TEHRAN, Iran — Iran’s only Jewish lawmaker says he will be part of President Hasan Rouhani’s delegation to the United Nations.
Siamak Moreh Sedgh, who represents Iran’s Jewish community in the country’s parliament, told The Associated Press on Thursday that he will accompany Rouhani on his visit to New York. Moreh Sedgh says he is just waiting for his US visa.
Moreh Sedgh, 48, has represented his community in parliament since 2012.
This represents the first time the Iranian president will be accompanied by a Jewish lawmaker to the UN. The move is seen as fulfilling Rouhani’s promise to give a bigger role in governance to minorities in the country.
Iran’s Jewish population is the largest Jewish community in the Middle East — estimated at under 9,000 according to a 2012 census — after Israel. In the 1990s, Jewish lawmaker Morris Moatamed accompanied then-parliament speaker Mahdi Karroubi to New York.
Rouhani is to make his first appearance as president on the world stage next week when he attends the United Nations General Assembly in New York. US officials will be watching the visit closely for signs that Rouhani will warm relations with the West and take a more moderate line in the next negotiations on Iran’s disputed nuclear program.
White House spokesman Jay Carney said Wednesday there were no current plans for Obama to meet Rouhani at the UN General Assembly. But he did not rule out a meeting, saying, “We remain ready to engage with the Rouhani government on the basis of mutual respect to achieve a peaceful resolution to the nuclear issue.”