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Iranian Official Says PLO Will Be Given Political Aid but No Arms

February 28, 1979
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Dr. Ibrahim Yazdi, Iran’s Deputy Prime Minister and a close aide of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khoumeini, said in a television interview last night that the new Iranian government would provide the Palestine Liberation Organization with “political and moral” aid but not with troops or weapons.

Interviewed via satellite from Teheran on the Public Broadcasting Service’s “Mac Neil Lehrer Report,” Yazdi said the PLO merited Iran’s political and moral support because the Palestinians were an “oppressed” people.

He said Iran was not planning to provide the PLO with arms or men, noting he believed they did not need such aid. Yazdi, who is in charge of carrying out the Islamic revolution in Iran, added that for the near future Iran would be chiefly involved with its own domestic problems.

His remarks seemed to contradict the numerous statements made last week by PLO chieftain Yasir Arafat when he was shepherded around Iran by Yazdi. Arafat implied that Iran would now join the fighting against Israel by supplying the PLO with arms and putting its troops on the front line.

In addition, a report from Teheran yesterday quoted Hahi al-Hassan, a leader of EI Fatah and the head of the PLO’s new office in Teheran, as saying the new Iranian government has made “the liberation of Jerusalem from Israeli occupation one of its foremost religious and moral commitments. ” He said Iranian leaders, including Khoumeini, made this pledge last week to Arafat. He said that much of the discussion between Arafat and Khoumeini was over the establishment of “a common strategy and a common approach” against Israel.

In the PBS interview, Yazdi said Iran would not interfere in the efforts to reach an Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty because he said no matter what type of document was signed by those two countries it would be meaningless.

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