Iran's religious leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini said today that former prime minister Shahpour Bakhtiar has fled the country and the new government will seek his extradition.
Bakhtiar, 62, who was appointed by Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi in early January, has been missing since his government was deposed by Khomeini's Islamic revolution two weeks ago.
"We request our friends abroad to inform us wherever they may find him so that we can ask the government concerned for his return," Khomeini was quoted as saying in a broadcast here.
Khomeini also was quoted as telling a group of Lebanese and Kuwaiti emissaries that Bakhtiar had "committed crimes and massacres and issued the order for massacre."
After Bakhtiar resigned Feb. 11, the revolutionary forces announced that he had been arrested. Within a few days, hoewever, there were reports that he was in the protective custody of his successor as prime minister Mehdi Bazargan, an old political ally Finally Khomeini aides said he had disappeared.
Officials at Khomeini headquarters announced that the religious leader met today with Soviet Ambassador Vladimir Vinogradov. It was Khomeini's first audience with an envoy of a major power since his movement took power.
Khomeini told the ambassador Iran will seek good relations with all countries, but will "fight with all our strength" against interference in Iran's internal affairs, a Khomeini aide said.
The religious leader also was quoted as telling Vinogradov that Iran's foreign trade will be conducted "only with the interests of Iran in mind."
A U.S. Embassy spokesman said he knew of no plans for a meeting between Khomeini and U.S. Ambassador William Sullivan.
Khomeini aides also said the ayatollah will move this week to the holy city of Qom, 100 miles to the south. An aide said Khomeini "will be as active as he was in Tehran."
Iranian newspapers, quoting Foreign Ministry officials, said Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi was expected to visit Iran soon. Libya and South Yemen were the only two Arab countries that had no diplomatic links with the shah's government.