Four Christian clergymen spent almost five hours at the occupied United States embassy in Teheran on Christmas day and later told reporters that the fifty hostages were in very good condition despite their sever-week ordeal.
SV: Demonstrators chanting, carrying two coffins, marching along streets
GV: Banners on wall of U.S. Embassy
GV: Crowd chanting as coffins raised above crowd
SV: Christmas cards being unloaded outside embassy. (5 shots)
SV INTERIOR: Reverend Coffin speaking in English at news conference
SV: News representatives
SV: Bishop Cumbleton speaking in English
COFFIN: "On the physical side you can't tell, they are in good shape. Now nobody says these are perfect conditions, who wants to be in anybody's capture, but they are, they do look well. Some of them bear the tension obviously a little bit better than others, that's to be expected but physically, they get an hour exercise a day, we were told, and non of them complained about the food. They said the soup was getting over tiresome. I noticed that most of them didn't take as many cookies as I certainly would, but they looked as though they were full. Their hands are no longer tied. They are not all living in solitary any more."
GUMBLETON:"Throughout the time I was with the hostages we sang together, we read scripture together, we prayed together, we shared in the eucharist. I should say we also wept together because it was a very hard experience for them and for me and yet in the midst of all that it was a very joyful experience."
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Background: Four Christian clergymen spent almost five hours at the occupied United States embassy in Teheran on Christmas day and later told reporters that the fifty hostages were in very good condition despite their sever-week ordeal. The reverend William Sloane Coffin, the Reverend William Howard and Bishop Thomas Gumbleton, from the United States, and the Archbishop of Algiers, Cardinal Leon Duval, conducted three separate Christmas ceremonies with the hostages and were afterwards allowed to talk to them.
SYNOPSIS: On Christmas eve, prior to the clergyman's visit, there were more demonstrations outside the captured United States Embassy. The coffins of two revolutionary guards killed in clashes with tribesmen in the southeastern baluchistan province of Iran, were paraded before the embassy, gates. Demonstrators shouted slogans blaming the United States for Iran's latest regional violence. Later in the day about one thousand employees of the state radio and television company marched past the embassy.
The second demonstration called for the trial of the hostages on spy charges. Meanwhile, Iran has made a formal request to Panama to extradite the deposed Shah.
As the fifty United States hostages awaited the arrival of the clergymen, a truckload of Christmas mail and bunches of flowers arrived at the embassy. This was the result of a national campaign in the United States to send Christmas Cards and letters to the hostages. After the visit, the clergymen spoke to a crowded news conference about the condition of the hostages.