Report: Iran Arrests Two Jewish Teens for Scribbling 'Death to Haman' on a Wall

American Jews have been helping to seek the 17-year-olds' release, the Israeli newspaper Maariv reports.

Iranian Jewish women leave a synagogue, used as a polling station, after casting their votes during elections for the parliament and Assembly of Experts, which has the power to appoint and dismiss the supreme leader, in Tehran February 26, 2016.

Iranian police have recently arrested two Jewish youths, 17, accused of scrawling the words "death to Haman" on a Tehran wall, the Israeli daily Maariv newspaper reported.

Officials in the American Jewish Community were trying to intervene out of concern for the teens' welfare, though Iranian police have said they would free the youths after being assured that the Hebrew words were part of a holiday prank and not a political statement.  

Haman is the villain of the story of Purim, a holiday Jews celebrate later this week. According to the Purim story, Haman had plotted to murder all the Jews in Ancient Persia, but was stopped by the king who had him executed after his Jewish queen intervened.  

Maariv says the Jewish community numbers about 13,000 in Iran, half of whom live in the captial of Tehran. Most enjoy religious freedom, but some 55,000 Jews have departed Iran since the country became an Islamic republic in 1979.