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Archivierte Meldungen aus den Jahren 1995 - 1999

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13 Juden droht im Iran die Todesstrafe

Im Iran droht 13 unter Spionageverdacht festgenommenen Mitgliedern der jüdischen Gemeinde die Todesstrafe. Wie das iranische Außenministerium am Donnerstag mitteilte, sollen die Juden nach dem islamischen Recht, der Scharia, verurteilt werden. Dieses sieht die Todesstrafe bei Spionage für Israel und die USA vor.

Der desiginierte israelische Ministerpräsident Ehud Barak bat nach israelischen Radiomeldungen Bundeskanzler Gerhard Schröder, Teheran um deine Freilassung der Beschuldigten zu ersuchen. Bonn ist derzeit um Kontakt zum Iran bemüht. Die am Montag vom iranischen Rundfunk gemeldeten Festnahmen sollen schon vor 2 Monaten in Isfahen und Schiran erfolgt sein.

Die jüdische Minderheit im Iran, dessen Bevölkerung zu 99 % dem Islam angehört, ist seit der Machtübernahme der moslemischen Fundamentalisten im Jahr 1979 von 62 000 auf etwa 25 000 gesunken. Die Hälfte der iranischen Juden lebt in der Hauptstadt Teheran, die übrigen in den Städten Schiras, Hamadan, Kermanschah, Kaschan und Isfahan.

Die Proteste westlicher Staaten sowie der USA und Israels wurden vom iranischen Außenministerium als "Einmischung in innere Angelegenheiten" Irans kritisiert.

A farewell gift from Yazdi

The hardline head of Iran's judiciary system, Ayatollah Mohammed Yazdi, will end his public career with a flourish. The arrest and trial of 13 Iranian Jews on espionage charges is certain to embarrass the moderate regime of President Khatami and to raise protest against U.S. attempts to block arms sales to Tehran.

By Zvi Bar'el (haAretz Sunday, June 20, 1999)

"Public opinion polls cannot be relied upon. Everything is in God's hands. Whether the polls predict victory for this candidate or that, the outcome is already determined by God. Polls are thus against the will of God." This profound philosophy is among the more moderate utterances of Ayatollah Mohammed Yazdi, the head of the Iranian judiciary, in denunciation of all things modern.Yazdi, one of the more powerful figures in Iran today, has an opinion or a saying on nearly every issue. "Women," he declared back in 1986, "are the property of the husband, which means their purpose is to serve men ... Even if prostrating oneself before Allah is not mandatory, women must prostrate themselves before their husbands." On the appointment of women as judges, Yazdi says: "Women simply lack the patience to follow the legalistic twists and turns that take place in a court of law. Believe me, I know. I've been there, and I know what I am talking about."

But Mohammed Yazdi's chief battle is against the Iranian press, especially those who support the president, Mohammed Khatami. Yazdi is responsible for the closure of at least a dozen newspapers, including an attempt to halt the publication of "Zen," a women's magazine edited by Faezah Rafsanjani. Rafsanjani, the daughter of former Iranian president Hashemi Rafsanjani, published a letter from the Shah's widow on the eve of a Muslim festival. Yazdi hastily assembled a special panel of religious judges to decide her fate. Rafsanjani announced that she would not appear before Yazdi's court and "he could not tell her, the daughter of the Rafsanjani family which had spilled its blood in fighting for the homeland, what treason was." Formally, she accused the court of being unconstitutional and unauthorized to judge her case.

Yazdi is also furious at the former minister of Islamic instruction, Atta'ullah Muhajerani, a moderate man who supports President Khatami. He has accused Muhajerani of ignorance of the laws of journalism. "Better that he should read the law again before ruling that a newspaper which has just changed its name but not its editorial board is a new publication ... Newspapers and magazines that have sprung up like mushrooms simply pick up sharpened pencils to attack the foundations of the Islamic nation," he charged.

The sound of Yazdi's name sends shivers down the spines of intellectuals, moderate politicians, businessmen and those who belong to minority groups. As the head of the judiciary and the country's institutions of law and order, he has control over the intelligence agencies, the police and various investigating authorities. He can interpret the law as he sees fit, issue regulations on how to deal with detainees and prisoners, and if there is any question, determine the nature of the crime of which they are accused. Two months ago, when several members of the opposition were murdered, among them writers and journalists, President Khatami gave orders to establish an investigating committee to track down the killers. Yazdi quickly set up his own committee to insure that Khatami's men would not lay hands on the wrong people. These two bodies did not cooperate, of course, and Yazdi's committee was forced to lower its tone when it was discovered that intelligence agents of the Revolutionary Guards were responsible for the murders.

Religious watchdog

Yazdi is also a member of the "Council of Experts," a body established by Ayatollah Khomeini to keep an eye on religious matters connected with the state. This elected council has expanded its activities far beyond its original mandate. It checks out the suitability of candidates for presidency and parliament, oversees parliamentary legislation to insure there are no conflicts with religion - or its interpretation of religion - and has slowly become the supreme judge not only in religious affairs but in matters of state. This Council of Experts can decide whether going to war against Afghanistan or Iraq is the will of God or not. As a member of this council, for example, Yazdi declared that Iraq's war against Kuwait went against Islam and hence Iraq should not be supported.

Yazdi, who walks around in public armed with a Kalashnikov, is certainly an interesting character. Now, with the fate of 13 Jews accused of spying for Israel and the United States, including the rabbi of Shiraz, resting in his hands, interest in him has skyrocketed. Yazdi has already declared that if they are found guilty, they will receive the maximum punishment, i.e. the death sentence, "and we don't care what the world says."

