INTRODUCTION: Iran's Parliament on Tuesday (13 January) postponed for a day a debate and vote on two urgent government bills designed to clear the way for reaching agreement with the United States on the release of the American hostages.
GV Speaker of the house Hojatoleslam Hashemi Rafsanjani seated in Majlis ZOOM OUT TO LV delegates seated
GV & SVs Delegates seated (4 shots)
SV Rafsanjani seated and speaking
GV EXTERIORS U.S. Embassy in Algiers
SV American flag flying outside Embassy PULL BACK TO GV Embassy building
GV US flag flying PULL BACK TO GV Embassy
CU Sign outside Embassy in English & Arabic ZOOM OUT TO LV Sign on wall
GV Car driving through embassy gates
SV Warren Christopher & aide entering embassy door
TELERECORDING/PART SATELLITE TELERECORDING
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Background: INTRODUCTION: Iran's Parliament on Tuesday (13 January) postponed for a day a debate and vote on two urgent government bills designed to clear the way for reaching agreement with the United States on the release of the American hostages. A Deputy Speaker of the Majlis (Parliament) said not enough members of Iran's Council of Guardians, a constitutional watchdog body, were present for the debate to take place. Under Iran's constitution, members of the 12-man council have to attend when legislation considered urgent is being discussed.
SYNOPSIS: The Majlis session began on schedule under the guidance of Speaker of the House, Hojatoleslam Hashemi Rafsanjani, and proceeded with routine business. The bills due to be debated covered the nationalisation of the late Shah's wealth, and authorization for the government to allow third-party arbitration over disputed legal claims. Both bills are a necessary legal preliminary for the Iranian government to go ahead with an agreement to end the 14-month captivity of the 52 American. A Parliamentary spokesman denied that the hold-up was other than an accident, and said there was no political obstacle to approving the bills.
In Algiers, United States Deputy Secretary of State Warren Christopher reported he was making progress in the negotiations for the release of the hostages.
Mr. Christopher told State Department spokesman John Trattner by telephone from the American Embassy in Algiers, that he was extending his stay by another day. Mr.Trattner told newsmen in Washington that Mr.Christopher had cautioned against optimism because fundamental differences remained, and he refused to comment on the delay in the Majlis debate. Mr. Christopher arrived in Algiers on January the 8th, and has, through Algerian intermediaries,been answering Iranian questions about Washington's position on the hostage issue.
Speculation has arisen that Iran is anxious to reach a deal with the United States over the captives before President Carter leaves office on January the 20th, although it is unlikely the hostages could be freed until after Ronald Reagan's inauguration. Iran last month (December) demanded a 24-billion dollar advance deposit to cover sums it claimed the United States is holding in frozen Iranian assets, and money belonging to the late Shah, which it believed was in the United States. Washington rejected this demand as unreasonable. Diplomatic sources say both sides are now making compromises to speed an end to the dispute.