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March 21, 2014 1:39 pm

Lawyer: Mossad Findings on Missing Iranian Jews ‘Strengthens Our Case’ in U.S. Against Tehran (INTERVIEW)

avatar by Joshua Levitt

Former Iranian President Mohammad Khatami. Photo: WikiCommons.

Former Iranian President Mohammad Khatami. Photo: WikiCommons.

The human rights lawyer suing the former president of Iran on behalf of the families of Jews who disappeared while trying to escape the regime said on Friday that a credible source found by Israel’s Mossad to prove they were murdered strengthens their case against Tehran being heard now in a Virginia court.

Late Thursday, Israel formally declared dead eight of the missing 12 members of the Islamic republic’s Jewish minority who disappeared in 1994 and 1997, based on the new evidence. The decision will allow their family members to officially move on, as wives can be declared widowed, for example. The unsolved case had been used by the U.S. State Department as pointing to possible anti-Semitic persecution, Reuters reported on Thursday.

Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, director of Israel’s Shurat-HaDin law center, told The Algemeiner that she is pursuing the case against former Iranian President Mohammad Khatami, 70, on behalf of the victims’ families. Khatami was president of Iran from 1997 to 2005.

In an interview, Darshan-Leitner said the Mossad declaration “establishes that some of these missing Jews are actually dead, murdered by the Islamic Republic.”

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“We have an on-going federal case in the Virginia Court against the former Iranian President Mohammad Khatami. I believe it strengthens our case,” she said, “because, technically, it’s hard to prove that someone who has been abducted by a demonic regime has been tortured or murdered, without proof of the body.”

Most of the families of the victims live in Israel, while one lives in Los Angeles, she said. Although devastated by their loss, the Mossad declaration may bring closure, Darshan-Leitner said.

“We are greatly saddened by this news,” she said. “We hope it will serve as a measure of closure for these long suffering families to finally know their fathers, husbands, brothers and sons were indeed murdered by Iran.”

Darshan-Leitner said, “We intend to continue representing them and continuing the fight. We are demanding they receive compensation and justice from the Islamic extremist regime that murdered them simply because they are Jews.”

The case is being pursued under U.S. law which provides for victims of terrorism to sue international states that can be shown to have used terror or illegal methods to cause harm.

Similar grounds were used last year in New York City, where a Fifth Avenue skyscraper was shown to be held through dummy accounts that were partially-controlled by the Bank of Iran, to force its forfeiture to the U.S. government which could lead to its sale, with funds gained distributed to the families of the victims of Iranian terror.

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