Iran says three judges review Jewish spy appeal
TEHRAN, July 29 (Reuters) - Iran has assigned a three-judge panel to
review an appeal by 10 Iranian Jews and two Moslems convicted of spying
for Israel, a judiciary official said on Saturday.
A foreign ministry spokesman said Tehran would ``not accept any meddlesome
statements'' from outside the country in the high profile espionage case.
``We have forwarded the case to Branch Nine of the appeals court and
three judges have been assigned exclusively to study the case,'' local
judiciary chief Hossein Ali Amiri told reporters in the southern city of
``The judges have been told not to investigate any other cases until
this one is completed,'' he said.
All of the accused have appealed their convictions, handed down earlier
this month. Sentences ranged from two to 13 years in jail.
Israel has denied any links to the convicted spies. Their trial, held
behind closed doors, was criticised by overseas Jewish groups and Western
The World Jewish Congress said on Friday that U.S. President Bill Clinton
had said he was pressing other heads of state to try to persuade Iran to
overturn the sentences.
``Please be assured that my administration has pressed every foreign
government that carries weight in Tehran to take up this case with the
Iranians and that I have personally raised the issue with any heads of
state I believe can be of help in this matter,'' Clinton wrote to the New
York-based advocacy group in a July 13 letter released earlier this week.
Elan Steinberg, WJC executive director, said the group had asked Britain,
France, Germany and the Netherlands to intercede with Iran. ``They have
assured us they have raised the plight of the Iranian Jews directly with
Iran,'' he said.
But Iran remained defiant, vowing not to yield to outside pressure.
``Our position is very clear. We have repeatedly said we will not accept
any meddlesome statements from anyone or any government at all,'' foreign
ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi said on Saturday.
``Our judiciary investigated the case, independently and based on the
national will and with independence,'' said Asefi, adding the defendants
were treated no differently because of their religion.