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Tehran Apparently Cool to Soviet Gulf Peace Mission

November 02, 1987|From Times Wire Services

MANAMA, Bahrain — Yuli M. Vorontsov, the Soviet Union's first deputy foreign minister, left Iran for home Sunday, apparently having failed to move either Iran or Iraq toward a peaceful settlement of the Persian Gulf War.

Vorontsov received a relatively cool reception in Tehran, where the highest-ranking officials he was allowed to meet were Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Velayati, Deputy Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Larijani and Under Secretary Mohammed Ali Besharati.

Voronstov's mission was seen as Moscow's attempt to gain leverage in the Persian Gulf following Washington's decision to provide U.S. naval protection to 11 re-flagged Kuwaiti oil tankers.

Met With Hussein

Vorontsov started his tour Wednesday in Baghdad, where Iraqi President Saddam Hussein reiterated his country's objections to what he said were attempts to help Iran circumvent a peace campaign by the Western members of the U.N. Security Council.

In Kuwait, the Soviet official was under pressure to say explicitly that Moscow would join efforts for a U.N. arms embargo against Iran if it continued procrastinating on last July's Security Council cease-fire resolution.

Vorontsov would promise only to seek to dissuade Iran from further missile attacks on Kuwait, which Iran sees as an ally of Iraq in the seven-year-old war.

Meanwhile, British Foreign Secretary Geoffrey Howe, visiting Egypt on Sunday, also called on the Soviet Union to back an arms embargo against Iran if Tehran fails to heed the U.N. call for a cease-fire.

Welcomes Soviet Diplomacy

At a press conference in Cairo, Howe welcomed recent Soviet diplomatic efforts in the gulf area.

But he said Moscow was to blame for failure to start work on a gulf arms embargo resolution.

"The main reason for this has been Soviet reluctance," he said.

Howe also said the Soviets, arguing for a U.N. naval force, should first explain how "this immensely complex operation" could be agreed upon quickly when the cease-fire and arms embargo were still not being implemented.

Howe flew to Jordan on Sunday after talks with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and other Egyptian officials in which, he said, they agreed on the need for an international Middle East peace conference.

In military action Sunday, Iraqi jets carried out "a destructive raid" on oil installations at Omidiyeh and at the Barkan oil fields in southwestern Iran, "setting them ablaze with clouds of smoke rising from them," Iraq's official news agency, monitored in Cyprus, said.

It said Iraqi long-range artillery shelled the southwestern cities of Abadan and Khorramshahr.

The Iranian news agency IRNA said Iranian jets retaliated five hours later with attacks on Iraq's Ain al Zala oil complex northeast of Mosul. The raids caused "extensive damage," IRNA said.

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