US President Promises to Work for Release of Jailed Iranian Jews
US President Bill Clinton told Jewish leaders Wednesday that he would work to win the release of 10 Iranian Jews, imprisoned on charges of spying for Israel, the community leaders said after a White House meeting.
Clinton said he would "try to mobilize leaders in Europe, Russia, Japan and other countries that have closer ties with Iran to work together with the United States to secure the release of these innocent people," said Malcolm Hoenlein, of the Conference of Presidents of major American Jewish organizations.
Clinton met at the White House for about one hour with relatives of the jailed Iranian Jews and with US Jewish leaders, including Hoenlein, Ronald Lauder, chairman of the Conference of Presidents; David Harris, the national executive director of the American Jewish Committee; and Abe Foxman, the national director of the Anti-Defamation League.
First Lady Hillary Clinton, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and national security adviser Samuel Berger also attended the meeting.
Hoenlein said the first lady asked many questions and that those at the meeting discussed the conditions of the prisoners, possibilities of appeal, and ways to ensure the security of the 27,000 Jews in Iran.
Relatives of the 10 imprisoned Jews told the Clintons that Iranian authorities harass the Jewish community, and that authorities had physically and psychologically tortured the prisoners until they confessed to spying for Israel.
"Their concern is that these people would not survive the kind of lengthy prison terms that some of them received," Hoenlein said.
The United States, Canada and a number of European countries have condemned Saturday's verdict, which saw 10 out of 13 Jews on trial sentenced to terms of between four and 13 years in jail.
Two Muslims were given two-year sentences, and three Jews and two other Muslims on trial were acquitted in the closed-door hearing by a revolutionary court in the Iranian city of Shiraz - WASHINGTON (AFP)
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