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This Takes the Cake; Where's the Key?

November 14, 1986|From a Times Staff Writer

WASHINGTON — The mysterious cake that former White House national security adviser Robert C. McFarlane reportedly carried on a secret mission to Iran may not have been shaped like a key after all.

The Speaker of Iran's Parliament, Hashemi Rafsanjani, said in a speech last week that McFarlane landed in Tehran in May carrying a cake, a Bible autographed by President Reagan and a brace of pistols as gifts for Iranian officials.

Initial reports of the speech quoted Rafsanjani as saying that the cake was in the shape of a key. But a later translation of the speech by the U.S. government's Foreign Broadcast Information Service quotes Rafsanjani describing the cake "as a key to establishing relations" between the United States and Iran--not as being shaped like a key.

Rafsanjani added that offering a cake as an official gift "is something we have not heard of before."

He said the security guards keeping watch over McFarlane "were extremely hungry. . . . (They) took the cake and ate it."

McFarlane said in an interview published Wednesday that there was no truth to the report that he carried a cake in the shape of a key.

"I just don't do things like that," he told the Washington Times.

He also denied carrying a Bible inscribed by Reagan. "I never heard of the Bible episode until I read about it in the papers," he said. "I also was never held prisoner in a Tehran hotel."

In his speech, Rafsanjani said McFarlane was arrested shortly after he arrived.

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