Iran's first oil exports after nearly two months of strike and revolutionary aftermath will resume "within a few days," Assistant Prime Minister Ibrahim Yazdi said today.
Yazdi, one of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini's closest confidants, was speaking at the end of a two-day visit to this capital of Iran's oil province of Khuzestan. Revolutionary authorities here insist that resumption of normal production and exports await only government orders.
Informed that oil officials here are confident of producing at prestrike level of 6 million barrels a day, Yazdi told reporters "The government has not yet discussed this in detail."
Iran's new leadership is known to favor lowered production. But it may seek to maximize its export earnings in the immediate future to reestablish confidence at home and abroad in its economy, badly shaken by months of virtual shutdown.
Yazdi's remrks echoed earlier statements by Prime Minister Mehdi Bazargan who warned that unless oil exports resume promptly "we will have no money and the revolution will be wiped out on the spot."
Oil specialists said the last oil company remittances to Iran, for oil loaded before the Dec. 26 strike, were received this week, and that they amounted to well under $1 billion for February. In 1977, the last year of undisturbed production before intermittent strikes began in the fall of 1978, Iran's annual foreign exchange earnings amounted to between $20 and $22 billion.
Yazdi, in charge of the "revolutionary affairs," dismissed as "nonsense" suggestions that Marxists in the oil industry are strong enough to prevent exports once the government decides to move ahead.
Independent oil specialists, however, expressed doubt that Iran could produce more than 4.2 million barrels a day without foreign technicians who under threat of death have left en masse in recent months. For the past month, production has not even met full domestic needs, estimated at 700,000 barrels a day.
Yazdi, a former professor at Baylor Medical School, did not explain where Iran planned to sell its renewed exports. Analysts suggested that the first sales would be made by the National Iranian Oil Company rather than the American, British, Dutch, and French consortium that traditionally has marketed much Iranian oil.
The consortium failed to reach agreement on a new contract with the overthrown government of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.
The government oil company in normal times sold about 35 percent of Iran's oil exports to a number of countries. Customers included Israel and South Africa. But even before the shah left Iran in mid-January, then-Prime Minister Shahpour Bakhtiar said sales would be cut off to those two countries for political reasons.
Yazdi, who was accompanying Palestinian guerrilla leader Yasser Arafat on a provincial tour, also said extraordinary revolutionary courts will be set up in many provincial cities along with the one already operating in Tehran.
He conceded that in executing eight generals in the past week "we missed an opportunity" to stage exhaustive political trials such as those put on by the World War II allies in trying Nazi leaders for war crimes in Nuremberg.
He justified the summary proceedings -- carried out in secret by a prosecutor, an investigating committee, judges and jury, all of whom remain unidentified "for security reasons" -- "because part of the Army had not submitted fully to our authority."
Yazdi said that for the time being no other defendants have been condemned to death. But he added that it is "hard to predict" how many Iranians will be tried by the extraordinary court, because "in almost every major city the military governor, secret police chief, police or army garrison commander have been responsible for shooting the people."
Prime Minister Bazargan was quoted in a Tehran newspaper interview as saying that other defendants will not be executed.
Yazdi promised that former prime minister Amir Abbas Hoveyda will have a "full and open trial" before a revolutionary council.
In recent days, pleas to spare the life of the shah's long-time prime minister have come from U.N. Secretary General Kurt Waldheim, the Aga Khan, the International Commission of Jurists, Amnesty International, the International Organization of Catholic Jurists and other leading personalities and groups.
Yazdi confirmed the revolutionary government's diminishing patience with the Marxist left.
He said the left will not be invited to join the provisional government despite its insistence that it is entitled to a share of power because of its role in topping the shah.
"The revolution was an Islamic one and only Moslems were devoted to the cause of the revolution," he said. "But after free elections, if the left are elected, they can play a part."
Yazdi indicated that Iranians will be invited to elect a constituent assembly to approve a draft constitution that is being prepared. Reports said the new document calls for a unicameral legislature; a presidency limited to two terms of four or five years; a prime minister acting much like a vice president; and separation of the executive, judicial and legislative branches.
Government utterances continued to exude confidence about the situation in Kurdistan in western Iran. But reports reaching Tehran said unidentified forces had taken over a barracks in Mahabad. That town, near the Iraqi border, served as the capital of the ephemeral Soviet-sponsored autonomous Republic of Kurdistan right after World War II.
In Tehran, the government announced more ministerial appointments.
Adm. Ahmed Madani was named for national defense, Ali Shariatmadari for arts and science, Gholam Hossein Shokouhi for education, Nasser Minachi for information, propaganda and religious endowments, and Hassan Islami for post and heavy communications.