I came across to Irish journalist Kevin Sites’ www.hotzone.yahoo.com website. This guy is amazing. He travels all over the Middle East and writes about things that we cannot read in the mainstream media.

He has interviewed Hezbollah members and found out that they are thousands of HIV patients in Iran (who would think that in a such conservative society people even do sex brows.gif ?).

One of the last articles of Kevin Sites (“We Are Citizens of This Country,” 18 January, 2006) is about the Armenian and the Jews of Iran. The fascinating article tells of a Muslim family attending the Armenian Christmas service. The article also reveals that Christians are permitted to drink in their homes (I did not know this!), while Muslims are prohibited.

Attached Image
Archival photo: Tadei vank (the cathedral of St. Thaddeus) in Iran. This Armenian monument is one of the most ancient churches of the Christian world, and is preserved by the Iranian government.

Coming to the Jews, Sites quotes some Iranian Jews saying that the Iranian administration distinguishes Judaism from Zionism, and that Iran has political problems with Israel, while the Iranian Jews have religious connection (and not political) with Israel. Indeed, Sites also notes that the Iranian Jews might not have the opportunity to say what they think, but apparently Iranian Jews are not in a desperate situation.

One man tells me, pouring a glass of Johnny Walker Red whisky over ice, "We have more freedoms than even the Muslims. They would never be able to do this."

Christians are allowed to have alcohol in their homes and sometimes for holiday celebrations, but for the Muslim population it's strictly forbidden.

Others at the party agree, saying they don't face discrimination in Iran and can even travel more freely, usually to Armenia and to the United States…

Iran also has a Jewish minority, which at its peak numbered about 80,000. Shortly after the Islamic Revolution, many immigrated to the U.S. and some to
Israel, leaving a community of about 25,000 today.

Still, it is the largest Jewish community in the Middle East, outside of Israel.

At the Jewish Community Center in Tehran, Dr. Unes Hammai-Lalehzar says the Jewish population has had its ups and downs, but he doesn't believe there's any discrimination from the general public…

I added a comment in Kevin’s website saying that he could have mentioned that Iran is the ONLY neighbor of Armenia that takes care of the Armenian religious monuments, while Armenian churches and cathedrals are raped on regular basis in Turkey, Azerbaijan and even in Christian Georgia.