass destruction in the three-week attack on the Gaza Strip.

-- Golnaz Esfandiari

About This Blog

Written by RFE/RL editors and correspondents, Transmission serves up news, comment, and the odd silly dictator story. While our primary concern is with foreign policy, Transmission is also a place for the ideas -- some serious, some irreverent -- that bubble up from our bureaus. The name recognizes RFE/RL's role as a surrogate broadcaster to places without free media. You can write us at transmission+rferl.org

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