3 members of Iran’s Jewish community arrested amid protests; 1 released
Two people detained in Tehran and third individual arrested in Shiraz; community members express hope all will be freed soon
Three members of Iran’s small Jewish community have been arrested as part of the crackdown on the ongoing anti-regime protests, a leader of the community has said.
The source, based outside Iran, told The Times of Israel that two of the arrests were in Tehran and one in Shiraz.
The source said one of those arrested in Tehran had already been released, and there was hope that the other two detained individuals would soon be set free.
It was not clear what grounds, if any, were given for the arrests.
Protests have spread across Iran since the death of Mahsa Amini while in the custody of the so-called “morality police” in Tehran in September.
Authorities have responded with a crackdown that the Oslo-based group Iran Human Rights says has killed at least 458 people, including more than 60 children.
Thousands have been arrested, including prominent actors and soccer stars.
Last month the Tehran Jewish community condemned the protests, which were sparked by Amini’s death after she was detained for allegedly violating the Islamic Republic’s strict dress code.
In a letter, the Tehran Central Jewish Committee said it was standing by the Iranian regime amid a deadly crackdown on protesters.
“This is a condemnation of the recent unrest in the country that led to the death and injury of several people in our country, as well as many financial losses to the country,” the letter said.
“The community declares that it has always obeyed the position of the supreme leader,” it added.
“The community declares that the enemies of the system are creating insecurity by targeting the unity of the people. In recent days, unfortunate events and incidents have occurred in our beloved country, which has hurt the hearts of those loyal to Iran and the holy Islamic system,” the letter said.
“The community asks all members of our dear country to avoid polarizing the country and to discuss things. We hope that in the near future we will see unity, peace, security, and happiness in our beloved country,” it added.
In September, during the first weeks of the protests, the committee issued a letter warning members to avoid synagogues during the violence.
Prior to the Islamic Revolution in 1979, there were some 100,000 Jews in Iran; by 2016, according to an Iranian census, that number had fallen to below 10,000.
Prominent figures in the Jewish community of Iran intermittently issue anti-Israel statements that match the regime’s agenda.
The Jewish community in Iran has previously taken other precautionary measures to protect members, with the country’s chief rabbi saying last year that he condemned the US killing of top Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Gen. Qassem Soleimani in 2020, amid fears Jews could be physically attacked by some Muslim neighbors.
Iran is openly sworn to Israel’s destruction and financially supports terrorist groups like Hezbollah and Hamas that are also committed to this aim.
Agencies contributed to this report.