March 30, 2020

Iranians Threaten to Replace Tomb of Esther with Palestinian Consulate

TEHRAN, IRAN - JUNE 19: Pro-government demonstrators burn an American flag at Tehran University, on June 19, 2009 in Tehran, Iran. Making his first public appearance after daily protests over the official election results, Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei spoke at Friday Prayers, calling for an end to street protests over last week's disputed presidential election. He is siding with declared winner Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. (Photo by Getty Images)

A hard-line student group in Iran has threatened to destroy the Tomb of Esther and Mordechai in the north of the country in revenge for the Trump administration’s peace plan.

The Basij group in Hamadan province, where the tomb is located, earlier this month said it would tear down the historic building and replace it with a Palestinian consulate in revenge against Israel and Washington over the recently unveiled proposal.

The threat was first published in the Iranian Student News Network.

The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom tweeted last week that it was “troubled by reported threats to the tomb of Esther and Mordechai in Hamadan, Iran, and emphasizes the Iranian government’s responsibility to protect religious sites.”

The Alliance for Rights of All Minorities in Iran also tweeted about the plan to destroy the tomb and put a Palestinian consulate in its place.

The building is believed to house the tombs of Esther and Mordechai, the heroes of the Purim story. Purim will be celebrated this year on March 10.

The tweet noted that the burial site “has been a significant Jewish landmark for Jews and history buffs around the world.”

Critics of the plan point to the fractured, multi-enclave Palestinian entity at its heart and at the green light to Israel to annex about 30 percent of the West Bank.