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IRAN CUTS PRISON TERMS OF JEWS HELD AS SPIES

An Iranian appeals court today reduced the sentences of 10 Iranian Jews convicted in July of spying for Israel after annulling two of their three convictions.

The court reduced the prison terms, which ranged from four to 13 years, to two to nine years, an official said.

It upheld their convictions on charges of cooperating with Israel but annulled guilty verdicts on charges of establishing an illegal spy ring and recruiting agents.

"These sentences are the least possible sentences, and we have used the ultimate of Islamic kindness and generosity. According to the law, these charges could have brought execution," said Hossein Ali Amiri, judiciary chief of southern Fars province, where the suspects were tried.

He said the court's decision was final and cannot be appealed.

The case attracted international attention, with countries such as the United States and France urging Iran to ensure the trial was fair. Jurists have questioned whether the trial could be fair since it had no jury and the judge also acted as prosecutor.

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