London — Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was born to a Jewish family that converted to Islam when he was four years old, according to a British newspaper.
The Daily Telegraph reported the discovery Saturday, based on Ahmadinejad’s original family name of Sabourjian.
The newspaper published a picture of the Iranian president holding up his identity card during last year’s election campaign, in a way that shows his family’s previous name.
According to the article, Sabourjian is a common Iranian Jewish name, especially among those from Aradan, where the |Iranian president was born.
The newspaper reported that the name means cloth weaver, or specifically talit weaver. It adds that the word “sabour” means talit, and the suffix “jian” indicates that his family was practicing Jews.
The British newspaper also reported that the name is included in an Iranian Home Ministry list of names reserved for Iranian Jews.
Ahmadinejad never denied that his family changed its name when it moved to Tehran in the 1950’s. However he has never stated the family’s original name.
Read J.J. Goldberg’s blog post, Ahmadinejad and Other Self-hating Jews.