IranThe Mizrahi Project

Karmel's Story - Jews Have Been in Iran (Persia) Since 586 BC

IranThe Mizrahi Project
Karmel's Story - Jews Have Been in Iran (Persia) Since 586 BC

Watch Karmel's Story

Karmel Melamed was born in 1978, in Tehran, Iran. Jewish presence in Iran can be traced back to 586 B.C. As a journalist, Karmel has spent much of his time writing about the Jewish community and the difficulties they faced surrounding the Iranian Revolution.

One of the more prominent Jewish victims of Ayatollah Khomeini’s regime is Habib Elghanian. He was summarily executed by the Ayatollah’s regime on the 9th of May, 1979, on false charges of spying for Israel and the United States of America. Habib was a philanthropist and prominent leader within the Iranian-Jewish community. Witnessing the random brutality and injustice of Habib’s execution caused many Jews to flee Iran, fearing for their lives.

Although, the final straw which lead Karmel’s family to flee was much more personal. On the 31st of July of 1980, Ebrahim Berookhim — a good friend of Karmel’s parents — was jailed, tortured, and executed without a trial. Ebrahim was non-political, he was a thirty year old business man. The savage violence Ebrahim was subjected to was the deciding factor which led to Karmel’s family making the decision to finally leave Iran.

Karmel and his family left Iran in September of 1980, right before the war between Iran and Iraq began. Three days after they fled, Tehran’s international airport was shut down due to the war. After leaving their home in Iran, the family traveled to Hamburg, Germany, where they stayed with relatives for a time. Soon after, they made their way to Israel. They were eventually granted asylum in the United States — starting from nothing, they began the process of rebuilding their lives in Los Angeles, California. 

Karmel went on to become an accomplished journalist, whose work has been published in American news outlets, as well as internationally. He also blogs for Times Of Israel, Jewish Journal, and others. He remains committed to making known the Iranian regime’s human rights abuses which continue to this day, and is an outspoken advocate for the Mizrahi Jewish community. Karmel still resides in California, where he serves on the speakers bureau of JIMENA (Jews Indigenous to The Middle East and North Africa).