An Iranian paper referred to the long history of Iranians' coexistence with their Jewish fellow countrymen on Tuesday stressing that Iran is not an anti-Semitic state and Zionism is by no means equal to Judaism.
"The Jews lived peacefully in Iran for over 25 centuries, both when it was a Zoroastrian majority country and after it became a Muslim majority country," said the English-language 'Tehran Times'.
The editorial further commented on the recent hue and cry made on Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's anti-Zionist statements.
"A careful examination of history shows that the Jews have actually been safer in Iran than in Western countries," it added.
Comparing the Jews living conditions in a number of Western, particularly European, countries with their situation in Iran, the article stressed, "The Jews have never been banned from Iran, whereas they were banned in certain European countries. The Jews of Iran were never locked up in ghettos, as was the case in some European states.
"There has never been a Kristallnacht (The Night of Broken Glasses) in Iran," said the daily emphasizing, "The ancient Persians were always opposed to racism, oppression, religious persecution, and slavery, and this tradition is still alive in modern Iran." With all this history, how can people call Iran an anti-Semitic country, asked the paper complaining that after the victory of the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran, the western media started to image Iran's new government as an anti-Semitic one.
Stressing that Iranians are opposed to the racist ideology of the Zionists who have occupied Palestine, displaced many Palestinians from their homeland, denied them the right of return, and oppressed the Palestinians who remain in the occupied territories, Tehran Times added, "Everyone who criticizes Zionism is not an anti-Semite.
"Judaism is not Zionism, and Zionism is not Judaism. Even many Orthodox Jews, like the members of the Neturei Karta organization, are opposed to Zionism," argued the article.
It further regretted that the Western media usually ignore the fact that Iran has a Jewish community because it would ruin the false image of Iran as an anti-Semitic country that they have created.
"However, on rare occasions, a few Western media outlets have reported the fact that Jews are living normal lives in Iran. Some say that Jews who are opposed to Zionism are afflicted with self-hatred.
That is just Zionist propaganda. Did anyone ever say that white South Africans who were opposed to apartheid were afflicted with self-hatred?," asked the daily.
Reiterating Iranians' respect for Judaism as a "monotheistic divinely revealed religion," it said, "In 2,500 years, not one synagogue has been destroyed in Iran. Jewish graveyards have never been desecrated in Iran. In contrast, this still occurs in some Western countries.
"Iran is not a racist country," stressed the daily noting that in fact the country "has been recognized as one of the pioneers of the anti-racist struggle."