State Department Expresses Concern over Khomeini’s Attacks on the United States, Javits and His Wife
Menu JTA Search

State Department Expresses Concern over Khomeini’s Attacks on the United States, Javits and His Wife

Download PDF for this date

Virulent attacks on the United States by Iranian leaders, including Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, in which the American government was called “a wounded snake” and a statement that Sen. Jacob K. Javits (R.NY) and his wife Marion are wanted in Iran for “corruption and misappropriation of Iranian public funds” were assessed by the State Department today as being of “concern.” But it refused to take a stronger stand.

Referring to the attack on Javits, a Department spokesman, Kenneth Brown, said that the “comments such as we have all read on the distinguished U.S. Senator is a matter of concern to us.” When he was asked whether anti-Semitism may be involved in the Iranian attack on Javits, Brown said he was “not going beyond that.”

When he was asked whether he would go no further than using the word “concern,” Brown replied: “Right now, yes.” Brown said “we understand that the New York police” are providing security for Javits and that Javits would receive protection in Washington, too. There was a report that former Secretary of State William Rogers has been threatened, too, but Brown said he did not know of anybody else except for Javits. Rogers represents the pablevi Foundation that was set up by the Shah’s Family.

Javits himself said “it’s just ridiculous” and his office said he would not have any further comment.


The Iranian Foreign Ministry expressed its outrage at U.S. Senate criticism in a unanimously adopted resolution last Thursday sponsored by Javits regarding Iran’s execution of more than 200 persons, including the former. Jewish community leader Habib Elkanian. The Iranians told the U.S. not to send a new Ambassador to Teheran and warned that Senate criticism was “interference” that could result in Iran’s “limit” of relations with the U.S. At present, the U.S. Mission in Teheran is headed by Charge d’Affaires Charles Nass.

The Iranian Foreign Ministry’s attack followed Khomeini’s remark that President Carter’s concern for human rights is a mockery because Carter is unable to deal with “matters such as humanity.” He said that “although the American government has condemned us, we have to see what the American people have to say about it because the U.S. government is like a wounded snake at the moment because of our victory. But the people are not like that.” He added that “it is they who need us” because of Iranian oil.

When asked whether he had a comment about Khomeini’s remarks on the “snake” description, Brown replied, “I do not.” He then added, “Don’t tread on me,” a reference to the slogan on a banner during the American Revolution.

According to reports here, the leader of the Iranian Tribunal, Ayatollah Sadegh Khalkhali, said that Javits and his wife are wanted in Iran because of Javits’ position on behalf of the Shah and Mrs. Javits’ service for a public relations firm hired by the Iranian National Airlines during the Shah’s reign. Mrs. Javits resigned from the company in January, 1976 after it was said her work might lead to a conflict of interest because of her husband’s position.


Regarding Iran’s protest to the United States Brown said that the U.S. is reviewing “the state of our relations” and noted “we have been seeking to establish a sound relationship” and “we will continue.” He also said “we believe we should put the past behind us,” and that “we support the (Iranian)

When Brown was asked whether the U.S. government has asked other democratic countries to join it in protesting excesses in Iran or whether it was going to take the issue to the United Nations, he said that it had not. Sens. Robert Byrd (D.W.Va.), the Senate Majority Leader, and Howard Baker (R.Tenn.), the Minority Leader, had urged in Senate speeches that other nations cooperate with the U.S. in condemning the executions in Iran.

Byrd told the Senate today that he was “sorry” that Javits was “singled out” by the Iranian government for the Senate resolution expressing abhorrence of trials without due process. Supported by Baker, Byrd said “This (the resolution) is an action of the Senate.” He said he hoped “more indignation will be expressed from the international community, especially the Islamic countries.”

In one of several attacks on Javits and the Senate, Iranian Deputy Information Minister Mehdi Momken said yesterday: “The form and composition of the U.S. Senate is that they always support Israel and Zionists, and the people of the Third World have always been suppressed by them.”

In his statement to the Senate, Byrd pointed out that the resolution was “co-sponsored” by himself, Baker and Frank Church (D.Idaho), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. “The Senate’s action is not interference in Iran’s internal affairs. When a government allows systematic executions without due process, that connot be looked upon as purely an internal matter,” Byrd said. “And certainly, when officials” of the Iranian tribunals “issue what they call an order to assassinate former leaders of that country who now reside in other countries, it becomes an international affair,” he added.

Byrd said, “I want to see good relations once more between our two countries. However, such relations should not require that we pay the price of silence when faced with this pattern of executions and international calls for assassinations.”

Founding Funders

The digitization of the JTA Archive would not have been possible without the generous support of the following donors:
  • The Gottesman Fund
  • Righteous Persons Foundation
  • Charles H. Revson Foundation
  • Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner, in honor of Norma Spungen
  • George S. Blumenthal
  • Grace and Scott Offen Charitable Fund