French lawyer Serge Klarsfeld reported from Teheran yesterday that he was assured by Iranian Foreign Minister Ibrahim Yazdi that “there was no reason for worry in the case of Iran’s Jews.” Klarsfeld flew to Iran last week to intercede on behalf of Jewish political prisoners there and to investigate the execution on May 9 of Habib Elkanion, a Jewish community leader.
He reported on his talks with Iranian officials in a message to his wife, Beate, who made it public here last night. The Klarsfelds have been instrumental in tracking down Nazi war criminals. Klarsfeld said in his message that “Dr. Yazdi told me that there would certainly be no trials of Jews or non-Jews simply because they had ties with Israel. But it is possible that Jews or non-Jews who are being tried for their ties with the Shah’s criminal regime could also face charges for their ties with Israel if these came within the framework of the special relations between Israel and the Shah’s regime,” Klarsfeld reported, quoting Yazdi.
He said that Yazdi explained “special” ties with Israel was cause for trial because of that country’s policies toward the Palestinians and its alleged police cooperation with the Shah. Yazdi said he would produce proof that the Shah’s secret police, Savak, was trained by the Israeli secret service, Mossad, which makes Israel “part of the Shah’s criminal system.” But Yazdi also said, according to Klarsfeld, that “there are no worries to have for the Jewish community even though it had a tendency to give the Shah too much support … and this despite warnings from the revolutionaries.” The Foreign Minister also said that those who worked for Israeli firms in Iran or visited Israel, or Jews who have gone to Israel and wish to return have nothing to fear as long as they were not part of the “system.” Klarsfeld interpreted that as meaning people who had the highest ranking positions.
TREATMENT OF ELKANIAN FAMILY A TEST
Klarsfeld said that a test of whether the new Iranian regime is inclined toward a lenient policy will be its treatment of Elkanian’s family — his son daughter-in-law and their three children — whose home was taken from them. Until now, they have been prevented from leaving for France he said. Klarsfeld also reported on his conversation with the Iranian Minister of Justice, Assadolah Mobasari with whom he had lodged a strong protest against the execution of Elkanian. He said Mobasari insisted that Elkanian had not been tried by a regular court and that his trial was not the prelude to a series of trials of members of the Jewish community.
Klarsfeld also presented a message of protest to an aide to the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini but was unable to meet with Khomeini. The latter sent word that he would receive the French lawyer on June 2 but could not last Sunday when Klarsfeld was in the Moslem holy city of Qum, Khomeini’s head quarters. He said the message he left for Khomeini pointed out that all Jews had ties with Israel because it was the existence of Israel that prevented a repetition of the horrors of the Holocaust. Khomeini replied, Klarsfeld said, by reiterating his earlier statement that Elkanian was “not judged as a Jew but because he was part of the Shah’s criminal system,” to which Klarsfeld responded that he was unable to find any proof that Elkanian was part of the past system inasmuch as his trial was held in secret.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.