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Iranian Hostage Situation/ Kurds Seek Political Solution/ Shah diverted government money for personal use/ UN Security Council decision new basis for action/ Iraq ultimatum given to Tehran

1979 articles on: the Americans held hostage in Iran a Marxist-Leninist spiritual leader endorsing a political solution for the Kurds, sources traced the money diverted by the Shah (Pahlavi) prior to his deposition, allegedly amounting to $1,000m of diverted funds for personal use UNSC decision making for a plan of action Iraq ultimatum given to Tehran (article incomplete)

Iran prepares for trial of the American hostages but they would ‘be set free if acquitted’

From Our Own Correspondent

Tehran, Dec 5 

After two weeks of repeated warnings to President Carter, the Iranians now seem to have started preparations for the trial of the 49 American embassy staff held hostage in Tehran by student followers of Ayatollah Khomeini.

At a press conference today, Ayatollah Mohamed Beheshti, the secretary of Iran’s ruling Revolutionary Council, said the prisoners would be tried on spy charges according to Islamic law but that they would be “freed if acquitted”.

Although the United States is bound to take Dr. Beheshti’s statement seriously, it none the less represents a more moderate approach than that adopted by other members of the Revolutionary Council recently.

This is the first time any official here has suggested that some of the prisoners may be innocent and it reinforces a growing suspicion in Tehran that the council, perhaps even Ayatollah Khomeini, are anxious to release the hostages providing there is no loss of face in the process.

Officially, the Iranian line remains the same: that the hostages will be tried unless the Shah is returned to Iran. It is now clear, however, that the Americans are not going to extradite the former monarch and that the students’ threat to try the hostages will lose much of its meaning if the Shah leaves the United States for Egypt or some other country prepared to offer him asylum.

Once he leaves America, the hostages, and the Iranians use precisely that word for their prisoners, cease to be hostages. They would be merely prisoners of the Revolutionary Council.

According to Dr. Beheshti, the students do not want to try the prisoners themselves, a statement which contradicts something the students said earlier in the week, but would “ask a revolutionary court to take responsibility for such a trial”.

This afternoon, the students, who have generally acted as cheer-leaders to the Revolutionary Council, formally rejected the United Nations Security Council’s call for the hostages release. They also called on Saudis to “rise up against American oppression”, adding that their appeal was especially addressed to Saudi oil workers. Strikes by Iranian oil technicians played a key part in the Shah’s downfall.

As if such international exhortations to revolution were not enough, the son of one of the leading clergymen on the Revolutionary Council declared today that he proposed to send 1,700 “volunteers” to fight for the Palestinian cause in Souther Lebanon.

Hojetislam Mohamed Montazeri claimed that the Iranians had been issued with passports and that their first contingent would enter Lebanon on Saturday.

After a catastrophic civil war followed by almost three more years of ciil unrest and an Israeli invasion, one might have thought that Lebanon could have been spared an injection of Iranian revolutionary zeal. But the Hojetislam insisted that his men would enter Lebanon “by force” if necessary.

“All international spies enter the Lebanon”, he said, apparently without humour. “So why shouldn’t we?” Even the Palestinian Liberation Organization, however, would not welcome such intervention: it therefore seems unlikely that Hojetislam Montazeri’s young men will set foot outside Tehran.

Teheran, Dec 5.— A revolutionary guard posted at the Qom home of Iran’s dissident Ayatollah Kazem Shariat-Madari was shot dead today after demonstrations against the clergyman, according to an aide who added that isolated shooting was heard in the Holy City, home of Ayatollah Khomeini, for about four hours today. — Reuter



Autonomist leader inspired by Marx and Islam: Kurds Seek political solution

From Robert Fisk

Mahabad, Iran, Dec. 5 

Shaikh Ezzeddin Hussaini, spiritual leader of five million Iranian Kurds, theological inspiration for the unity of Kurdistan’s three political parties and unashamed believer in both Islam and Marxist-Leninist socialism, sat cross-legged on a richly embroidered carpet and fingered his worry-beads.

They clicked and rattled through our conversation like punctuation marks, their tempo increasing when the questions were pointed, slackening when the shaikh was on his favourite ground.

“The Kurds have been struggling for autonomy for 50 years now,” the shaikh said. “They took part in the recent struggle against the Shah’s regime. We are not demanding independence. There is a large gap between separatism and autonomy. Independence mans a unit becomes an independent country. We want a direct relationship with the central Government of Iran. We want to live in Iran.”

He raised his hand for a moment to the window where the snow had covered the nearest mountain. There was an Iranian Army tank dug in on the cliff-side, its barrel protruding rudely from the white rocks. “At first,” he said, “we did not believe in a military solution. We condemn the Government’s military attack upon us. It was they who attacked us.”

“At first, we were not ready to resist them but because they put pressure on our people, we defended ourselves. Now the Government’s attack has been smashed. But we still want a peaceful solution. Since all of us are living in a united country and all are brothers, the best solution to the Kurdistan problem is a political solution.”

I had been taken to the shaikh’s “safe house” in Mahabad by two Kurdish guerrila from the Marxist-Leninist Komola movement. We had driven from their headquarters — a drafty, half-finished apartment block filled with teenagers carrying rocket launchers and heavy machine-gun ammunition — in an old American Jeep. The shaikh did not feel very safe.

