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Special Report Iranian Jews in France Consider Returning when Situation Cools

February 13, 1979
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Some 1000 Iranian Jews have reportedly settled in France since the start of the mass riots in Teheran last autumn. Practically all of them are staying in France on tourist visas valid for three months and, according to official-sources, have not applied for permanent resident status.

Iranian Jews now in France told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that practically all the Iranian Jewish families in Western Europe, several thousand In all according to them, consider their stay here as “a wait-and-see period” and consider returning to their homes in Iran “once things calm down” there.

Most of these “temporary” refugees belong to the upper middle classes. They say they have received assurances from friends and relatives in Iran that the new Islamic republic will not take any-specific anti-Jewish measures. In spite of these “assurances” all refused to be quoted by name, saying “the less heard about us the better.”

They explained that going to Israel would be a “definite” decision as “from there, considering the political situation, there can be no possible return to Iran.” As practically all of them still hope to return to Iran and recuperate their homes and businesses there, they are not yet prepared to make such a decision. It is for this reason, also, that they have not asked for permanent resident status in France or elsewhere in Western Europe.

Practically none of them has been in touch with local Jewish organizations. Most of them have studied in France or the other countries in which they have now temporarily settled, have personal friends and acquaintances and seem to have ample financial means.


According to them, the situation in Iran, as far as the Jews are concerned, will “calm down” once the Ayatolah Rohollah Khoumeini assumes complete and full control. The main danger, they say, would come from a possible Communist-Marxist participation in the forth coming government.

Most Iranian Jews according to them, have not been politically active in the past and have not been compromised with the former regime. The handful of Jews who have been in contact with the Shah’s close advisors or have had business deals with former ministers and other aides have left Iran long ago. Those who have remained behind, these refugees report, belong to the lower middle classes, are small tradesmen or artisans who have never had any contacts with the country’s former rulers.

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