Iran's vice president, Mohammad-Reza Rahimi, left. (Flickr/Presidencia de la Republica de Ecuador)

“The Islamic Republic of Iran will pay for anybody who can research and find one single Zionist who is an addict,” said Iran’s vice president, Mohammad-Reza Rahimi. “They do not exist. This is the proof of their involvement in drugs trade.”

That was part of Rahimi’s long, anti-Semitic screed at an international drug conference in New York on Tuesday, wherein he also claimed “Zionists” (a term Iran uses for Israelis and their Jewish supporters abroad) ordered gynecologists to kill black babies and that the Russian Revolution of 1917 was started by Jews. The speech has been widely denounced, including by United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, and Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who compared Iran to Hitler’s Germany. Alun Jones, spokesman for the Vienna-based United Nations Office, shot back that not only is the drug trade “motivated by business and profit,” rather than religion, but that “drug addiction is a health challenge which affects all people, of all kinds, of all race, of all creed.”

There’s no one who knows that better than Joe Levin, who treats Orthodox Jews for drug addiction on a regular basis in New York City.

“I don’t know about Zionist, but do Orthodox Jews use drugs? Absolutely,” says Levin, who runs a rehabilitation center through his consulting company TOT, in a phone conversation this morning. “Unfortunately people are willing to talk about sex abuse and molestation, but everybody is closing their eyes on drugs.”

After a long pause, Levin said there had been more than ten overdoses in the New York Jewish Orthodox community recently, and that many Orthodox Jews frequent clubs where they gamble and take drugs two or three times a week. As vile as Rahimi’s comments were, the dearth of “Zionist” addicts in the public eye is deliberate, according to Levin.

“No one even brings it to the public or discusses it. It’s something very under-the-rug….deep, deep, deep.”

Looks like Rahimi owes Levin some money.

Iran’s vice-president makes anti-Semitic speech at forum [New York Times]
UN denounces anti-Semitic remarks from Iran official [Reuters]