TEL AVIV (Jan. 1)
An El Al plane left for Teheran today with a load of food, mainly bread and dairy products that are in short supply in the strife-torn Iranian capital. Special security measures were taken by the Teheran Airport authorities to enable the plane to land, it was learned here. They were required apparently after airport workers declared they would not service Israeli or American planes.
It was learned later that Teheran airport was paralyzed by a strike, forcing the El Al pilot to land without assistance from the control tower. The plane took off safely on the return flight to Israel with 160 passengers aboard, including many who had Israeli passports but no tickets. El Al and Pan American Airways are the only international air carriers still maintaining scheduled flights to Iran. Hundreds of foreigner anxious to leave were reported stranded at Teheran airport today.
It was reported from Paris; meanwhile, that the exiled Moslem leader, Ayatullah Khoumeini, has called on his followers to allow Israelis to leave Iran so that we shall see no more of them forever. See related story.
El Al cargo service to Iran has been suspended for the past week because there are no crews to unload the aircraft. Israeli exports by sea have also been halted. One Israeli ship has been anchored off an Iranian port for the past two weeks, unable to discharge its 200 container. Another ship, about to sail from Pilot to Iran with 200 containers, was ordered to remain in port.
Meanwhile, Solel Boneh, the Histadrut construction company, has made plans to evacuate its engineers and worker from Iran if the situation deteriorates any further. But for the time being they remain on the job. The Israeli firm is building two hotels and an industrial plan in Iran, projects amounting to $120 million. The equipment it would have to abandon if evacuation became necessary is reportedly insured against all risks.