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Press ReleaseAnti-Semitism-International
Rev. Jesse Jackson Meets with Iranian Jewish Families Pledges to Intercede on Behalf of Imprisoned Jews

New York, New York, June 11, 1999 … Calling the immediate release of 13 Jewish prisoners in Iran a "moral imperative," the Rev. Jesse Jackson today agreed to intercede on behalf of imprisoned rabbis, religious teachers and community activists falsely accused of espionage by the Iranian government.

His announcement came after a meeting in Los Angeles arranged by Abraham H. Foxman, National Director of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) with Rev. Jackson and family members of the imprisoned Jews. The families pleaded for Rev. Jackson’s immediate intervention on behalf of the Jews, who face a possible death sentence if convicted.

"We will gladly pursue, with all within us, humanitarian appeals for their release," Rev. Jackson, President and founder of the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, said in a letter to the Iranian American Jewish Federation. "We have begun to contact the appropriate Iranian political and religious leadership. We hope that our pleas and prayers will not fall on deaf ears."

Rev. Jackson, who has spearheaded similar efforts on behalf of prisoners and hostages, pledged to make every effort to gain freedom for the Iranian Jews, who have been held for weeks without cause. The Iranian government earlier this week charged the 13 men with spying for Israel and the United States, an accusation the families, prisoners, and both governments vehemently deny.

"We must pursue the moral imperative," Rev. Jackson said.

Mr. Foxman, who has labeled the charges "trumped up" and baseless, praised Rev. Jackson’s swift resolve to offer aid. "We are extremely appreciative and grateful for Rev. Jackson’s help in securing the immediate release of these innocent Jews," Mr. Foxman said.

Iranian Jewish community representatives hailed Rev. Jackson’s involvement as a major development in the case. "We are deeply grateful for your time and attention to our concerns," Sam Kermanian, Secretary General of the IAJF, said in a letter to Rev. Jackson. "We are convinced that your reputation as an advocate on behalf of humanitarian and moral causes puts you in a unique position to help."

EDITORS NOTE: Copies of correspondence between Jackson and members of the Iranian Jewish community are available by contacting ADL’s Media Relations Department at (212) 885-7749.

Also Online:

ADL Backgrounder - June 11, 1999
Arrest of 13 Iranian Jews

ADL Opinion - June 11, 1999
Iran Jews Held on Trumped Up Charges Must Be Freed.

ADL Press Release - June 8, 1999
ADL Outraged at Espionage Charges Against Iranian Jews; Calls for Their Immediate Release

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