Iranian soldiers said to return stolen Torah to Jews

Paramilitary forces return the ancient, hand-written manuscript to a synagogue in Shiraz

Tamar Pileggi is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

Illustrative photo of a Torah scroll (Yaakov Naumi/Flash90)
Illustrative photo of a Torah scroll (Yaakov Naumi/Flash90)

An ancient Torah scroll stolen from a synagogue in the Iranian city of Shiraz was returned to the local Jewish community after it was found by the Revolutionary Guards Corps Basij paramilitary unit, the official Fars news agency reported Sunday.

The volunteer unit began to search for the manuscript after a number of Jewish holy books were reported stolen from Iran’s southern Fars province earlier this month.

The Torah was returned to a representative of the Iranian Jewish community, Siamak Mareh Sedq, at a February 11 ceremony commemorating the Islamic Revolution, the report said.

Sedq wrote a letter to the paramilitary force expressing his gratitude for respecting and valuing the Jewish faith.

“I am bound to extend my deepest appreciation to your colleagues in Fars province’s Basij Force for their efforts to discover the hand-written holy Torah that was lost from a synagogue in the city of Shiraz,” the report quoted Sedq as saying.

President Hassan Rouhani’s recent attempts to reach out to the Jewish community have been overshadowed by other leaders of the hard-line regime and the country’s history of abuse toward its Jewish community since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

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