Iran security forces arrested at least five Iranian Jews in the last few weeks amid the country’s ongoing anti-regime protests. 

According to Karmel Melamed, a source with ties to the Persian Jewish community, one of those arrested was released, but four more remain in custody. Two of those still in custody are university students who were arrested with other student protestors. 

Protests have been raging since September, after the abuse and death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini while in the custody of Iran’s “morality police.” The incident led to an outburst of anger against the Islamic ayatollah regime which has been ruling the state since 1979.

Shortly into the anti-regime protests, the Jewish community of Tehran issued a letter to its members, warning them not to attend synagogues, and calling on synagogues to close daily by 5 p.m. The unprecedented letter, which came right before the start of the High Holy Days, was seen by many as a sign of the tenuous position of Jews in the Islamic Republic. 

Furthermore, in November, the Tehran Central Jewish Committee released a letter condemning the protests, stating, “The community declares that it has always obeyed the position of the supreme leader.” 

Melamed, an Iranian-American journalist who shared the story of the Jews’ arrest with The Jerusalem Post, said, “Statements recently released by the Jewish community and Christian community leaders in support of the Islamic regime in Iran during the recent protests should be given zero credibility, because they were likely made under duress from the Iranian regime’s Intelligence Ministry.” 

According to George Haroonian, an Iranian-American Jew born in Tehran, the arrest of Jews in Iran does not indicate that the Islamic regime is targeting them. 

“Their arrests, in general, does not mean that they have been pinpointed as Jews,” he said. 

Haroonian further noted that young Iranian Jews, like other young Iranians, would naturally want to participate in protests against the regime. 

On Friday, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi vowed to continue crackdowns on the protests. 

“The identification, trial and punishment of the perpetrators of the martyrdom of security forces will be pursued with determination,” Raisi said at a ceremony honoring security forces who have died in the violent protests. 

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