Eleven Jews intercepted trying to flee
By BARRY SCHWEID
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
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.