Iran’s delegation to the United Nations (U.N.) General Assembly will include the country’s only Jewish lawmaker, a vehement anti-Zionist who once publicly kissed Iran’s former Holocaust-denying President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in front of the Iranian parliament.
Siamak Moreh Sedgh confirmed to the Associated Press on Thursday that he will join Iranian President Hassan Rowhani on a trip to New York next week.
Moreh Sedgh has previously attended the U.N. General Assembly meeting as part of a delegation led by Ahmadinejad in 2009, according to Iranian state news reports.
A dozen countries, including the United States, France, and the United Kingdom, walked out of Ahmadinejad’s U.N. address that same year in protest of the then-president’s “anti-Semitic rhetoric,” including his suggestion that a cabal of Jews was controlling world politics.
Moreh Sedgh is also a vocal critic of the Jewish state, according to media reports. He blasted Israel and Zionism in 2009 while commemorating “Al-Quds day.”
“On this day, in concert with the Muslim nations, the country’s Jews will direct their anti-iniquity cries against all servants of imperialism and Zionism,” he said, according to a BBC translation of a Sept. 19, 2009 Fars News Agency article.
Moreh Sedgh also helped stage a 2008 rally outside U.N. offices in Tehran to protest “Israeli war crimes and the slaughter of the innocent people in the Gaza Strip,” according to Israeli media reports.
The lawmaker can be seen embracing and kissing Ahmadinejad after remarks to Iranian parliament in a 2009 YouTube video.
Some media and public figures noted the inclusion of Moreh Sedgh in this year’s delegation, suggesting it was a sign of Rowhani’s moderation and tolerance.
“First ‘Happy Rosh Hashanah,’ now this: Jewish lawmaker to accompany Iran’s President Rowhani to UN in New York,” CNN’s Christiane Amanpour wrote on Twitter.
“Savvy,” wrote the National Iranian American Council’s Reza Marashi.