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Iran: Religious Freedom

Volume 497: debated on Thursday 22 October 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the human rights situation of the Jewish community in Iran since July 2009; and if he will make a statement. (293293)

The situation of the Jewish community in Iran has long been of concern to us. Its members have suffered discrimination under the Islamic Republic: for example, Iranian Jews are barred from running for President, and from a number of professions, such as the armed forces. President Ahmadinejad's repeated denials of the Holocaust—most recently at the UN General Assembly in September—only serve to increase our concern.

We have been disturbed by the Iranian authorities' response to the protests that followed the disputed June 2009 presidential election, and in particular by the death and imprisonment sentences handed down in recent days. One of those convicted was the Jewish teenager, Yaghoghil Shaolian. He has been sentenced to two and a half years in prison. We are seeking more information about his case, as well as those of the other defendants, and will raise our concerns with the Iranian authorities, since those convicted and sentenced appear to have been denied a fair trial.