Arrests of Iranian Jews Criticized

The State Department and the House International Relations

Committee criticized Iran yesterday for arresting 13 Iranian Jews on espionage charges.

"The charges are unfounded and unacceptable," State Department spokesman James Foley said.

"The arrest of these Iranian citizens is . . . an indication that Iran is going backward," said Rep. Benjamin A. Gilman (R-N.Y.), chairman of the House committee.

The Iranian foreign minister, Kamal Kharrazi, has rejected demands for release of the 13 as insults to the authority of Islamic Iran. Kharrazi said this week that the Iranian Jews had "only been charged and no sentences have been issued against them."

The Jews, rabbis and religious teachers are charged with spying for Israel and the United States. If convicted, they could be executed.

Several Judicial Nominees Confirmed

After a delay of many months, President Clinton's 45 judicial nominees are beginning to trickle through the Senate confirmation process.

Five appointees confirmed Wednesday were W. Allen Pepper Jr. of Mississippi, Karen E. Schreier of South Dakota, Keith Ellison of Texas, Stefan Underhill of Connecticut and Gary Feess of California.

Nominees approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday were Marsha L. Berzon of California, named to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals; Robert Katzmann, named to the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals; and T. John Ward, nominated to be a district judge for the Eastern District of Texas.

Senate Approves Spending Measure

By voice vote, the Senate approved a $27.7 billion measure to finance the Treasury Department and several smaller agencies Thursday. The bill also leaves open the possibility that members of Congress will allow themselves a $4,600 cost-of-living raise next year.

It continues to bar federal workers' health insurance plans from covering most abortions. Clinton administration officials said in a written statement that the White House "would strongly oppose" the prohibition, but did not mention a veto threat.

Meanwhile, the House Appropriations Committee approved $14.1 billion for land and cultural programs and $8.45 billion for military construction.

Clinton Nominates Seven as Envoys

President Clinton has nominated career diplomats to six ambassadorial posts, including deputy U.S. representative at the United Nations.

Clinton chose James Cunningham for the U.N. post and named Sylvia Stanfield for Brunei, Jimmy Kolker for Burkina Faso, Barbara Griffiths for Iceland, Harriet Elam for Senegal and Gregory Johnson for Swaziland. He chose a former brokerage executive, Richard Fredericks, to be U.S. ambassador to Switzerland and Lichtenstein.