TEL AVIV (Jan. 18)
An associate of Iranian exiled religious leader Ayatollah Khoumeini indicated to two Israeli journalists that a new Islamic regime in Iron would continue to maintain relations with Israel if the latter agreed to a solution of the Palestinian issue in accordance with United Nations resolutions.
Dr, Ibrahim Yazdi, a senior advisor to Khoumeini, told correspondents of Maariv and Al Hamishmar to France that the only quarrel the Ayatullah’s anti-Shah movement has with Israel is over the oppression of Palestinians who lost their land and Israel’s alleged aid to Savok, the Shah’s hated secret police, according to reports published in the two newspapers today.
Yazdi received the Israelis in the Ayatullah’s guest room in Neauphle-le-Chateau near Paris, Khoumeini’s headquarters during his exile from Iran. Other advisors present denied anti-Semitic statements attributed to Khoumeini and disclosed that a delegation of Iranian Jews had in fact visited the Ayatullah several weeks ago.
Yazdi stressed that for the time being internal Iranian issues will have priority over foreign policy matters and that the new regime Khoumeini intends to establish in Iran will neither sever relations with any country nor establish new relations, at least in its early stages.
According to the Israel journalists, Khoumeini’s followers are no well acquainted with Middle Eastern problems and repeat the usual cliches. The more confident they feel, the less they express hostility to Jews and Israel, the reporters noted. What seemed to irk them most was their perception of Israel’s role in training the Savok.
Asked for proof of this, Yazdi said it was an “open secret.” He said the American news media had more than once published reports of cooperation between the Central Intelligence Agency, Savok and the Israeli secret services. He charged that the Israelis not only trained Savok but cooperated with it.
(In on interview last weekend, Khoumeini asserted that “We are against Israel and we will never help Israel. We will cut off all diplomatic relations. However, sending our army against Israel in any future probable war needs a thorough study, and at this time I do not have anything to say on that.
(The Ayatullah’s statement came in response to a reporter’s question on the CBS-TV program “Face the Nation, last Sunday. The reporter had asked him if he would put Iran’s army into action against Israel if there were another war in the Middle East. The interview was conducted in Pontchartrain, France.
(The Ayatullah also denied that he had made any anti-Semitic statements. This response was in conflict with passages in a book based on lectures he delivered in Persian in Iraq in 1970, “Islamic Government.” The little known book, published in Arabic, quotes him as expressing extreme hostility against Jews, whom he accuses of “plotting against Islam” and preparing the way to rule over the entire planet.)
It was learned here, meanwhile, that the Jewish Agency has been forced to close down its, offices in Teheran because of anti-Israel and anti-Jewish threats. The Agency has been trying to convince Iranian Jews to leave for Israel at once but conditions in Teheran are such that aliya activity is almost impossible there, reports said.