Iran's Jewish Leaders: Spy Trial Coverage Inspiring Anti-Semitism

Published May 24th, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

Anti-semitic acts have flared in Iran in recent days, inspired by televised confessions by some of a group of 13 Jews accused of spying for Israel, Iranian Jewish leaders charged Wednesday. 

The president of the Association of Iranian Jews, Harun Yashayai, told reporters that a curtain store belonging to a Jewish trader in western Tehran's Tohid Square had been torched on May 16. 

Newly elected Jewish legislator, Maurice Motamed, meanwhile said Jewish schoolchildren and teenagers in Shiraz had been recently subjected to verbal abuse. 

"The televised confessions have placed a cloud over the Jewish community," Motamed said. 

Yashayai said, "The Iranian Jewish community is overwhelmed and dismayed at the trial, where the rights of some of the defendants have not been respected. 

"The confessions made by some of the accused in front of TV cameras have no value. Some of them made a sworn statement, but this was under duress. To make accusations about espionage on the grounds of religious conviction is baseless." He added that the defendants were under pressure, as they had spent 15 months in detention, in isolation. They were unable to have family visits throughout their detention. The television scripted the interviews, and what was said against the accused was far removed from reality." 

However, Yashayai said, "I am sure that the Iranian people have never been anti-semitic, we are not worried on that score." 

The two were speaking shortly before the start of the closed door trial's ninth day. 

The trial, which began April 13, has raised international concern about its fairness, which Iran has angrily rejected. US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright last week called the hearings "a government show trial." – SHIRAZ (AFP) 

 

© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)

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