`No exceptions' to embargo on arms to Iran, Shultz testifies
Secretary of State George P. Shultz says he authorized two administration representatives to meet with Iranians on Dec. 13 in West Germany to formally transmit word that the United States would no longer sell arms to Tehran. Since then, Mr. Shultz told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee yesterday, ``there isn't any contact in that channel'' between the Reagan administration and the Iranian government, although the two sides have dealings through an international claims tribunal and in ``other ways,'' which he did not identify.
Shultz also repeated U.S. policy that ``there will be no further exceptions'' to the U.S. attempt to embargo arms to Iran.
``No more transfers ... either directly or through a third party,'' said the secretary, who opposed President Reagan's order authorizing the sales of arms to Iranians in 1985 and 1986. Anyone violating the president's arms embargo policy ``is in deep trouble,'' Shultz said.
Reagan has said that he permitted the sale in hopes of establishing a relationship with ``moderates'' inside the revolutionary government of the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, although others have said the sales became a de facto exchange for American hostages in Beirut.
Shultz told the committee the administration wants better ties with Tehran, but ``Iran's rejection of its bellicose and its terrorist policies will be a necessary first step.'' He also said it is in Iran's interest to seek better ties with the US, given mutual fears of the Soviet Union.
In a televised appearance, Shultz also denied that he considered resigning late last year in protest over the arms sales, but declined to answer other questions about his discussions with Reagan.
Committee Chairman Claiborne Pell (D) of Rhode Island complimented Shultz as having shown ``the good sense to oppose and to continue to oppose the arms sales to Iran.'' He added: ``It's up to you to pick up the pieces'' of foreign policy.
Shultz's public testimony came the morning after Hashemi Rafsanjani, the speaker of Iran's parliament, said in a CBS-TV interview that a State Department emissary met with Iranian arms buyers as recently as ``a few weeks ago'' with suggestions for continuing a relationship between the United States and Iran. ``But we told them that we no more receive any suggestions because we have lost faith in you,'' Rafsanjani said.
Shultz offered a sharply different account of the session. He said that after being placed in charge of the Iranian policy, he learned that a CIA official had scheduled a meeting in Frankfurt, West Germany with ``the Iranian person they had been dealing with.''
Shultz said that with the President's approval, he assigned State Department official Charles Dunbar to accompany the CIA official -- George Cave -- to the meeting. ``The basic purpose of the meeting was to say through that channel ... that any thought on their part that there were going to be further sales of arms was wrong.''
Shultz said that during the session, held Dec. 13, ``we discovered a number of other things of importance'' that he promptly relayed to the President.
``He was truly appalled and shocked by what I told him, just as I was,'' Shultz said, without elaboration.
Under questioning from Pell, Shultz said there is no longer contact between the two governments in that channel.