Persian Jews or Iranian Jews (Persian: یهودیان ایرانی, yahudiān-e-Irāni; Hebrew: יהודים פרסים) are the descendents of Jews who were historically associated with the Persian Empire, whose successor state is Iran. The biblical books of Esther, Isaiah, Daniel, Ezra, and Nehemiah contain references to the lives and experiences of Jews who lived in Persia. Dating back to biblical times, Iranian Jews constitute one of the world’s oldest and most historically significant Jewish communities. Jews have had a continuous presence in Iran since the time of Cyrus the Great of the Achaemenid Empire. Cyrus invaded Babylon and freed the Jews from the Babylonian captivity.
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- "…they are obliged to live in a separate part of town…; for they are considered as unclean creatures… Under the pretext of their being unclean, they are treated with the greatest severity and should they enter a street, inhabited by Mussulmans, they are pelted by the boys and mobs with stones and dirt… For the same reason, they are prohibited to go out when it rains; for it is said the rain would wash dirt off them, which would sully the feet of the Mussulmans… If a Jew is recognized as such in the streets, he is subjected to the greatest insults. The passers-by spit in his face, and sometimes beat him… unmercifully… If a Jew enters a shop for anything, he is forbidden to inspect the goods… Should his hand incautiously touch the goods, he must take them at any price the seller chooses to ask for them... Sometimes the Persians intrude into the dwellings of the Jews and take possession of whatever please them. Should the owner make the least opposition in defense of his property, he incurs the danger of atoning for it with his life... If... a Jew shows himself in the street during the three days of the Katel (Muharram)…, he is sure to be murdered."
- J. J. Benjamin quoted in Lewis, Bernard (1984). The Jews of Islam. Princeton: Princeton University Press. ISBN 0-691-00807-8.