Iran's Majlis (parliament) on Thursday (18 September) failed to set up a special commission on the United States.
18 SEPTEMBER 1980 , TEHERAN, IRAN (REUTERS - BAHRAM MOLAI)
GV INTERIOR Parliament meeting in Teheran, Iran
SV Delegate speaking
SV Speaker addressing the house and delegates speaking (2 shots)
TV Former Premier Mehdi Bazargan speaking
SV Army officer taking his seat next to Prime Minister Rajai
CU ZOOM OUT FROM Speaker of house TO Delegates leaving parliament
Background: Iran's Majlis (parliament) on Thursday (18 September) failed to set up a special commission on the United States. During an ill-tempered debate some members of the Government demanded to put at least some of fifty-two American hostages of trial.
The debate wrangled on for three hours over who should sit on the special hostage commission and what the objectives should be. One hardline member wanted the commission to be restricted to deputies who had approved of the embassy takeover. Another renewed the call for a trial saying one American, a Vietnam veteran, should be the first to go before the court.
Yet another said the "American frame of mind" should be put on trail rather than individuals. Ayatollah Sadeq Khalkhali, the judge who has ordered hundreds of executions since the Islamic revolution, claimed they were all spies. There were signs that the hostage issue could become the backdrop for a drawn-out argument in the Majlis about the handling of relations with the United States, still considered the "great Satan of the Iranian Revolution." The biggest group in the Parliament, the Islamic Republican Party showed little concern about the economic and diplomatic damage caused by holding the hostages.
Former Prime Minister Mehdi Bazargan came under repeated attacks for talking with American officials after the revolution. He defended himself saying his actions were sanctioned by the Ayatollah Khomeini, but was shouted down.
The bitter debate had reached no conclusion when Prime Minister Mohammad Rajai and senior army officers, interested in a closed session about border fighting with Iraq, filed into the chamber.
The press and public galleries were cleared for a report on relations with Iraq, which on Wednesday (17 September) cancelled a comprehensive 1975 agreement with Iran. One presidential aide described the move as a declaration of war.