Bakhtiar, others seek help to oust Khomeini regime
Exiled former Iranian Prime Minister Shahpour Bakhtiar and two former Iranian generals are trying to rally United States, Western, and Muslim countries' support for a counterrevolution against Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini's regime.
In a Persian-language message telephoned to Iranian emigres in the US from his Paris base April 28, Mr. Bakhtiar endorsed the aborted US attempt of April 24 to free the American hostages.
Mr. Bakhtiar also reproached the Carter administration for not asking for help in the operation from the anti-Khomeini forces he represents.
He asked Iranian emigres to inform the US government, which the emigres believe is still reeling under the shock of Secretary of State Cyrus Vance's April 28 resignation, that the US should consult Mr. Bakhtiar and his anti-Khomeini friends before making any more moves to free the hostages.
"US action," the Bakhtiar statement said, "to free its own compatriots in Iran was acceptable and within the US right. Otherwise, however, I hope no foreign power will interfere in Iran militarily, and . . . I believe we and the Americans should sit down at the same table and deal with the problems together.
"It is not useful that the Americans dispatch any more of their forces to Iran, as this could provoke Soviet intervention. The Americans should have consulted us to prevent failure of their raid," Mr. Bakhtiar's message concluded.
Mr. Bakhtiar's bid for US consultation seems to contradict charges by various Iranian elements that US forces infiltrated into Tehran before April 24 in preparation for the April 24 rescue attempt at the embassy compound were already working with the Bakhtiar group.
Western analysts believe the two Khomeini opponents most capable of leading a counterrevolution are Gen. Gholam Ali Oveisi, now reported working with the government of Iran's hostile Arab neighbor, Iraq, and Gen. Bahram Aryana.
Mr. Bakhtiar has tried to establish a close-knit political and military network with General Oveisi, who commanded the Iranian ground forces before the Shah's overthrow in February 1979, knowledgeable sources say. However, General Oveisi and General Aryana, who heads a rightist movement called Azadegan, have so far preferred a looser form of cooperation with the former Iranian prime minister, the last appointed by the Shah.
Until about two months ago, General Oveisi was living some of the time in the United States. Though unpublicized, a demand for his extradition to Iran, along with the Shah, was among the early conditions posed by the militants for release of the American hostages.
"General Oveisi," reports Strategy Week, a newsletter published in Washington by defense analyst Gregory R. Copley, "has moved quietly behind the scenes to develop a strong military team and the bases from which to prepare. His funding position is known to be sound."
General Aryana, an older man than General Oveisi, took the lead in modernizing the Iranian armed forces before resigning after a quarrel with the Shah in 1970. He now lives in Paris.
Supporters of Mr. Bakhtiar in the United States, who have organized an anti-Khomeini group called Iran Freedom Foundation, complain that the US State Department's Iran working group, headed by senior diplomat Henry Precht, has refused to talk with them or take them seriously. Official US rejection, they say, has included denial of permission to broadcast their communiques and commentaries on either Voice of America or Radio Free Europe shortwave broadcast facilities.