Although the number of non-Muslims in contemporary Iran is quite small, well under one percent of the population, the religions they represent are of considerable interest for both historical and cultural reasons. Zoroastrianism, for example, preceded Islam as the national religion of Iran and has greatly infl uenced both Iranian culture and the development of other world religions. The economic, and at times political, importance of Christians and Jews in Iran has been much more than their numbers might suggest. Thus some attention should be given here to the place of these minority religions in Iranian life and culture. The secular orientation of the Pahlavi regime afforded religious minorities in Iran unprecedented freedoms and opportunities, in many ways effectively removing religion as a component of Iranian nationality. With the advent of the Islamic Republic, the country returned to the traditional model of treating certain non-Muslims in an Islamic state as zemmis, “protected” or “ tolerated” citizens. To be accorded this status, the non-Muslim must be a follower of one of the revealed religions ( ahl-ol-ketâb, “people of the book”). These are recognized explicitly by Article 13 of the constitution of the Islamic Republic as the religions of Zoroastrianism, Christianity, and Judaism. Citizens of these faiths are guaranteed the freedom to practice their religious rites and ceremonies, to receive religious instruction, to follow certain aspects of their religious law in personal affairs, and to elect representatives of the minority communities to the Iranian parliament (Majles). The government is obliged to treat them justly and to respect their human rights so long as they “refrain from engaging in conspiracy or activity against Islam and the Islamic Republic of Iran” (Article 14). In practice, however, a number of subtle forms of discrimination make it diffi cult for non-Muslims to be fully integrated into Iranian society, and certain political offi ces are reserved for Muslims only.