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Eleven Jews intercepted trying to flee

AP Diplomatic Writer

Sept 21, 2000, WASHINGTON (AP) - Eleven Jews who attempted to leave Iran surreptitiously over a number of years have disappeared and could be imprisoned or have suffered an even worse fate, U.S. Jewish groups have told The State Department.

The disclosure coincided with a ruling by an appeals court in Iran reducing the time 10 other Iranian Jews found guilty of cooperating with Israel will be required to serve in prison.

The Jewish groups provided the State Department this week with a report of the disappearances. A department official said Thursday the report was being examined. The 11 Jews, from Tehran, Shiraz and other Iranian cities, have been missing for up to 10 years.

Their plight was taken up by Jewish leaders in a meeting Aug. 31 in New York with Mehdi Karrubi, speaker of the Iranian parliament. It was the first such meeting since the Islamic Revolution in 1979.

Malcolm Hoenlein, executive director of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, who was in the meeting with Karrubi, said Thursday he had told him of reports that some of the missing Jews had been seen by a Muslim prisoner in a jail near Tehran.

"We asked Mr. Karrubi to have the government of Iran look into this and provide information," Hoenlein told a reporters. "We have gone to the U.S. government and they have been responsive to our request that they help, as well."

Hoenlein said "this is a tragedy that has dragged on for many years and needs to be resolved."

Earlier this week, Salai Meridor, head of the Jewish Agency, took his concerns about the missing Jews to Sens. Carl Levin and Russell D. Feingold and to a half-dozen members of the House.

The 11 missing Jews, according to information obtained by The Associated Press, are:

Babak Shaoulian-Tehrani, 23, of Tehran; Shahin Nik-Khoo, 25, of Tehran; Salari Behzad, 27, of Kermanshah; Farad Ezati-Mahmoudi, 28, of Kermanshah; Homayoun Bala-Zade, 47, of Shiraz; Omid Solouki, 23, of Tehran; Rubin Kohan-Mosleh, 23, of Shiraz; Ibrahim Kohan-Mosleh, 22, of Shiraz; Syrous Ghahremani, 45 or 35, of Kermanshah; Ibrahim Ghahremani, 64, of Kermanshah; and Nourollah Rabi-Zade, 55, of Shiraz.


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