In an unusual move. Iran distributed a news report yesterday alleging that President Kennedy once used $35 million in U.S. aid to pressure Iran to appoint a prime minister he liked personally.
A former American ambassador to Iran, Armin Meyer, who was quoted by the report as having disclosed the U.S. action, said in an interview here that "there was a linkage between our extension of assistance and what we hoped to see done in Iran and it did not necessarily involve the naming of the prime minister."
Meyer, who was deputy assistant secretary of state for the Near East in 1961, when the allegd incident occurred, said he was not directly involved.He was ambassador to Iran from 1965 to 1969 and during his tenure in Tehran, he said, he "did hear from the Iranians that there was some unhappiness about the linkage in the early years."
The Iranian report by the government controlled Pars agency comes a month before the scheduled visit to Washington of the shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Pahlevi.
Analysis here suggested that Iran, stung by President Carter's human right's campaign, released the report as a way of reminding Washington of its past actions toward Iran and to indicated the hope that human rights issues in Iran would not be raised during the shah's visit.
The man the Iranian agency identified as Kennedy's favorite was Ali Amin, who was appointed prime minister in 1961 but who resigned after a year in office. He was known as an able administrator.
Meyer, who has retired from the Foreign Service, said yesterday that he had discussed the 1961 incident taxes in Iran during the Kennedy admininstration and that "there was the change between what we considered should be done there and U.S. a d. We wanted to see progress in that country."
He said he had raised the issue to illustrate the inadequacy of such approaches, which were "not well received in Iran." And he said that the United States should treat Iran as an during a symposium on Iran held here last month.
He said there was considerable inequal partner and not a junior partner as was the case in the 1950s and 1960s.
During the symposium, he said, "I never said andything about the imposing a prime minister."
The question of human rights has complicated other wise close U.S. Iranian relations after a State Department report to Congress citing Iran among the viclating human rights.
The report said there were 2,800 to 3,500 "political prisoners" in Iranian jails and that 100 to 150 of them neither advocated nor practiced violence. It also cited reports of torture of prisoners, despite the shah's assertion that torture is no longer used.
There have also been reports in the U.S. press alleging that U.S. officials have been quietly helping the shah's secret police SAVAK crack down on Iranian dissidents and assisting Iranian agents who spied on Iranian students in the United States opposed to the shahs authoritarian rule.
U.S. involvement in Iranian affairs dates to the immediate post-World close even since the United States helped overthrow the Mossadegh regime in 1953 and restore the shah to his throne.