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President Reagan's Secret Dealing With Iran

November 23, 1986

I found Dimitri K. Simes' article (Editorial Pages, Nov. 9) a bit disturbing. I particularly felt that he did not give the Reagan Administration the credit it deserved in expediting the release of the Rev. Benjamin Weir, Father Lawrence Jenco and David Jacobsen. These men have been held far too long for the government to continue its stalemate with the abductors. Simes' feelings might be different if he or one of his loved ones were being held by extremists halfway around the world.

Simes says that the Reagan Administration dealt with uncertain partners in Iran in pursuit of even more uncertain objectives. This statement, although true, does not point out the fact that the Reagan Administration had two options: continue the stalemate or seek an end to the hostage issue.

What Simes also did not point out is the fact that the Administration did not yield on the captors' principal demand: release of 17 terrorists being held in Kuwait on charges of dynamiting U.S. embassies. So, although the captors did gain some arms and jet spare parts, these items are far less than the captors were originally requesting.

However, I do not think we should give in to every extremist who employs a gun and takes a hostage. But when it comes down to spare parts for human life I personally would have to choose life.

TONY NELSON

Villa Park

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