Christians and Jews are familiar with the biblical narrative of how the ancient ruler of the Persian Empire, Cyrus, granted the Jewish people their freedom after his conquest of the Babylonia in 538 B.C. His proclamation launched the most meaningful “aliyah” [going up to Israel] until modern times.
The Persian ruler even contributed treasure to help finance the rebuilding of Solomon’s Temple in Jerusalem, which had been destroyed by the Babylonian king, Nebuchadnezzar.
There is, however, a different narrative. When Zoroastrianism was declared the official state religion during the Sassanid Dynasty (224-651 A.D.), the plight of Iran’s Jews deteriorated.
This fusion of state and religion gave Zoroastrian clerics more political power than the monarchy. It also led to the enforcement of intolerant uniform rules of worship for all of Persia’s citizenry