NEW YORK (Oct. 6)
In the first eight months of 1987, 1,483 Jews from Iran immigrated to the West through Austria, according to Austrian Foreign Minister Alois Mock.
In a press conference here Oct. 2, Mock disclosed that a total of 5,188 Iranian Jews immigrated via Austria between July 1, 1983 until August of this year.
Mock stressed that his government is proceeding “without asking too many questions of the Iranian refugees and without publicizing individual cases” in order not to endanger the flow of Jewish immigrants from Iran in the future and the remaining relatives of those Jews who were able to leave Iran. “It is Austria’s consistent policy to help people in danger, wherever they are and who ever they are,” Mock stated.
There are presently about 30,000 Jews in Iran and it is believed that most of them would emigrate to Israel and other countries in the West if they were allowed to do so by the Iranian authorities.
The Austrian official, who also serves as his country’s Vice Chancellor, said Jewish emigration from the Soviet Union has increased considerably, with 5,003 Soviet Jews being granted exit visas in the first eight months of 1987, compared to a total of 901 persons in 1986. He pointed out that a total of 272,622 Soviet Jews passed through Austria between 1958 and August 1987 on their way to Israel or other countries.
“Austria continues to be committed to giving free choice as to where they want to eventually settle down,” Mock declared, adding, “Austria will continue to act as a country of first asylum for refugees from all parts of the world.’