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The World

June 18, 1989

Foreign hostages held in Lebanon by pro-Iranian militants could be freed with the improvement of relations between Tehran and the West following the death of the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, a top cleric said in Beirut. Hezbollah (Party of God) spiritual leader Sheik Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah told the Deutsche Presse-Agentur news agency: "The captors are now convinced their prisoners' issue has become over-consumed. The war against terrorism in the world is over. The United States and the West have much greater issues to dwell on. . . . Iran no longer has any interest in keeping those hostages in detention."

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