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DATE=5/23/2000 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT TITLE=GORE-IRAN-MIDEAST (L-ONLY) NUMBER=2-262705 BYLINE=DAVID GOLLUST DATELINE=WHITE HOUSE CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: Vice President Al Gore - in an address (Tuesday) to the pro-Israel lobbying group " AIPAC" has condemned Iran's espionage trial of 13 Iranian Jews in Shiraz as a "complete mockery of justice." V- O-A's David Gollust reports from the White House. TEXT: Mr. Gore said the trial of the 13 Jews as alleged spies for Israel is a reflection of a broader struggle in Iran between reform elements and hard-line Muslim clerics, who he suggested are behind other repressive steps including the closure of opposition newspapers and attacks on political dissidents. He said despite the contention of court officials in Shiraz that due process is being served, the trial is closed to independent observers and to the news media. In the strongest condemnation to date by any senior U- S official, Mr. Gore said the trial is a human rights violation that could negatively impact the future of U-S-Iranian relations: /// GORE ACTUALITY /// They say they have received confessions from some of the accused. But it is crystal-clear that these confessions are meaningless and that the trials are a complete mockery of justice. We utterly and absolutely condemn these show-trials as an immoral and illegal abuse of basic human rights. And let me be clear: the United States will judge Iran by its actions, not by its verbal assurances (applause) /// END ACT /// The Vice President also said Iran continues to be a "major" sponsor of terrorism and a seeker of weapons of mass destruction - what he termed a "deadly and unnacceptable combination." In the AIPAC address, Mr. Gore - who is assured of the Democratic Presidential nomination -- promised if elected to continue Israel's qualitative military advantage in the Middle East but also to follow a broad policy of engagement with the Islamic world. Addressing the lobbying group a day after a similar speech by Republican candidate George W. Bush, Mr. Gore accused the administration of Mr. Bush's father of trying to "bully" Israel by putting conditions on the delivery of aid. He said a Gore White House would never try to force Israel to do things the Jewish state did not think was in its own interests. Mr. Bush on Monday accused the Clinton administration of taking sides in last year's Israeli elections and of pressuring Israel into peace-process deadlines. The Republican contender also said he would move the U-S embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem immediately if elected - a decision the Clinton administration and Mr. Gore say should await the outcome of final-status peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians. (Signed) NEB/DAG/ENE/gm 23-May-2000 13:03 PM LOC (23-May-2000 1703 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .