Israel Letting Non-jewish Iranians Stay Until Country of Refuge Found

Israel will allow 12 non-Jewish Iranian refugees who sought asylum here after the Persian Gulf War to remain until another country of refuge can be found.

The Iranians, who have been held in detention for illegal entry here, are to be released shortly and will be allowed to seek employment and live with Israelis of Iranian origin until another country grants them asylum.

The Interior Ministry had ordered their detention and deportation upon their arrival here. Their impending release follows a petition to the High Court of Justice on their behalf by the Association for Civil Rights in Israel.

The petition claimed the detainees were members of the Mujaheddin-Khalq organization, which agitates against the Islamic regime in Iran. They were all caught and tortured, and fled to Iraq only to find themselves caught up in the Gulf war.

They fled to Jordan and then made their way to Israel, slipping across the border into the Negev north of Eilat.

But before the scheduled High Court hearing, the state attorney and Interior Ministry agreed to free them, provided the expulsion orders against them remain in force and they agree to leave Israel as soon as another country agrees to grant them asylum.

Until their departure for new homes abroad, the refugees will be allowed to live on farms in the south and seek employment there.

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