”Both sides are very cautiously signaling each other that it’s time for a rapprochement. Iranians are tentatively interested in such a possibility, and the United States appears to be very interested.”
Gary G. Sick, an expert on the Persian Gulf region (National Security Council staff under President Carter)
Today, U.N. Secretary General Javier Perez de Cuellar met twice with Ali Akbar Velayati, Iran’s foreign minister, in the first formal talks about a cease-fire for the eight-year war between Iran and Iraq.
Reagan said that his administration is willing to talk with top Tehran officials on several issues, including the situation of the American hostages held in Lebanon. According to the White House spokesperson, Tehran did not replied to the message.
But the spiritual leader of a major fundamentalist group, Sheik Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah of the Party of God, believed to be funded and controlled by Tehran, has just issued a puzzling message. ”Time has come for a happy ending to the hostages’ plight,” the Sheik said.
Meanwhile, Bagdad announced that Iraqi forces will withdraw from Iranian territories occupied in the last week offensive. Should the peace process succeed, the UN is warning that the organization has no funds to send observers and peace keepers to the Iran-Iraq border.
The United States currently owes the United Nations $466.8 million as its contribution to the regular budget. The amount represents about two-thirds of all unpaid dues.
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