Americans say their visit to Iran helped relations
Despite criticisms that their trip to Iran could jeopardize release of the American hostages, US citizens returning from there say their trip eased US-Iranian relations, monitor writer Richard M. Harley reports.
* Their presence at the 60-nation Tehran conference on US-Iranian problems was well received, they said. "Our presence was seen as a very positive statement about what it means to be an American," said the Rev. Charles Kimball of Masachusetts. "Delegates from Iran and other countries were amazed that even without our government approval, we were allowed to travel to Iran."
* Iranians and Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini recognized the Americans' visit as evidence of concern and respect among private US citizens about the turmoil Iranian society has gone throgh, said Mary Anderson, an economist at the Massachusetss Institute of Technology.
The Americans represent various religious and peace groups. They went to Iran mainly to attend the conference on US-Iranian problems, at the invitation of Iran's government.
A 45-minute talk by the delegation leader, former US attorney General Ramsey Clark, was aired on Iranian TV. Mr. Clark criticized not only past US involvement in Iranian affairs but also in Iran's seizure of the hostages.
Meeting with an array of Iranian leaders, the delegation was left with the impression that the hostage crisis could be resolved without return of either the Shah or Iranian assets frozen in the United States, Nobel laureate biologist George Wald said.
But it will be necessary for the US, in the view of these peace activists, to acknowledge more fully Iran's grievances and deal more sensitively with Iranian concern about renewed US intervention. 10000000076:
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