Bani-Sadr implies Iran's hard-liners out to kill him
While world attention was focused on the hostage issue in Iran, three alleged assassination attemps on President Abolhassan Bani-Sadr since mid-November appear to have gone practically unnoticed.
Disclosures of the attempts have been made in recent days by Mr. Bani-Sadr himself. Writing in a "President's Diary" in his own newspaper, Inqilab-i Islami, he says the first attempt was made on Nov. 19, the day he launched a blistering attack on his fundamentalist opponents.
One of those involved in the attempt sent a letter recently to Mr. Bani-Sadr telling him that he and a group of others had gone in disquise to a big rally in Freedom Square in Tehran that day. They wer armed and had intended to kill him.The President does not say whether the attempt was foiled or was simply not carried out.
A second attempt was planned sometime in mid-January when Mr. Bani-Sadr was in Khuzistan Province. A rocket- propelled grenade was to have been fired at his vehicle on the road between Ahvaz and Andimeshk, which is about 18 miles to the north.
A report submitted to the President said that the group that was to have carried out the assassination had "identified his vehicle in advance."
The road is still in Iranian hands, but is only about 20 miles east of the front with the Iraqi forces. Mr. Bani-Sadr spends much of his time near the front, and the assassination might have been made to look as if it had been carried out by the Iraqis.
In yet another report submitted to the President, he learned that he was to have been killed in an "automobile accident" and that ceremonies "of public mourning" were to have been ordered for him after he was killed.
In none of these disclosures does Mr. Bani-Sadr say who was involved in the murder attempts. But implicit in the "public mourning" part of the plot is an implication that it was to have been carried out by people in power in Iran, probably his fundamentalist opponents.
Anyway, the President has promised to make further disclosures, adding that the war situation prevailing in Iran prevents him from saying more now.
But his recent speeches in Qazvin, Isfahan, and Jiroft indicate that he is simmering with rage, and the expectation is that he may make another blistering attack in his speech in Freedom Square schedueld for Feb. 11, the anniversary of the Iranian revolution.
In his Isfahan speech, he praised the people for having defeated the "club-wielders." This was a reference to an earlier incident-in which opponents of Majlis (parliament) deputy Ahmad Salamatian tried to have him removed from his Majlis seat through demonstrations and a "public demand" in his constituency , Isfahan.
Mr. Salamatian is a proBani-Sadr deputy, and was his presidential campaign manager a year ago. Another more massive demonstration was in support of Salamatian.
Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini's representative then left town in a huff claiming that the clergy had been insulted. But he was ordered back to his job by Khomeini.
Mr. Bani-Sadr said in his Isfahan speech Jan. 24 that there were "groups who want to impose themselves on society by force." He urged the Isfahanis to continue to "stand firm against them in the name of freedom for our country, freedom for the Islamic Republic."
In Jiroft, a small town about 220 miles north of Bandar Abbas, his opponents disrupted his public address system when he tried to speak in a local stadium. A similar incident had occurred during the Qazvin speech.
These actions aroused the President and he lashed out at his opponents -- but without naming them. He accused them of "trying to return Iran to times worse than the former ones," a reference to the Shah's regime.