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Tehran to Help if U.S. Delivers Arms: Iranian

November 28, 1986|Associated Press

NICOSIA, Cyprus — The Speaker of Iran's Parliament said today that Tehran will help free U.S. hostages in Lebanon if "America stops being a bully" and delivers weapons bought by the late Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi.

In a sermon at Tehran University, Hashemi Rafsanjani denied reports that Israel was involved in the Reagan Administration's deliveries of arms to Iran.

Washington has said that "defensive weapons" were shipped to Iran with Israeli help in an effort to improve relations with Tehran. The weapons were delivered despite a 1979 embargo on the sale of U.S. arms to Iran.

"If America stops being a bully and returns our materiel held there, we will call on the Lebanese people to help you on the question of the hostages," Rafsanjani said.

Iran says that, rather than buy arms from Washington, it is accepting delivery of arms owed it by the United States. U.S. officials have said that the arms delivered this year were paid for by Tehran and that profits from the deal were passed on to Nicaraguan rebels fighting the leftist government in Managua.

Six Americans are missing in Lebanon after being kidnaped by pro-Iranian Shia Muslim extremists. Three Americans held hostage in Lebanon have been freed.

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