Paris Seizes Khomeini Foes; Hostage Deal Seen
Police rounded up dozens of anti-Khomeini Iranians on Monday for possible expulsion. Faction leaders claimed that the sweep was part of a deal with Tehran to free French hostages in Lebanon.
The crackdown came 11 days after pro-Iranian kidnapers in Lebanon released two French hostages. At least four other Frenchmen still are held there.
Massoud Rajavi, leader of the Moujahedeen of Iran, said in message to President Francois Mitterrand from his exile in Baghdad, that arrests of his followers here “demonstrate the ugly deal” between Iran and France.
Premier Jacques Chirac’s government denies any deal. “There is no bargaining at all,” Security Minister Robert Pandraud said.
An Interior Ministry statement said that several dozen Moujahedeen were detained during identity checks at the group’s French headquarters north of Paris and at homes of members in the area.
It said the detainees might be expelled for “taking part through this organization in militant actions which seriously disrupt public order.”
Moujahedeen spokesman Behzad Naziri said those rounded up were political refugees whose papers were in order.
A statement from the group asserted that police beat and insulted people during the arrests. At least one of those detained is known to have a heart condition, it said.
France is home to many Iranian exiles, but it expelled Rajavi in June, 1986, to fulfill one of three conditions set by Iran for normalizing relations with the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s fundamentalist Shia Muslim regime. Two French hostages were freed two weeks later.
Rajavi has headquarters in the capital of Iraq, with which Iran has been at war since September, 1980, and his organization maintains a presence in France, other European cities and the United States.
“It is universally acknowledged that such acts against the supporters of the Iranian resistance . . . demonstrate an ugly deal struck with the most terrorist, despised tyranny in the world today, namely the Khomeini regime,” Rajavi’s message to Mitterrand said.
Officials deny allegations that France bargained for the releases Nov. 27 of journalists Jean-Louis Normandin and Roger Auque or has made a deal to free its other captured citizens.
Iran admits to influence over the Shia groups holding hostages in Lebanon but denied a role in the releases of the Frenchmen by the group calling itself the Revolutionary Justice Organization.
Extremist groups in Lebanon hold eight Americans and at least 12 other foreigners, including the French hostages.