I am often asked about the Jewish community in Iran. I have also written a number of blog posts about them.
According to a new article by the Associated Press, life under President Rouhani has improved for Iran’s Jewish community which according to a 2006 census numbered 9252 souls.
It is safe to assume that this number has decreased over to years, due to ageing and more importantly, continued immigration mainly to the U.S.
Click to read the article: Iran’s Jews find greater acceptance under Rohani
Tonight, France24 aired an interesting short report about Iran’s Jewish community.
Entitled “Being Jewish in the Islamic Republic of Iran”, it takes a brief look at the life and challenges of Iran’s 8800 strong Jewish community.
There have recently been a number of murders in Iran, where the victims were Jews. This has created concern for Jewish Iranians abroad. However to date there has been no proof that the victims were killed because of their religion. All we have to go on is hearsay. Once we know more, then we can judge. From my conversations with members of Iran’s Jewish community who recently left Iran, Jews in Iran do not feel threatened because of their religion.
“Just keep your head down, make your money and don’t get into trouble with the government by talking about politics or taking part in demonstrations. Then you will be fine” I was told.
In terms of whether the life of Iran’s Jews would be in danger in case of war between Iran and Israel, I personally find it difficult to believe that regime will start killing its own Jewish population in such a situation. It could start attacking Jewish targets abroad, like it did with AMIA in Buenos Aires in 1994, but massacring its own Jews is a self-defeating move which Iran’s leadership is very unlikely to make.
Living as a Jew in Iran is not ideal. Iran’s Jews face inequality in a number of areas such as getting government jobs, but I would not say that they are living in danger. Lets hope it does not come to this, but if they decide, they can leave anytime they wish, (unless they are taking part in national service). Its not like in the 80s when we had to go through hell to get an exit visa.
You can watch the report here