LONDON (Dec. 19)
The Iranian Embassy in The Hague denied today that the Shah of Iran has threatened to join the Arab states against Israel if a new Middle East war breaks out. A statement issued by the Embassy said news media reports from Beirut quoting the Shah to that effect were a gross distortion.
The statement explained, “What His Majesty had said was that the choice between war and peace was before Israel” and “the sympathies of Iran are with the Palestinians. But His Majesty did not say that Iran would take part in a war against Israel,” the Embassy statement said.
The Shah’s remarks were contained in an interview with the “Middle East Economic Survey,” an Arabic language periodical published in Beirut. According to reports from the Lebanese capital, the Shah said “Either Israel accepts the implementation of the United Nations resolutions or there is no alternative to war. Of course, this time it will be our war.”
The Shah was also quoted as saying, in connection with his forthcoming visit to Cairo to meet with President Anwar Sadat that the Egyptian leader was working toward a peaceful settlement but “regrettably, the Israelis have not responded to him.” He blamed the United States for failing to press Israel to withdraw from Arab territories He said, “We support the Arab view because the Arabs became a victim of foreign occupation.” The statement from the Iranian Embassy in The Hague said, “There is no change in the policy of Iran regarding the Middle East. Iran firmly supports the Security Council Resolution 242 which demands the evacuation of all occupied territories by Israel.”