Mahmoud Ahmadinejad revealing his identity papers (Photo: London Telegraph)
Experts have examined Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's identity card from a 2008 photo and found his family name was changed from Sabourjian. The name Sabourjian derives from "weaver of the Sabour", the name for the Jewish Tallit shawl in Persia. This name is on an official Iranian list of Jewish family names.
The London Telegraph reported:
A photograph of the Iranian president holding up his identity card during elections in March 2008 clearly shows his family has Jewish roots.
A close-up 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.
The Sabourjians traditionally hail from Aradan...
Ali Nourizadeh, of the Centre for Arab and Iranian Studies, told the Telegraph this:
Ali Nourizadeh, of the Centre for Arab and Iranian Studies, said: "This aspect of Mr Ahmadinejad's background explains a lot about him.
"Every family that converts into a different religion takes a new identity by condemning their old faith.
"By making anti-Israeli statements he is trying to shed any suspicions about his Jewish connections. He feels vulnerable in a radical Shia society."