Left: Iranian MP Maurice Motammed
(Tehran) A member of the Iranian Parliament, who happens to be Jewish, denied reports in a Canadian newspaper that Iran plans to force non-Muslims to wear colored badges in public so they can be identified.
"This report is a complete fabrication and is totally false," said Maurice Motammed in Tehran. "It is a lie, and the people who invented it wanted to make political gain" by doing so.
Motammed said he had been present in parliament when a bill to promote "an Iranian and Islamic style of dress for women" was debated.
"In the law, there is no mention of religious minorities," he added. "This is an insult to the Iranian people and to religious minorities in Iran."
The Canadian paper National Post reported this morning that a new law has been passed by the Iranian parliament that would require the country's Jews, Christians, and other religious minorities to wear colored badges to identify them as non-Muslims.
The paper quoted Iranian expatriates living in Canada who said that that the Iranian parliament - the Islamic Majlis - passed a law this week that also set a dress code for all Iranians, requiring them to wear nearly identical "standard Islamic garments" instead of Western-style clothing.
My calls seeking a statement from the Iranian embassy and state news agency IRNA have been forwarded, and responses to emails I sent have yet to be answered.
Addendum, 4:34 pm: This now posted on DEBKAfile:
The Iranian draft law which raised a world uproar was obtained Friday night, May 19, by DEBKAfile, and proved to contain no clause on a Yellow Star for Jews or special dress for non-Muslim minorities in its 13-clause text.
The outcry was sparked when Iranian exiles in Toronto reported to the Canadian National Post that Tehran had passed a law ordering Jews to wear the Yellow Star, Christians a red ribbon, and Zoroastrians a blue article of clothing.
Haroun Yeshaya, until recently head of Iran’s Jewish Committee, denied knowledge of such a clause.
However, the law has not been finally enacted, and speakers in the majlis debate proposed that non-Muslim minorities be made to wear distinctive clothes, yellow being the preferred color for Jews.
Other Jewish community leaders, lawmaker Moris Mo’tamed and the new community chairman, Rahmat Rafi, were unavailable for comment because of the Sabbath.
DEBKAfile’s Iranian expert says the report and the ensuing uproar against the clerical regime of Tehran may put the Iran’s 20,000 Jews at risk by giving President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad fresh ammunition against the Jews and the Jewish state.
The bill in question aims primarily at countering the revolt against black Muslim dress” as the hot summer approaches and Iranians – especially women - take to light clothing. At the end of the majlis debate, the final draft will be put to the vote; with or without the proposed discriminatory clauses remains to be seen.