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IRAN - July 8 - US Criticism Ignored.

Iran dismisses US criticism of its' handling of the Jewish spy trial, denouncing what it calls interference in its internal affairs at the behest of Israel. 'IRNA' quotes foreign ministry spokesman Asefi as saying the comments by US officials violated "the norms and standards of international relations". Asefi says: "How can American officials permit themselves to interfere so boldly in the internal affairs of the Islamic Republic"? adding: "Repeated interference by American officials in this case is evidence of Israel's influence over them. It would be better for US officials not to be influenced by Israel and to avoid unreasonable positions and injudicious statements". On July 5, US Pres. Clinton told relatives of some of those convicted that the US would do all it could to win the swift release of the 10 Jews, sentenced to between 4 and 13 years in prison by a Revolutionary Court. (2 Iranian Muslims, a military officer and a defence contractor, were sentenced to 2 years each for collaborating with the Israeli spy ring.)

Former Iranian Pres. Rafsanjani ridicules Clinton's pledge. Rafsanjani says: "Clinton boasted that the US would not allow the Jews to remain in prison", adding: "The blind accusation against the judiciary is very impudent and impertinent". Overseas Jewish groups and Western governments had dismissed the espionage trial, held behind closed doors, as unfair, while Israel denied the accused had any links to its Mossad intelligence service. However, Iranian judiciary officials defended the process, saying the hearing was closed to protect national security. They also made an effort to brief foreign correspondents during the trial. Defence lawyers for the Jews, meanwhile, have blasted foreign criticism of the verdicts, saying it has complicated their effort to win on appeal.
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Publication:APS Diplomat Recorder
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:7IRAN
Date:Jul 8, 2000
Words:286
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