Iran ‘Coerced’ its Jewish Citizens Into Participating in Anti-Israel Demonstrations After October 7: Report

A new report says participants in the October 30 rallies were told their businesses and livelihoods were at risk unless they participated in the antisemitic protests.

AP/Vahid Salemi
Iranian schoolgirls show their hands with pro-government slogans and an anti-Israeli slogan that reads in Farsi, 'Death to Israel,' during a protest at Tehran. AP/Vahid Salemi

Iranian Jews marching to protest Israel and the war in Gaza weeks after the October 7 attacks were coerced into participating in the rallies by the regime there, according to a new report.

The Voice of America says the rallies outside synagogues in five cities, during which hundreds of Jewish citizens of the Islamic Republic chanted anti-Israel slogans and waved signs in Persian and English condemning the Jewish state, were organized by the regime itself. In addition to Tehran, the rallies took place in Shiraz, Isfahan, Yazd, and Kermanshah. 

The rallies were filmed and broadcast by several of Iran’s state press outlets, both inside and outside of Iran, as part of an effort to get its citizens behind the regime’s diatribes against Israel. During one of the demonstrations, a prominent Iranian rabbi, Younes Hamami Lalehzar, condemned what he called the crimes of the “Zionist regime” for “killing the innocent people of Gaza.”

In an email to the VOA, the U.S. State Department condemned the crude attempt at propaganda by the Iranian mullahs. “It is reprehensible that the Iranian regime continues to pressure religious groups to advance their propaganda,” a spokesman told the outlet. “Iran’s apparent exploitation of this conflict to advance its repression and propaganda against its Jewish community is abhorrent.”

Members of the Iranian diaspora living abroad say the regime has used Jewish citizens in the past to try and score political points, but the rallies on October 30 mark the first time such tactics have been used on such a wide scale.

A Los Angeles-based Jewish-Iranian journalist, Karmel Melamed, told the VOA that he spoke with contacts in Iran after the rallies and confirmed reports that the participants’ businesses and livelihoods were under threat unless they participated in the rallies. He said it marks the first time that he has seen “this scale of the Iranian regime parading the Jews and using them to make statements under duress for propaganda purposes.”


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