In an unprecedented meeting at his headquarters in the holy city of Qom, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini conferred Thursday with a delegation of Muslim militants holding the US hostages, a spokesman for the Ayatollah said. No details of the talks were immediately available.
The meeting came after Foreign Minister Sadeq Ghotzbadeh asked the Ayatollah to rule on the militants' demand that US charge d'Affaires Bruce Laingen, now in protective custody at the Iranian Foreign Ministry, be turned over to them at the occupied US Embassy.
So far Mr. Ghotbzadeh has acted as the chief negotiator for the ruling Islamic Revolutionary Council, but has faced militant opposition in his attempts to ease the Iranian-American crisis.
Meanwhile, government troops sealed off access roads Thursday to the hilltop radio station in the northwestern city of Tabriz, where fierce fighting between rival supporters of Iran's two leading Ayatollahs killed 8 persons and wounded 100 Wednesday. The troops set up sandbags at strategic points to defend the government-held station against any renewed attack by followers of the local religious leader, Ayatollah kazem Shariat-Madari.
Despite his appeals for calm, his supporters battled all day Wednesday with Revolutionary Guards and rival supporters of Ayatollah Khomeini.