Through Iran's conservative newspapers, Yazdi has been spreading the idea, through commentators, that these people are dangerous spies. One paper quotes the spokesman of the Iranian State Department, who was asked to comment on the arrest of the Jews. "The spokesman said he was not authorized to speak about intelligence matters," writes this political analyst. "This is a very odd response. It proves we are talking about an intelligence matter." Another analyst maintains that because the arrests were carried out in March and they have been made public only now, talks must have been going on incognito to release the prisoners earlier - and secret talks are for inscrutable affairs. The decisive proof, according to this Iranian commentator, lies in the fact that 30 Jews were originally arrested and now only 13 are left. If the authorities were after them just because they were Jews, they would all be in prison now.

The fact that Yazdi holds the fate of these Jews in his hand is probably why international efforts to release them have hit a brick wall. American diplomatic sources say that even the Iranian ambassador to the United Nations has been instructed not to get involved, and that the affair is being dealt with at the highest echelons. The Americans speculate that the charges have been fabricated to serve two main purposes: to embarrass Khatami and to arouse protest against U.S. attempts to block arms sales to Iran. The power struggle being waged in Iran between Khatami and the conservative elements headed by Ayatollah Ali Khameni and Yazdi's gang, needs no proof.

"We are no longer talking about the character of the state," says an Iranian journalist living in the United States, "but about power, money and influence. It is clear to Khameni and his men that they have lost the public battle. The outcome of the presidential and municipal elections have proven that the public is not with them. Now they are fearfully awaiting the elections for parliament. But they still wield a great deal of power, which can torpedo Khatami's liberal aspirations. An affair like this, especially if the Jews are executed, will set up a great outcry against the Iran government, to the point where no one will distinguish any more between Khatami and Khameni. As far as the world is concerned, there is only one Iran."

The last hope

After Jesse Jackson's failed attempt to meet with the Iranian ambassador to the UN, and European diplomats, especially Germans, have made inquiries and tried to influence the Iranians without success, the Americans believe the Russians are the one last hope. Here the matter becomes very complicated for the United States. A bill proposed by congressman Bill Gillman at the urging of American Jewish lobby AIPAC now lies on the table in Congress, setting up some stiff conditions. It calls for the government to freeze financial aid to the Russian space program until the president ascertains that the Russians are opposed to the transfer of weapons of mass destruction to Iran and are taking practical measures to keep this from happening. A further condition is that the Russian space agency and its subsidiaries do not cooperate with any missile programs in Iran.

Russia, which does not lack for reasons to be angry at the U.S., considering all that has happened in Kosovo, is absolutely furious about this bill. If passed, it could mean a serious setback for the Russian space program and the Russian economy. "To say that the United States feels uncomfortable about asking the Russians to negotiate the release of the Jewish prisoners in Iran is the understatement of the year," says an American diplomat. "Nowadays, it is also hard to find ways of pressuring the Iranian government - when you have Khatami, whom we believe is interested in helping, and when every sanction you can think of is already being imposed."

"The best solution one can hope for is a vague wording of the charge sheet," says an Iranian lawyer exiled in London. "That's how problems were usually avoided in the past. If they charge them with harming the country rather than espionage, for example, that could be seen as a desire for compromise. Releasing them altogether is more than I would expect. The judicial system, which has certainly flexed it muscles in this case, has climbed up a very high tree. How can Khatami challenge the judicial system while he himself has been calling for equality in the courts? He couldn't even save his staunchest supporters, like the mayor of Tehran, so what use could he be to members of a minority?"

This minority group - Iran's 30,000 remaining Jews - made haste, through its representatives in parliament, to declare that it enjoys all the rights to which it is entitled under law, and has no complaint against the government. Reports compiled by journalists and researchers who visited Iran before the arrests show that the religious and minority rights of Jews are indeed being safeguarded. Guards are stationed beside the large synagogues, the study of Hebrew is permitted, and bar mitzvahs and Jewish weddings are performed. The Jews are the only ones in Iran allowed to hold mixed celebrations for men and women, even if they do so in synagogues decorated with portraits of Khomeini. Jews, it is true, cannot hold senior government positions, and they are barred from visiting Israel. Such a visit would mean losing their Iranian citizenship. Nevertheless, the fact that only half the Jewish population has left Iran illustrates that it is not perceived as just a temporary shelter but a homeland.

Yazdi has bestowed upon the Jews and the Iranian government a farewell gift, after announcing that this August, after two terms and ten years in office, he plans to retire from public service. Diagnosed with cancer of the liver, he has already chosen a replacement for the Council of Experts. From accounts in the Iranian press, the new man appears to be a man no less conservative in his views than Yazdi. Yazdi could not have chosen a more successful way of leaving office. What could be better than accusing Jews of spying for the Zionists and imperialists, and getting Khatami, the father of all evil, tangled up in it

© copyright 1999 Ha'aretz. All Rights Reserved

HELFT DEN GEFANGENEN IM IRAN!Haben Sie eine Minute Zeit?
Uns fehlt noch Ihre Unterschrift!

Verhaftung von Juden im Iran:
Der iranische Fundamentalstaat versetzt die Welt

in Schrecken und unsere Brüder in Todesangst!

Unsere Brüder sind in Gefahr: [Was tun?]

Die hier archivierten Artikel stammen aus den "Anfangsjahren" der breiten Nutzung des Internet. Damals waren die gestalterischen Möglichkeiten noch etwas ursprünglicher als heute. Wir haben die Artikel jedoch weiterhin archiviert, da die Informationen durchaus noch interessant sein können, u..a. auch zu Dokumentationszwecken.

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