A reader asks: what are the chances of getting restitution for his grandfather's property seized post-the Islamic revolution in Iran?
The Knesset law passed in February 2010 requires compensation for Jewish refugees from Iran as well as Arab countries to be included in peace talks. But is there an organisation (apart from JJAC where claimants can register their losses and human rights violations) actually addressing the issue of restitution for Jews from Iran?
To find out the answer, Point of No Return turned to trusted sources in the US Iranian-Jewish community.
"There is no organisation in the world addressing this issue because it's a lost cause right now, "my sources said.
"This is because the current Iranian Islamic regime has passed legislation stating that anyone who "abandoned" their properties or had their properties "confiscated" by the government following the revolution in 1979 has officially forfeited their right to the property.
"Some Iranian Jews who had extensive properties and no personal fear of the current regime have risked their lives, returned to Iran and were able to sell their properties on their own. But it must be noted that they were only able to sell their properties because they either: (a) had inside contacts with government officials whom they bribed to help them and allow the sale to go through
or (b) handed over legal rights to the property to a Muslim friend they trusted to sell the property for them and take a "commission" for doing so.
"Nevertheless, many Jews who returned to Iran themselves to sell their properties or to reclaim them have been arrested by the regime and held to ransom by the government. Many Jews who transferred their rights to the properties to a Muslim, in hopes of selling the properties, were duped by their "friends" and have lost everything. Of course they had no recourse in the Iranian courts because the regime's laws and courts are always tilted in favour of Muslims over non-Muslims.
"To conclude, no one has explored the option of Jewish claims in Iran because the current regime is not accepting such claims and never plans to accept them in the future. The only hope Jews with claims in Iran have is for the regime to be overturned and for a new government to accept these claims and offer compensation. "
The advice to our blog reader is as follows: pray for the current regime to be toppled. Also hold onto your property deeds because in the future you might be able to get your assets back.