of the Iranian president holding up his identity card during elections
in March 2008 clearly shows his family has Jewish roots.
of the document reveals he was previously known as Sabourjian –
a Jewish name meaning cloth weaver.
The short note
scrawled on the card suggests his family changed its name to Ahmadinejad
when they converted to embrace Islam after his birth.
traditionally hail from Aradan, Mr Ahmadinejad’s birthplace, and
the name derives from "weaver of the Sabour", the name
for the Jewish Tallit shawl in Persia. The name is even on the list
of reserved names for Iranian Jews compiled by Iran’s Ministry of
night suggested Mr Ahmadinejad’s track record for hate-filled attacks
on Jews could be an overcompensation to hide his past.
of the Centre for Arab and Iranian Studies, said: "This aspect
of Mr Ahmadinejad’s background explains a lot about him.
family that converts into a different religion takes a new identity
by condemning their old faith.
anti-Israeli statements he is trying to shed any suspicions about
his Jewish connections. He feels vulnerable in a radical Shia society."
expert on Iranian Jewry said that "jian" ending to the
name specifically showed the family had been practising Jews.
changed his name for religious reasons, or at least his parents
had," said the Iranian-born Jew living in London. "Sabourjian
is well known Jewish name in Iran."
for the Israeli embassy in London said it would not be drawn on
Mr Ahmadinejad’s background. "It’s not something we’d talk
about," said Ron Gidor, a spokesman.