Beliefnet
NEW YORK, July 2 (AP)--Jewish leaders in the United States called for tighter sanctions against Iran on Sunday following the conviction of 10 Jews there on charges of spying.

``Iran must pay a price for this,'' Rep. Eliot Engel of New York said, joining about 150 Jewish leaders, elected officials and protesters gathered outside the Iranian Mission to the United Nations.

Engel and New York congressmen Anthony Weiner and Major Owens pledged to work to reinstate the trade bans and withdraw other forms of import and agricultural assistance to Iran.

Earlier this year, the United States lifted a ban on U.S. imports of Iranian rugs, pistachio nuts and caviar. Although the change had little economic impact on the Middle East nation--which gets most of its revenue from oil exports--it was considered a symbolic step toward a new relationship.

``We are demanding that the U.S. now rescind the concessions that were made,'' said Malcolm Hoenlein of the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations.

``There is nothing against these people, except the fact that they were Jews living in Iran,'' Hoenlein said. ``These were the rabbis and leaders of a community, guilty of nothing else but that they organized classes to study Jewish tradition.''

Saturday's verdict drew condemnation from Israel, which denied that the convicted men had been spies, and from President Clinton, who said he was ``deeply disappointed'' that Iran appeared to have treated the men unfairly.

The 10 men were sentenced to terms of four to 13 years by an Iranian judge who also acted as both prosecutor and jury. Details of the allegations have not been made public by Iranian officials, who conducted the trial behind closed doors.

Hoenlein and others said they thought international pressure may have helped avert death penalty sentences for the men and could have a positive impact on the appeals process.

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