Index

DATE=7/2/2000 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT TITLE=IRAN TRIAL/REACT (L-O) NUMBER=2-263989 BYLINE=LAURIE KASSMAN DATELINE=CAIRO CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: Iranian newspapers and television stations reject Western criticism of the verdict in an espionage trial in which 10 Iranian Jews and two Muslims were sentenced to jail terms ranging from four to 13-years. Correspondent Laurie Kassman has more from our Middle East bureau. TEXT: Iran's state-run news agency quotes the foreign ministry spokesman as denouncing what he calls "interfering remarks" by foreign officials about the Shiraz trial. Hamid Reza Asefi told Iran radio no country would have an impact on the independent judicial process of Iran's courts. He calls for other states to respect the right of sovereignty and refrain from interfering in Iran's domestic affairs. Western governments and human-rights groups have sharply criticized the trial and the verdict. Some suggest the sentencing of the Iranian Jews could hurt Iran's efforts to improve its image in the world political arena. Ten of the 13 Jews on trial received jail terms ranging from four to 13-years. Three were acquitted. Two Muslims also received jail terms, but two others were released. Five other Muslims, accused of spying for Israel, are still waiting for their day in court. Some analysts say international pressure may have produced lighter sentences. Two Iranian Jews convicted of spying in 1997 were hanged. The conservative daily Javan asks the same question about international pressure, but suggests such a precedent would only encourage more spying against Iran. Most of Iran's reformist newspapers have refrained from editorial comments on the trial. The conservative Persian-language daily Jomhouria Eslami and the English-language Iran News dismiss the international criticism and blame what they call - Zionist manipulation - of the world media. Iran News complains that most of the foreign news reports have focussed on the Iranian Jews on trial and neglected to mention the Muslims who were also charged with spying for Israel. (SIGNED) NEB/LK/DW/RAE 02-Jul-2000 08:59 AM EDT (02-Jul-2000 1259 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .