Iran to Get No More U.S. Arms Shipments: Reagan : Approval of Deal Still in Effect
President Reagan said today he has “absolutely no plans” to send more arms to Iran, although his spokesman said the President’s authorization for the weapons shipments technically remains in effect.
Reagan approved the arms shipment in an effort to improve relations with the country and help win the freedom of U.S. hostages held in Lebanon by pro-Iranian extremists. But he has denied that there was any outright deal of arms for hostages.
During an Oval Office picture taking session with Argentine President Raul Alfonsin, Reagan was asked: “Mr. President, are you going to ship any more arms to Iran at all?”
sh Accord in Effect
“We have absolutely no plans to do any such thing,” he replied.
Presidential spokesman Larry Speakes, meanwhile, said Reagan had told him there would be no further arms shipments but that a Jan. 17 document authorizing the weapons and spare parts sales, is technically “still in effect” because it carried no time limit and has not been rescinded.
Speakes also said the Iranians paid cash for the military supplies they received under Reagan’s order, although neither the amount nor the precise weaponry supplied has been disclosed.
Under questioning today Speakes told reporters, “I’m saying the President says no further arms shipments; I’m saying the secretary of state says no further arms shipments; I’m saying I said it on Election Day.”
The spokesman’s previous statement, however, was made at a time when the Administration had not yet acknowledged making any shipments to Iran and seemed to discount published reports that the United States had sent weapons to the embattled Persian Gulf nation in spite of a U.S. embargo imposed on Iran for its support of international terrorism.
“As long as Iran advocates the use of terrorism, the arms embargo will continue,” Speakes told reporters returning to Washington with Reagan aboard Air Force One on Nov. 4.
Speakes told reporters today that Reagan “is responsible for foreign policy,” and speaks for the Administration on the controversial issue of dealings with Iran.
Speakes noted that Secretary of State George P. Shultz “enunciated his point of view” in opposing the arms shipment to Iran.
“The President makes the decisions,” Speakes said. “The President is responsible for foreign policy.”
Shultz, a critic of any arms deal to win release of the hostages in Lebanon, called Reagan’s decision to send arms to Iran “debatable” in an appearance Sunday on CBS’s “Face The Nation.”
Shultz also said that, as far as he is concerned, the official U.S. arms embargo against Iran remains in effect and no more U.S. weaponry will be sent--but he said he was not in a position to speak for the Administration. (Story, Page 7.)
Asked today whether Shultz will be ousted because of his position in the matter, Reagan said, “I’m not firing anyone.”