Beliefnet
SHIRAZ, Iran, May 10 (AP)--A sixth Iranian Jew confessed to spying for Israel on Wednesday, but his younger brother became the first of 13 defendants to deny such charges in court, a lawyer said.

``Faramarz Kashi accepted all of the charges of spying for Israel,'' lawyer Esmail Naseri, a spokesman for the defense team, told reporters.

``But his younger brother, Farzad, denied all the charges, and his lawyer called for his release,'' Naseri said.

The Kashi brothers and Nasser Levihaim were the only defendants in court Wednesday when the closed-door trial of 13 Jews charged with espionage resumed in this southern Iranian city after a two-day break. Levihaim had already confessed to spying for Israel, and his lawyers presented their final argument Wednesday.

The Kashis' wives and relatives waited anxiously outside the courthouse. ``Don't worry. They will be treated fairly,'' the provincial judiciary chief, Hossein Ali Amiri, said to the wives as he stepped outside briefly.

At the end of the session, the judge adjourned the trial until Monday.

The trial, in which six defendants have now confessed to espionage, has frightened Iran's 25,000 Jews who constitute the largest Jewish community in the Middle East outside Israel.

It also has generated concern in the West, where U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright has warned the outcome could have international repercussions. Defense lawyers question the fairness of a revolutionary court where the judge is also the prosecutor and outside observers are barred.

Israel has denied that any of the defendants were its spies.

Iranian television has broadcast confessions of two of the accused - Dani Tefilin, a shoe salesman, and Shahrokh Paknahad, a religion teacher - since the trial began last month. They said separately they were trained and paid by Israel to gather secrets in Iran, which is militantly opposed to Israel's existence. Through these broadcasts, judiciary officials are trying to convince the nation, and the world, of the defendants' guilt, lawyer Naseri has said.

``Because the whole country is watching these confessions, Iranian Jews are becoming more isolated, and their children are being regarded with contempt by classmates in school,'' Naseri said.

Arash Fakhiri, a 20-year-old Jewish shopkeeper in Shiraz says his community is both ``demoralized'' and ``terrified.''

``Some people are treating us like spies. I heard that a Jewish girl at an elementary school was taunted by her classmates, calling her a spy,'' Fakhiri said.

Some Jews have even stopped going to work for fear of being accused or simply because they don't want people to point fingers at them, said Naseri, who is a Muslim.

Jews in Iran have faced some government restrictions since the 1979 Islamic revolution, but have been somewhat free to practice their religion and generally have faced little overt discrimination. Like all Iranians, they are barred from having any contact with Israel or Israeli Jews.

Before the revolution, some 80,000 Jews lived in Iran, holding positions of power and influence as businessmen, lawyers and senior civil servants in the key oil and banking sectors.

The trial comes amid a power struggle between reformists loyal to President Mohammad Khatami and hard-liners who cherish a strict interpretation of the Islamic code. State television and the judiciary are controlled by hard-liners.

Observers say the trial is an attempt by the hard-liners to prevent reformers from moving Iran toward closer relationships with Western nations.

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