French lawyer Serge Klarsfeld produced documentary evidence here last night that Iranian Jewish community leader Habib Elkanian was executed May 9 primarily because of his connections with Israel. At a dramatic midnight press conference at Ben Gurion Airport, Klarsfeld showed reporters what he said was a photocopy of the charge sheet prepared by the revolutionary court in Teheran against Elkanian.
The charges began with the words: “Habib Elkanian. Jew, Teheran-born, spy, rich and Zionist.” It went on to claim that Elkanian, a millionaire industrialist, was a spy in the service of Israel, extorted money from poor lranians and gave it to a hostile country, Israel “which kills our Arab brethren.”
Klarsfeld, who with his wife Beate, has been instrumental in tracking down wanted Nazi war criminals and combatting anti-Semitism, visited Teheran last week to investigate the Elkanian execution and intercede for several Jews still imprisoned by the new regime He reported earlier that he had been assured by Iran’s Foreign Minister Ibrahim Yazdi that “there was no reason for worry in the case of Iran’s Jews” and that there would be no trials of Jews or non Jews simply because they had connections with Israel. Klarsfeld returned to Paris yesterday and flew immediately to Israel.
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.