Reprinted from yesterday's late editions
Her Imperial Majesty Farah Pahlavi, shahbanou of Iran, speaking at a black-tie dinner at the New York Hilton in her honor Thursday night, was angrily shouted down throughout her speech by a half-dozen members of the audience who loudly attacked the political regime of her country.
The first interruption, which came moments into the shahbonou's talk, came from an elegantly gowned woman who screamed, "Twenty-six people were killed in Iran last year. The shah is a murderer, down with the shah."
The woman was grabbed by a half-dozen security guards and, as the shahbanou briefly interrupted her speech and looked on, was dragged from the room.
Five minutes later another member of the audience, tentatively identified as a member of Concerned Clergy and Laity, also was roughly taken from the room after he lept to his feet and started yelling, "The shah is a murderer. I was just in Iran. I saw a woman with cigarette burns from being tortured." Four other interruptions followed.
The shahbonou was speaking at the 21st anniversary of the Asia Society, a cultural and public-service organization founded by John D. Rockefeller.
She was joined at the dinner by some of the most powerful members of this country's economic community, including C. C. Garvin of the Exxon Corporation, Dr. Armand Hammer of Occidental Petroleum Corp., John D. Rockefeller III and Gabriel Hauge of Manufacturers Hanover.
Henry Kissinger, Lady Bird Johnson, Nelson Rockefeller and Richard Helms also were there.
If not for the half-dozen interruptions, the security at the party might have been considered splendid. The demonstrations, by both pro- and anti-Iranian factions outside the hotel, were peaceful; there was no need for police to use the tear gas they brought along.
Within the hotel there were easily 200 police officers, and at 6 p.m. one of the Arson and Explosives Squad's finest dogs was seen in the grand ballroom sniffing out any uninvited bombs. Security for the press also was rigorous; reporters were relegated to the balcony overlooking the ballroom during the party. The shahbanou and the guests appeared to take the demonstrators and interruptions in stride.
The dinner itself was a rather staid affair. The guests, after passing through rigorous security, had cocktails at 6:30, dinner at 7:30. The only music was the Iranian and American national anthems, and a bit of Mozart provided by four students from the Juilliard School of Music.
Following her lenghty speech - in which she spoke largely of Iran's rich cultural heritage - the shahbanou responded to written questions from the audience, one of which asked how she felt about demonstrations.
"They are not agreeable. I am not used to them, but we just have to accept that we cannot have everybody agreeing with us," said the shahbanou, who had remained calm throughout the interruptions. "I feel sorry for our young people who may be misinformed by others - who may be being used by others - but I would like to say that we have some Iranians sitting in the audience tonight who were demonstrating 10 years ago, and are now working hard for the development of the country."
On Nov. 15, the shah visited Washington, where demonstrations broke out between groups supporting the Iranian leader and those opposing him.
A number of guests, in attendance for business reasons Thursday night, privately admitted they had some qualms about coming to hear the shahbanou speak. Many guests were members of the Asia Society, for which the dinner was a fund-raiser.
But Helms, former director of the CIA and former ambassador to Iran, was one guest who did not have qualms. "Demonstrations? It's kind of a student lark. There are demonstrations like this all the time. Torture? I've never seen any evidence of that."