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Iranian Jewish Organization Denies Involvement in Jewish Emigration


Iran's main Jewish organization has denied any involvement in a secret Israeli operation to help a group of 40 Iranian Jews immigrate to Israel.

The immigrants flew to Israel Tuesday via an unnamed third country after leaving behind all their properties and possessions in Iran. They are the largest single group to migrate to Israel since Iran's Islamic Revolution in 1979.

In a statement issued Wednesday, the Tehran Jewish Committee says it has never organized Jewish emigration from Iran. It says Jews have good living conditions in the Islamic republic and are free to practice their religion.

The Iranian Jewish organization also accused Israeli authorities of spreading lies about the state of Iran's Jewish community and bribing Iranian Jews to emigrate.

Some of the Iranian Jews who arrived in Israel Tuesday complained of religious discrimination by Iran's Islamic authorities.

Iran does not recognize Israel and its President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has called for the Jewish state to be "wiped off the map."

Out of the estimated 100,000 Jews who lived in Iran before the Islamic Revolution, only about 25,000 remain.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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