Letter to The Honourable Lloyd Axworthy Concering the Arrests of 13 Iranian Jews in Iran

Thursday, June 17 1999

The Honourable Lloyd Axworthy
Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade
125 Sussex Drive
Ottawa, ON K1A OG2

Dear Mr. Axworthy:

In solidarity with the Canadian Jewish Congress, I am writing to you concerning the arrest in Iran of 13 Iranian Jews who are charged with spying. You are no doubt aware that both Israel and the United States have denied the alleged connection of those arrested with their respective intelligence services.

The Iranian Jewish community is one of the oldest in the world. The Islamic Republic of Iran has generally maintained the status quo for its Jewish citizens as a recognized minority religion since 1979. In recent years, Iran has made important strides in resuming its place in the world community particularly under the leadership of President Khatami who has promoted human rights, the rule of law and civil society. These arrests have the effect of jeopardizing the progress made in these areas and casting doubt on Iran’s commitment toward the protection of minority rights.

Canada’s voice should be heard protesting these arrests and all efforts should be taken that this matter be resolved in the most just manner.

Thank you for your attention to this matter

Yours sincerely,

+ François Thibodeau, CJM
Bishop of Edmundston
Chairman, Human Rights Committee
Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops