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Jews in Iran

February 27, 1979
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The future of Jews in Iran will depend on the relationship between the United States and Iran, according to Leon Dulzin, chairman of the Jewish Agency and World Zionist Organization Executives. In an interview last week with Steve North, a reporter for radio station WGRC in Nanuet, N.Y., Dulzin said; “If there will be a normal relationship, or a more or less acceptable relationship, of course, the Jews will be protected. If the relations turn out to be anti-American as well as anti-Israel, the Jews might be in danger. It’s very difficult to foresee.”

Dulzin, who returned to Israel last Thursday after a two-week visit in the United States and Mexico, told North that if the situation of the Jews in Iran will become endangered, “certainly Israel would take action. I mean it very seriously.” While he declined to specify what action Israel would take, he affirmed.

“We are today in a position to act in a way that we could not have before there was a Jewish State. We will not remain objective or neutral. The Jewish State came to life in order to protect Jewish lives, and we’re proved it during our short history. I hope there won’t be the need for it, but if it will be necessary, we’ll find ways and means to save and protect the Jews there (in Iran).” Dulzin said that of the 80,000 Jews in Iran last year, only some 65,000 remain. He said “thousands and thousands” more would like to leave but their situation appears to be uncertain.

Asked by North if Israel expected the close association between Ayatollah Ruhollah Khoumeini and the Palestine Liberation Organization, Dulzin said: “We knew a long time ago the very close association between Khoumeini and the PLO. If looks like, unfortunately; it was a surprise for the United States, but we knew about it all the time.”

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