WASHINGTON (May. 17)
American Zionists were assured at the Iranian Embassy yesterday that Jews in Iran need have no concern of being considered disloyal to the government of Iron because they are Jewish or Zionist, Rabbi Joseph Sternstein, president of the American Zionist Federation, said.
Sternstein, Louis Bernstein, president of the Religious Zionists of America, and Ivan Novick, president of the Zionist Organization of America, visited the Embassy and conferred there for an hour with the Charge d’Affaires, Ali Agoh, and his assistant, Ibrahim Sadjodi.
“They received us as Zionists,” Sternstein said afterwards. He noted that in a telegram several days ago to the Embassy, he had said they would be representing all Zionists in the United States. The Embassy issued an invitation to them the next day to visit the Iranian diplomatic leaders.
The request for the interview followed the execution of Habib Elkanian, the former president of the Iranian Jewish community. However, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini told Iranian Jewish leaders Tuesday that Elkanian was executed as a spy for a foreign country, “not because he was a Zionist.”
Agoh reiterated this to the three Zionists yesterday. He spoke of Israel as “an oppressive state,” but Sternstein said, Agoh made it cleat that “just by virtue of being Zionists does not make Iranian Jews disloyal to Iran.” He said Zionists are not disloyal, the rabbi reported Agoh as saying.