Iran: Jewish lawmaker heads to UN with president

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran's only Jewish lawmaker said Thursday that he will be part of President Hasan Rouhani's delegation to the United Nations next week, a first for the Islamic Republic.

Siamak Moreh Sedgh, who represents Iran's Jewish community in the country's parliament, told The Associated Press that he will accompany Rouhani on his visit to New York. Moreh Sedgh said he is just waiting for his U.S. visa.

Moreh Sedgh, 48, has represented his community in parliament since 2012.

This represents the first time the Iranian president will be accompanied by a Jewish lawmaker to the U.N. The move is seen as fulfilling Rouhani's promise to give a bigger role in governance to minorities in the country.

It also is a stark contrast from Rouhani's predecessor, former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who prompted international outcry by repeatedly denying the Holocaust took place while also calling for the destruction of Israel.

Rouhani is scheduled to address the assembly on Tuesday and give another speech on disarmament later in New York.

Iran's Jewish population is the largest Jewish community in the Middle East after Israel. In the 1990s, Jewish lawmaker Morris Moatamed accompanied then-parliament speaker Mahdi Karroubi to New York.