JERUSALEM (Apr. 15)
The Iranian authorities have imposed restrictions on travel abroad which may turn tens of thousands of Iranian Jews into homeless refugees or force them to return to Iran, according to Likud MK Moshe Katzev, head of the organization of Iranian Jewish immigrants in Israel.
According to Katzev, the new regulations require Jews who wish to leave Iran for limited periods to appoint a guarantor responsible for their return. Should they not return, the guarantor would be subject to legal proceedings.
Jews who want to emigrate from Iran are free to do so but must leave behind all of their wealth, property, large sums of cash and household and personal items such as electrical appliances and Jewelry. Katzev said. He said Jews wishing to leave permanently have a difficult time selling their property and, in any case, are enable to take the proceeds of the sale with them.
Katzev observed that as a result of the severance of U.S. diplomatic relations with Iran, the many Iranian Jews now living in the U.S. will have to apply for refugee status or else go to Israel when their Iranian passports expire. The U.S. is not extending the visas of Iranian visitors.
According to a recent report in Haaretz Israel on Iranian sources in Israel, about 30,000 of Iran’s 80,000 Jews have left that country in the past year. Ten thousand have come to Israel but the majority has gone to the U.S. and Canada. Many of these emigres do not intend to remain to abroad permanently and some have in fact already returned to Iran, the report said. It added that there was no overt discrimination against Jews by the Iranian authorities.