Menashe Amir, an expert on Iranian Jewry, asserted, “The religious radicals even expropriated part of the house and attached it to the mosque’s courtyard. The Jewish family appealed to the courts with the help of a local attorney, despite the threats to their lives.” Then, while the husband was in Tehran on business, “thugs broke into her home, tied up her two sisters who were living with her, and repeatedly stabbed her to death.” To date, the Iranian authorities have been in denial about the case, claiming that thieves and drug addicts were responsible for the murder.
According to the Jewish Journal, a group of Iranian Jewish activists in the United States are working together to raise awareness about this murder and to try to bring the murderers to justice. This new group, known as the Jewbareh Committee — named for the ancient Jewish ghetto in Isfahan— released a statement calling upon Iranians and the international community to push for a real investigation into the case. The statement read, ““The Jewbareh Committee has appealed to all the kindhearted Muslims and neighbors in Isfahan and around the Jewbareh district, as well as to honest police officials to observe the situation, report any suspicious findings and push authorities to launch a fair investigation into this matter.”
The Jewbareh Committee rejects the explanation that Tuba Nehdaran died in an armed robbery by drug addicts. The Jewish Journal reported, “The committee said the motive of robbery did not make sense, because the victim’s family was poor and living in a dilapidated home in one of the poorest areas of Isfahan. Committee members say they believe Nehdaran’s murder may have been premeditated because it took place during the Islamic month of Muharram, a holy time for religious Shiite Muslims, when they publicly mourn the killing of their prophet Hussein through large public rallies, as well as a time when religious fanatics have, for centuries, killed non-Muslims in Iran.”
Iran has a long history of persecuting the Jewish people. In 1830, a blood libel accusation in Tabriz resulted in the death of seven thousand Jews. In 1839, the leading Imam in Mashhad ordered the slaughter of all of the Jews in his city and every one who didn’t outwardly convert to Islam was massacred. Following the Iranian Revolution, Habib Elghanian was executed just for being an active member of the Jewish community. In the 1990’s, a group of kippah-wearing Jews were arrested on trumped up charges of spying for Israel. In recent times, Iranian Jewish children are often ostracized in schools and one Jewish store in Iran was firebombed. In 2009, 25,000 Jews lived in Iran, but since then that number has decreased to a mere 8,756.