DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) _ Iran denounced the United States on Monday for objecting to the arrest of 13 people, including Jews, on spying charges.
``No country has the right to interfere in Iran’s internal affairs,″ Tehran television quoted Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi as saying.
On Friday, State Department spokesman James Foley said the charges against the Jews, who include rabbis and religious teachers, ``are unfounded and unacceptable.″
Asefi described Foley’s comments as ``irresponsible and questionable″ and said they were made ``for special political motives,″ the television report monitored in Dubai said.
Iran said last month it had arrested 13 Jews on charges of spying for Israel and the United States. Later, Iran said some of those arrested are Muslims.
Asefi said Foley’s comments were ``unfounded and baseless″ and constituted ``blatant intervention in Iran’s internal affairs,″ the television report said.
Spying is a capital crime in Iran, a nation of 60 million people, most of them Shiite Muslims.
According to the New York-based Human Rights Watch, about 25,000 Jews live in Iran. The group says more than twice that number have left Iran since the 1979 Islamic revolution for fear of persecution.