Rouhani Gives Money To Tehran Jewish Hospital

$400,000 unexpectedly delivered to the Dr. Sapir Hospital and Charity Center

By Stephanie Butnick|February 7, 2014 1:22 PM


In a surprising development out of Iran, President Hassan Rouhani has reportedly given $400,000 to Tehran’s only Jewish hospital, the New York Times reports [1]. The donation was dropped off at the Dr. Sapir Hospital and Charity Center [2] by Rouhani’s brother, Hossein Fereydoon, who came with a message: “Our government intends to unite all ethnic groups and religions, so we decided to assist you.”

The hospital was overjoyed, with a nurse telling the Times, “This is a good sign.”

It’s definitely something. I don’t mean to look a gift horse in the mouth, but the unexpected donation, which appears to have been given with little warning or context, raises a few questions. Is this part of Rouhani’s skillful charm offensive—a generous gesture of goodwill to a religious minority could potentially go a long way in softening the country’s image in the eyes of the West—or a genuine attempt at cultural change within the country?

The whole thing feels a bit too random, and haphazard, to be part of a wider initiative, though at the very least the donation means the hospital and the communities it serves will benefit tremendously.

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