Iran is sure that 13 Jews accused of espionage are guilty,
and has documents to prove it, a senior judge said in
comments published in Teheran.
"It is certain that these individuals were spies. There is no
doubt about this. The court has enough strong evidence and
documents proving this," Gholamhossein Rahbarpour, the head
of Teheran's Revolutionary Courts, told the hard-line
Jomhuri-ye Eslami daily.
He said the trial is expected to begin shortly in the
Revolutionary Court in Shiraz.
The Jews being held include at least one rabbi. They were
arrested in March on charges of spying for Israel and the
United States. They could face the death penalty if
convicted. Seven other Iranian citizens were also
Both Israel and the United States have said the spy charges
are unfounded and, along with France, Germany and Amnesty
International, have lodged protests.
Rahbarpour indicated that all Iranian officials are convinced
the charges were accurate.
A Jewish member of Iran's Parliament, Manouchehr Eliyasi,
said that Iran's Jewish community fears the worst, but is
hoping for a "just outcome" in the trial.
"By inflating the facts, the foreign media are trying to harm
national unity," Eliyasi said. "I hope the judicial
authorities will examine the issue as quickly as possible,
while respecting the legal rights of the accused, and submit
a just verdict in order to dispel the fears of my
A Jewish community group in Iran has questioned espionage
charges leveled against 13 Iranian Jews arrested for
allegedly spying for Israel, a newspaper reported.
The daily Entekhab quoted Teheran's Jewish community
council as saying in a statement: "Spying requires certain
capacities and equipment, a condition not fulfilled by the
accused, according to the knowledge that we have about most
of them. Most of the accused are well-known figures of Iran's
Jewish and Hebrew teachers."
It said it would collect donations from Iran's Jewish
community of about 30,000 to pay for the defendants'
Senior Iranian sources have recently been quoted as saying
that Israel is involved in the case and that those arrested
merely "carried out the instructions of the mastermind of the
spy ring," who has not been apprehended.
Meanwhile, Iran has dismissed as biased a new U.S. human
rights report that criticized Iran for religious intolerance,
the daily Iran News said.
"The U.S. State Department has circulated a biased and unjust
view on the status of religious minorities in the Islamic
Republic of Iran. This is an indication of its ignorance of
human rights in this country," the paper quoted Foreign
Ministry spokesman Hamid-Reza Asefi as saying.