WASHINGTON — U.N. Secretary General Javier Perez de Cuellar, seeking to negotiate an end to the Iran-Iraq war, won assurances of cooperation from both sides during visits to Tehran and Baghdad and strengthened his hand as a potential peacemaker, diplomats here said Monday.
Perez de Cuellar left Iran on Monday after an overnight stay during which he talked to top officials there about all aspects of the war, which began 4 1/2 years ago with an invasion by Iraq. Although the visit to Tehran produced no concrete results, the Iranian government commented favorably.
"We were very receptive to his visit," Said Rajai-Khorasani, Iran's ambassador to the United Nations, said in a telephone interview. "He didn't have any particular proposals; he wanted to speak to our officials, and I think he was pleased."
Perez de Cuellar got his warmest welcome from Hashemi Rafsanjani, Speaker of Parliament and a spokesman for the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, Iran's supreme leader. Rafsanjani hailed the visitor as the only trustworthy mediator among many international candidates.
Support for Iran Charges
Some State Department officials, requesting anonymity, also viewed Perez de Cuellar's reception in Tehran as a favorable sign. U.N. officials credited the relatively warm atmosphere in part to a report by the Security Council last month supporting Iran's charges that Iraq has used mustard gas against Iranian troops.
In Baghdad, Perez de Cuellar scored diplomatic points when he was met at the airport by Foreign Minister Tarik Aziz, who affirmed "Iraq's readiness to cooperate in working out a just, honorable settlement to the conflict as a means of reaching a comprehensive peace."
Iraqi President Saddam Hussein later was quoted by Baghdad television as saying his country was prepared "sincerely and seriously to cooperate with the United Nations to discuss practical solutions that lead to an end to the fighting and solve the conflict in a way that guarantees both countries' dignity and sovereignty."
The Iraqis have said they are willing to begin peace talks aimed at an overall settlement, but the Iranians have in the past insisted that peace is impossible as long as Hussein heads the Baghdad government.
Meets With Qatar's Ruler
Before and after the Tehran visit, Perez de Cuellar conferred with Sheik Khalifa ibn Hamad al Thani, ruler of Qatar, who presented an Arab peace plan on behalf of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council, calling for a cease-fire and negotiations for a permanent settlement. The moderate oil-producing gulf states, led by Saudi Arabia, reportedly offered to finance postwar reconstruction in Iran and Iraq as an incentive for acceptance of their plan.
Perez de Cuellar is expected to return to his New York headquarters Wednesday to consider the next move in his campaign for peace.
Meanwhile, Iran renewed its chemical weapons charges against Iraq on Monday, accusing the Baghdad regime of using "mustard and nerve gases" in four areas on their southern battle front. The latest charge could not be independently confirmed, but the U.S. State Department has also accused Iraq of using chemical weapons.
The Iraqi military said in its daily war communique that Iraqi warplanes attacked Iranian troop concentrations in the Hawaiza region of southern Iraq. The Iranians did not comment on the communique.