PARIS (Mar. 19)
The former president of the Iranian Jewish community, Habib el Ghanian, was reportedly arrested last Friday by police, according to reports reaching Paris from Teheran. Another prominent Iranian Jewish businessman, Ruholloh Ray, was also reportedly arrested that someday. The two are being held in Teheran’s special prison for political suspects. They have not been formally charged but are reportedly accused of “corruption” and of “having profited from the Shah’s regime.”
According to other reports from Teheran, police officials have drawn up a list at some 4000 Jewish “suspects” who will not be allowed to leave the country once Iran’s borders will open for male national. For the last few weeks no Iranian males have been allowed out of the country except for official missions on behalf of the new regime.
According to Jewish sources, Iran’s Jews are increasingly anxious as to their future. Many are sending their children abroad and several hundred Iranian Jewish children arrived last week in Rome. The children, who are being cared for by the Lubavitcher Movement and the Otzar Hatorah organization, are housed in Ostia while waiting for transportation to the United States.
These two organizations have reportedly been promised American visas for the children who are expected to number over 1000 before the end of the month. Reliable sources say the Iranian authorities made no difficulty in permitting the children to leave and the American immigration authorities promised all necessary assistance.
Jewish Agency chairman Lean Dulzin, who is in Paris for an international symposium on Soviet Jewry, told a press conference here over the weekend that all Jews who want to leave Iran will be helped by the Agency. He said that in spite of the Iranian government’s decision not to permit Iranian adult males to leave the country “we can help them to do so as we have done for Jews in other countries where they were in danger.” Dulzin refused to give any details.
He said that 14,000 Iranian Jews settled in Israel during the recent upheavals and 9000 stayed there as tourists. Some 2000 have in the meantime returned to Iran and 5000 others have left for other destinations.