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Khomeini stands aside from debate on hostages

Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini remained aloof from the parliamentary debate over the 52 American hostages, an indication he will let the Majlis (parliament) run its course in deciding the fate of the captives. The revolutionary leader, in an hour-long speech marking the Eid-Ghadir Muslim holiday, made no mention of the hostages. Western diplomats had hoped his speech would contain some hints on how to resolve the hostage issue. But because of his silence on the issue, it could now be several more days at least before the assembly announces its demands in return for freeing the Americans.

Meanwhile, West German television said the commission discussing conditions for the release of the hostages added another demand: three hours of US television time for the Majlis to "present its position on the problem to the American people." The other conditions are: return of the Shah's fortune, unfreezing of Iran's assets in the United States, a nonintervention guarantee, and a promise that the US would make no demands on Iran as a consequence of the hostage taking.

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