Skip To Content
Breaking News

Iran Says It ‘Saved Jews’ 3 Times in History

In an extensive interview, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif accused Israel of supporting terrorism, said Iran does not want to produce a nuclear weapon and praised his country for protecting Jews.

Speaking to NBC News’ Ann Curry Wednesday, Zarif said the current Israeli regime “should be annihilated” but insisted that Iran harbors no ill will toward Jews.

He accused Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of having “butchered innocent chidren in Gaza” and called Israel “a threat to regional peace.” Zarif claimed that Israel harbors and supports members of the Jabhat al-Nusra Front, a Syrian Islamist terror group.

The hourlong interview came one day after Netanyahu addressed a joint session of the United States Congress, criticizing a possible accord among the U.S., world powers and Iran on the Iranian nuclear program.

“This is the only regime with nuclear weapons,” Zarif said regarding Israel. “This is the only regime that has aggressed upon all of its neighbors, has gobbled territory of its neighbor, is occupying people’s territory, is violating human rights on a daily basis.” Iran, said Zarif, “has saved Jews three times in its history” — twice in the biblical period and also during the Holocaust. He said Iran does not want to kill Jews.

“We are not talking about annihilation of Jews. We never have, we never will,” he said. “We have a history of tolerance and cooperation and living together in coexistence with our own Jewish people and with Jews everywhere in the world. If people want to espouse fear-mongering to fan such hysteria in the world, that’s to their detriment.”

Zarif repeated the Iranian government’s claim that the Islamic Republic does not want to produce a nuclear weapon, and has refrained from doing so despite having the ability.

“We have eight tons of fissile material, of 3.5 percent enriched uranium,” he said. “We did not go for a bomb, because we do not believe that a nuclear weapon will augment our security.”


Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.