An interesting article on Iranian blogger-in-exile Hossein Derakhshan on his visit to Israel.

“I am trying to show Israelis that there are lots of people like myself living in Iran, with the same moderate ideas about Israel and the world. Most Iranians want normal relations with Israel, and do not view Israelis as bloodthirsty Jews who want to kill all Muslims, which is how the regime tries to portray them.” …

“When the world focused on stopping Iran’s development of nuclear arms, it led to the electoral defeat of a moderate president and the rise to power of a more radical president … I understand the fear of nuclear arms, but the focus has to be on democratic means and not on halting nuclear development. If the bomb is in the right hands, it won’t be dangerous at all.”

Instead of preventing the development of nuclear arms, Derakhshan wants to halt the mutual demonization of Iran and Israel. He suggests, for example, that expatriate Iranian Jews living in Israel write about their everyday lives on Farsi blogs. …

“For the past few years I have been preoccupied mainly with the dissemination of the blog idea,” says Derakhshan. “In order for this medium to gain momentum, I convinced famous public figures to publish blogs, provided them with technical support and built an index of Iranian blogs.” …

“People in Iran,” says Derakhshan, “will be very interested in discovering that there are Iranians in Israel living completely normal lives, without any connection to bombings and incitement.” …

From his own blog:

But in terms of what the Israelis think about Iranians, I still need to work more. So far I’ve talked to a lot of people and they’ve all been very friendly and nice, even after hearing my name and where I come from. But I’m going to Jerusalem today and possibly Ramallah to talk to more people and get more reactions.

If I can manage to get into the Palestinian Authoritiy territories, I’ll still focus on my main question which is about Iran, not Sharon, or settlements, or Hamas, etc. I’ll ask the ordinary Palestinians about how they perceive Iran and its leaders and what do they think about Iran-Israel relationship.

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