Iranian Foreign Minister’s visit to London is an ‘insult to British values’

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

Iranian Foreign Minister’s visit to London is an ‘insult to British values’

Mohammad Javad Zarif
Mohammad Javad Zarif
Mohammad Javad Zarif
Mohammad Javad Zarif

Jewish community leaders have said the presence of Iran’s Foreign Minister in London this week is “an insult to British values”

Mohammad Javad Zarif, who was instrumental in negotiating the nuclear deal with six world powers last year, is speaking at Chatham House on Thursday in a talk titled: “Overcoming Regional Challenges in the Middle East: An Iranian Perspective.”

Ahead of his visit, the community reacted with outrage and irony to the idea of Zarif lecturing the Royal Institute of International Affairs on security in the Middle East, where Iran is widely assumed to sponsor unrest in several countries.

“To give [Zarif] a platform to speak at a prestigious London venue is nothing less than an insult to British values,” said Board of Deputies’ President Jonathan Arkush.

“This is a man who has publicly supported Hezbollah, an Iranian-funded organisation believed to have perpetrated acts of terror around the world, including the 1994 bombing of a Jewish cultural centre in Argentina, killing 85, and the bombing of a tourist bus in Bulgaria in 2012, killing six.”

He added: “Zarif represents a regime which has been complicit in massive violations of human rights beyond its borders, including in Syria, where it supports the Houthis, whose flag proclaims ‘Death to the Jews’.

“His is a government which sponsored a Holocaust cartoon competition, condemned around the world and notably by UNESCO. Zarif is the representative of a vile regime and a pariah terrorist state. His presence at Chatham House is an affront to anyone with a belief in peace and justice.”

Sir Eric Pickles MP, chairman of Conservative Friends of Israel, said: “The Foreign Minister needs to be clear that Iran will stop funding terrorism and that authorities within his country will cease making anti-Semitic remarks.”

Sir Richard Dalton, Britain’s former ambassador to Iran who is chairing the event, said: “I am glad Iran is present in the Syria talks and that they have an important role in combatting Islamic State.”

He added: “Long-term, Iran should change some of its policies so that they can be part of the solution to several Middle East security issues.

“I would say the same to Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Iraq, the Gulf States, and finally to Arab countries more widely, as regards their unrepresentative and abusive political systems.”

Support your Jewish community. Support your Jewish News

Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.

For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.

Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.

You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.

100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...


Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.


There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.


In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.


Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish Newsalso produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.

Easy access

In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.

Voice of our community to wider society

The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.

We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.

read more: