The uncertain status of the five underscores the precarious situation faced by the entire Jewish community in Iran. They now number between 22,000 and 25,000, down from 100,000 or so prior to the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
The five were among 13 Jews who were arrested in January and March 1999 on charges of spying for Israel. Three were subsequently found innocent of the espionage charges and released. The other 10 were sentenced in July 2000 to jail terms of four to 13 years.