Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif thanked the Parsis of India for offering COVID-19 aid to his country in a tweet on Friday. The Parsis, as their name implies, migrated to India from Persia centuries ago. They are in actuality Zoroastrians, one of the oldest religions in the world which pre-dates Islam and Christianity.
Article in Jerusalem Post
The Parsis of India—Zoroastrians whose ancestors long ago emigrated to India—have remained ever faithful in their love for Iran. Grateful for their #Covid19 package for Iranians.
— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) May 8, 2020
Despite their powerful history in Iran and actually being the majority religion before the arrival of Islam, the Islamic Republic forbids Zoroastrians from holding public office beyond that allocated to official minorities in the Iranian constitution. It is not allowed for people of mixed families to practice the faith if their father is a Muslim. Khomeini thought of them as “dishonorable, fire-worshiping knaves”.
In India, the Parsis are famous for refusing to bury their dead in the ground or to burn them, as they view both earth and fire as sacred, instead, bodies are kept in towers for vultures to consume.
Due to pollution, the numbers of vultures in India are going down and the integrity of this unique form of burial is under threat.