Sunday 24 February 2008
TEHRAN — Fearing reprisals, Zoroastrian representative to the Iranian Parliament Kurosh Niknam was forced to reject Western claims that minorities face discrimination in Iran. But anybody knows like the Jewish and Christian Armenian communities, Zoroastrians are discriminated and humiliated by Muslims in Iran. They have their own representatives to the Iranian Parliament (Majlis), but it’s only a formality.
«Iran is our birthplace. Our prophet (Zoroaster) was born in this country», explained Kurosh Niknam. Zoroaster is believed to have lived in the 6th century BCE.
Zoroastrianism was the dominant belief in Persia until the advent of Islam, some thirteen centuries ago. The pre-Islam faith is one of three recognized minority religions in the country together with Christianity and Judaism.
The U.S. State Department claimed in 2007 that religious minorities do not enjoy equal opportunity employment and suffer from discrimination in Iran, particularly in the education and housing industries. These claims are confirmed by Iranians, even Muslims, fleeing their country.