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Iran: Jews

Volume 483: debated on Tuesday 18 November 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent reports he has received on the treatment of Jews in Iran; what recent representations he has received on this matter; and if he will make a statement. (235696)

Judaism is one of the three minority religions officially recognised under the Iranian constitution. While we do have general concerns about freedom of religion and belief in Iran, we understand that the Jewish community has relatively good relations with the wider Muslim community in Iran. The Iranian Jewish community does face some institutional discrimination, but we do not believe that the community faces systematic persecution. We continue to monitor the situation closely and officials in Tehran and London regularly meet representatives of the Jewish community to discuss the situation of Jewish people in Iran.

In December 2007 the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution about human rights in Iran. The resolution, co-sponsored by the UK and all other EU member states, acknowledged and expressed concern at the situation of religious and ethnic minorities in Iran. We will continue to make clear to the Iranian authorities that persecution of individuals on the grounds of their religious beliefs is unacceptable and contrary to Iran's international human rights obligations, and that the rights of Iran’s religious minorities should be equal to those of all Iranian citizens. We continue to press the Iranian authorities to take seriously their international human rights obligations and uphold the right to freedom of religion and belief as described in article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (to which Iran is a state party).