Iran will respect legal rights of accused spies
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) - Iran will respect the legal rights
of 13 Iranian Jews accused of spying for Israel and the United States,
the foreign minister said Thursday.
"They can have lawyers, and all the legal procedures will be observed,"
Kamal Kharrazi said in a weekly political program on state-run Iranian
"Their families can visit them."
Last week, U.S. State Department spokesman James P. Rubin said none
of the 13 has had access to counsel. The United States and Israel have
denied any were spying for them.
In addition to the 13 Jews, Kharrazi said there also were Muslim suspects
in the case.
The broadcast was monitored in Dubai.
A trial date has not been set, though proceedings were expected to begin
soon. Espionage in Iran is punishable by death. In 1997, Iran hanged two
people convicted of spying for Israel and the United States.
There are about 25,000 Jews in Iran .
Although allowed to practice aspects of their religion, they are forbidden
to teach Hebrew, the liturgical language.