In Iran, Prime Minister Shapur Baktiar has said there is a big international plot threatening the country's sovereignty and integrity and urged public support for the armed forces.
In Iran, Prime Minister Shapur Baktiar has said there is a big international plot threatening the country's sovereignty and integrity and urged public support for the armed forces. On Thursday (11 January) the new Prime Minister, a Social Democrat chosen by the Shah to resolve the country's grave political crisis, was presenting his cabinet and outlining its policies to the Iranian Parliament.
SYNOPSIS: In Teheran two days of snow brought the city to a standstill, with people concentrating on the daily necessities of buying food and queueing for scarce petrol and heating oil. But the military continue their patrols.
It was a crucial day for the new Prime Minister. He presented a Social Democrat government programme, on which moderates have pinned their hopes for a solution to Iran's violent political crisis.
Dr. Baktiar is seeking a vote of confidence for his new cabinet and political programme. The sixty-three year old Prime Minister needs approval from both houses of parliament to continue in office. During his speech, Dr. Baktiar did not mention the Shah, but Reuters news agency say his departure from the country is generally regarded as essential in order to restore calm. But a palace spokesman has said the Shah will not take a holiday abroad until both houses of parliament give the new government a vote of confidence.
On domestic policy, Dr. Baktiar promised a Social Democratic programme, with a guarantee of freedom of speech and a pledge to gradually lift martial law, imposed on Teheran and eleven other cities last September. In a shift of emphasis in foreign policy, he said Iran would review relations with South Africa and halt oil sales there - as well as to Israel. He said Iran would support the Palestinians in their moves to "recover their legitimate rights" and strengthen relations with all Moslem countries.
Dr. Baktiar also announced that the much feared Iranian Secret police - SAVAK - will be disbanded and another organisation formed.
After hearing his speech, the lower house of the Iranian parliament was disbanded until Saturday (13 January, when the vote of confidence will be taken.