Iran Held McFarlane 5 Days After He Arrived in Disguise : Tehran Says Reagan Sent Cake, Bible

From Times Wire Services

The Speaker of Iran's Parliament said today that former U.S. national security adviser Robert C. McFarlane and four other Americans were arrested in Tehran, detained for five days and expelled recently after they arrived in disguise on a secret diplomatic mission, the official Islamic Republic News Agency reported.

The agency did not specify when the reported expulsion took place but said it was recently.

It said the five men, posing as aircraft crewmen with a message seeking improved relations between the two nations, "brought a Bible signed by (President) Reagan and a cake."

An aide to McFarlane, who was Reagan's national security adviser until last December, said McFarlane would have no comment on the subject. The White House and the State Department also refused to comment.

September Visit

A Lebanese magazine reported in this week's editions that McFarlane visited Tehran in September and stayed in the Independence Hotel. But the Washington Post today quoted McFarlane as denying "categorically" that he was in Tehran "last month."

There were other published reports in the Middle East that American hostage David P. Jacobsen was freed Sunday as a result of negotiations between the United States and Iran.

The IRNA report from Tehran was based on a speech Hashemi Rafsanjani, the Parliament Speaker, gave at a ceremony marking the anniversary of the seizure of the U.S. Embassy in 1979 by militant students.

The agency quoted him as saying the American move was a sign of Washington's "weakness."

Rafsanjani said McFarlane and his companions were confined to a hotel in Iran for five days and then deported.

Phone Conversations Taped

He also said Iranian security officials have a tape recording of telephone conversations between Reagan and his envoys.

According to Rafsanjani, McFarlane and the others arrived in Tehran on a flight carrying military equipment for Iran. He said Iran had purchased the equipment from international dealers.

"The American envoys carried Irish passports with duplicates now being kept by Iranian officials," Rafsanjani said.

Al-Shiraa, a Lebanese weekly magazine, reported in its latest edition that McFarlane went to Tehran in September and stayed in the Independence Hotel. It said that he went to discuss an end to Iranian support for terrorist groups and that he provided U.S. military spare parts as encouragement.

The Lebanese magazine report attributed its information to sources close to Mehdi Hashemi, the son-in-law of the Ayatollah Hussein Ali Montazeri, the chosen successor to the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.

Met With Officials

The sources said McFarlane met with officials from the Iranian Foreign Ministry, Parliament and the army.

Al-Shiraa said the talks concentrated on the Iraq-Iran war and international terrorism. The Iranian officials reportedly asked the United States to halt military and political support to Iraq and provide Iran with spare parts for its U.S.-built fighter jets, tanks and radar equipment.

The sources were quoted as saying the United States subsequently sent military hardware in four U.S. transport planes from a base in the Philippines and the parts let the Iranian air force shoot down six Iraqi planes.

Asked if U.S. policy on an arms sale ban in the Iran-Iraq war has changed, presidential spokesman Larry Speakes said: "We're just not going to comment. . . . I don't think it serves the interest of the hostages."

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