Jewish Journal

Podcast: Why do 20,000 Jews still live in Iran?

by Karmel Melamed

October 16, 2008 | 11:15 am

Iranian Jewish activist Frank Nikbakht

With tensions growing between Iran and Israel this past year over Iran’s efforts to acquire nuclear weapons, many Jewish communities worldwide—especially Iranian Jews living in the U.S. have been worried about what will happen to the nearly 20,000 Jews still living in Iran should a military conflict arise between the two countries. There are perhaps less than a handful of Iranian Jewish experts in the U.S. and Europe who closely follow and research the actions of Iran’s radical Islamic government towards Jews and other religious minorities in Iran. One such Iranian Jewish activist is Frank Nikbakht, who I have frequently interviewed about the status of Jews living in Iran today and the anti-Semitic nature of Iran’s current regime. His documented research and expertise as director of the Committee for Religious Minorities in Iran, has been used by U.S. government officials in the State Department and by other prominent community leaders to shed light on the Iranian regime’s behavior towards Jews, Christians, Bahais still living in that country.

Our blog’s podcast recently caught up with Nikbakht to find out why on earth nearly 20,000 Jews still continue to live in Iran despite that regime’s hostility toward Israel and at times towards those individuals who do not follow the radical Shiite Islam prevalent in Iran.

We invite you to listen to our exclusive and eye opening podcast interview with Nikbakht that can be heard: here

It simply boggles the mind why any Jew would want to remain in Iran, especially today amidst growing tensions between Iran and Israel over Iran’s race to acquire nuclear weapons. Why on earth would any Jew continue living in a country whose leaders like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Ayatollah Ali Khamenei are pursuing nuclear weapons and constantly call for the destruction of the Jewish people living in Israel?! Honestly I can appreciate the fact that Jews have lived in that land for nearly 2,500 years and share a common history dating with Iran dated back to Cyrus the Great. However times have changed and unfortunately the Jews still living in Iran have still not woken up to the reality that they nor their children have any future in that country as long as the horrid current government remains in power there.



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Karmel Melamed is an internationally-published freelance journalist based in Southern California.

Since 2000, Melamed has specialized in covering the growing influential...

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