AMMAN, Jordan — After a lengthy silence, the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini of Iran today rebuked officials of his government who were involved in efforts to improve relations with the United States.
The 84-year-old spiritual leader of Iran's Islamic revolution mentioned no officials by name, but his remarks, broadcast by Tehran Radio, appeared designed to suspend the contacts established by the Reagan Administration.
"Why should we be so Western-oriented or Satan-oriented?" Khomeini said, according to unofficial translations of the broadcast. Since the Iranian revolution in 1979 deposed Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, "The Great Satan" has been Khomeini's name for the United States.
Saying some Iranian officials had fallen victim to propaganda by the White House, which he called the "Black House," Khomeini said: "I never expected such a thing from these people. At this time they should be screaming at America."
Seeming to revel in the U.S. uproar over President Reagan's moves to renew ties with Tehran, Khomeini also said Reagan "should go into mourning because of this disgrace."
Hints at Power Struggle
Khomeini, who was addressing relatives of soldiers killed in the country's war with Iraq, also appeared to lend credence to recent reports suggesting that a power struggle is under way among high-ranking members of the government.
"Why do you want to create divisions among the heads of the country?" the Iranian leader asked. "What has come upon us? Where are we going?"
Reagan acknowledged last week that the United States had sent a "small amount" of arms and spare parts to Iran in an effort to open a diplomatic dialogue with so-called moderate forces in Iran. He denied that the arms sales were ransom paid for three American hostages held in Lebanon.
Since the diplomatic overture was disclosed two weeks ago, Iranian officials have been at pains to distance themselves from the reported negotiations with Washington.
Yet remarks by some officials, notably Parliament Speaker Hashemi Rafsanjani, have left open the possibility that Iran might try to improve relations with the United States if the American government were to meet conditions laid down by the Tehran government.