Iranian politics continue to be overshadowed by the war with Iraq and the hostage issue.
GV EXT Military personnel carrying flags, marching in Teheran (2 shots)
SV Mourners chanting and jostling (2 shots)
SCU Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Ali Rajai surrounded by mourners
GV INT Mourners in mosque holding up pictures of Iranians killed in action (2 shots)
GV & SV Executive Affairs Minister Rehzad Nabavi speaking in Farsi at news conference (3 shots)
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Background: Iranian politics continue to be overshadowed by the war with Iraq and the hostage issue. In response to an American rejection of the latest demands for some 24 billion U.S. dollars to be deposited in Algeria for the release of the hostages, the cabinet minister handling Iran's side of the hostage dealings said on Tuesday (30 December) that Teheran might accept further U.S. counter-proposals. Executive Affairs Minister Rehzad Nabavi said the main condition would be that new guarantees and counter-proposals would have to be acceptable to the Algerian mediators.
SYNOPSIS: Iran's war with Iraq has proved a heavy burden on its resources and there has been speculation that the large financial guarantees it is seeking for the hostage release may be prompted by its costly involvement in the Gulf war. But in a defiant gesture Revolutionary Guards carrying national flags marched to a commemorative service for Iranians killed in action. Observers suggest the service was intended as a demonstration of solidarity for Iranian soldiers who are now fighting in the fifth month of the border war.
Thousands of mourners turned out for the service, and the emotional crowd struggled to be admitted to the mosque. Some were carrying portraits of revolutionary leader Ayatollah Khomeini, but most showed pictures of soldiers killed in action.
Inside the mosque Prime Minister Mohammad Ali Rajai and other leaders of government and clergy attended the commemorative service.
Despite a defiant mood towards Iraq, the position on the hostage issue and Iran's stance with the United States appears to have softened. President-elect Ronald Reagan's remarks describing the hostage captors as "barbarians" does not seem to have influenced the negotiations.
At a news conference on Tuesday (30 December) Iran's man in charge of the hostage negotiations, Rehzad Nabavi, said Reagan thinks he is still acting in a western movie. We don't take these things seriously, Mr Nabavi continued. Instead he said Iran would consider alternative U.S. guarantees and was prepared to continue the negotiations. Mr Nabavi said one position open to the United States was to pay back undisputed Iranian assets, while disputes are judged by arbitration. He said Iran could raise the claims with courts, but he made it clear that the hostages would remain in Iran until the courts had settled the dispute.