When you ask the shaikh for his views on Ayatollah Khomeini, the worry beads click faster. 

“Ayatollah Khomeini’s role in the revolution,” he said, “can be divided into two parts. The first was as a leader of the people against the Shah. Here, we agreed with him. But after he seized power, he committed many mistakes. He ordered an attack on Kurdistan, banned political parties and other groups, and he took away the freedom of the press and created press censorship. He changed the Assembly of the People into an Assembly of Experts. We do not agree with all that Ayatollah Khomeini is doing.”

Then the shaikh interrupted himself: “Of course, if Ayatollah Khomeini accepts autonomy for the Kurds as he has promised, we will be much closer to him and our relations will improve.”

Shaikh Husseini smiles at obvious questions. How did he combine the competitive aspirations of Islam and radical socialism? “If we look at the origins of Islam,” he said, “we can see that there are no differences between Islam and socialism. In history, the clergy changed the meaning of Islam.” 

That is all he says — there is no explanation of this enigmatic view of Islamic history.

It seemed a painfully naive view of world events, one that took no account of great power politics. Mention Iraq in Mahabad, for instance, and the conversation suddenly falls silent.  The Kurdish guerrillas display hundreds of Russian rifles on the streets of the town.

Are the Iraqis arming the Kurds? Are the Kurds being used by neighbouring states who are anxious to break Ayatollah Khomeini’s power? Could Kurdistan be a launching pad for Iraqi domination of the Gulf? There are questions which receive no reply.



Shah diverted $1,000m for own use, investigators say

From Jeff Gerth

Tehran, Dec 5


Documents uncovered in an investigation into the finances of the deposed Shah show that more than $1,000m (about 454m Euros) in identifiable funds was diverted or misappropriated by the Shah and his family from Iranian banks and other institutions, it is claimed. 

Officials at the Central Bank here presented documents for examination by the New York Times saying they supported their charges that the Shah used a pattern of preferential bank loans and inflated construction projects to siphon money from public to personal use.

Some of the documents are written in Persian and others in English. The Iranian bank officials have permitted reporters to have some of the documents translated independently and to make photocopies.

They are sorting through thousands of documents in file rooms which they say contain the record of transactions made by the Shah and his family before he was deposed. 

According to the papers, the amount of documented unrepaid bank loans to the Shah’s interests, derived for the most part from Iranian banks holding public deposits, suggest several types of improper banking practices.

Part of the diversions involved the Pahlavi Foundation, ostensibly a charitable organization which was controlled by the Shah. These included commercial ventures with artificially inflated values as well as money for the Shah and his family that the Iranian Revolutionary Government says belongs to the Iranian people.

It was unclear from the papers made available over what time span the alleged diversion of funds took place. The Shah, during his reign, was accused by opponents of treating Iranian Government funds as the personal holdings of the royal family.

In addition, investigators say they have now documented over $50m in transfers of money out of Iran into secret bank accounts in the year before he was deposed. They claim that about $30m was transferred into dozens of secret foreign accounts and that this total comes from only a small fraction of the transfer records now being investigated.

The investigation has been undertaken in recent weeks to support Iranian Government charges of financial corruption by the Shah.

The Shah remained in his convalescence quarters at Lackland air force base, Texas, beyond reach of requests for comment. Air Force officials, enforcing a blackout on news about the Shah’s stay, refused to take messages to him or to members of his staff. — New York Times News Service. 



UN decision ‘new basis for action’

From Patrick Brogan

Washington, Dec 5


The American Government believes that the United Nations’ Security Council resolution on Iran “sets a new basis for actions and approaches” towards obtaining the release of the Tehran Embassy hostages. The State Department would not offer any elaboration of that statement this morning.

A spokesman said that the National Security Council met again yesterday to examine the subject. It has been reported that a plan of campaign was approved, but not details of decisions have been disclosed.

In a statement read at the White House to reporters this morning, Mr. Walter Mondale, the Vice-President, again denounced the conditions that the hostages are being subjected to. He said that no outside observer had been allowed to see them in the past 10 days and added that they were denied the comforts of religion.

The State Department announced that the United States was temporarily suspending the operation of its embassy in Tripoli, Libya, which was sacked by a mob on Sunday.

A suspension is not a breaking of diplomatic relations, and most Embassy staff will remain in Tripoli.


Iraq ultimatum to Tehran over mission attacks

Baghdad, Dec 5. — Iraq today issued an ultimatum to Iran that if attacks against Baghdad’s diplomatic missions did not stop in one week, all Iraq diplomats will be withdrawn from Iran.

Mr. Saadoun Hammadi, the Iraq Foreign Minister, summoned the Iranian Ambassador in Baghdad and delivered a protest note, which political sources said amounted to a warning that diplomatic ties could be broken if the Tehran auhorities failed to stop the anti-Iraq acts.

The Iraq news agency reported the note as saying: “These attacks and provocations indicate that the Iranian government is either …. article discontinued. 


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Kurds, London Times, Kurds, American hostages, American hostage crisis, Iranian hostages, President Carter, American embassy in Tehran, Ayatollah Khomeini, Mohamed Beheshti, Iran Revolutionary Council, Iranian Revolutionary Guard, Kazem Shariat-Madari, Shaikh Ezzeddin Hussaini, Iranian Kurds, Pahlavi foundation, Pahlavi funds, Security Council resolution on Iran, Saadoun Hammadi