The government of Iran has terminated the training in this country of 800 navy officers and enlisted men and ordered them to return home next month-an order some may be reluctant to obey.
"Some of the men are not happy some of them want to stay; it is all very uncertain," said an enlisted trainee reached by telephone yesterday at the U.S. Training Command in Great Lakes, Ill.
The trainee, who hung up when asked his name said that more than 125 Iranians have been receiving instructions at Great Lakes for periods of from six months to two years. Some enlisted men have married American women, he said.
U.S. officals said yesterday that some Iranians have applied to the Immigration and Naturalization Service for residence here. They added that the Iranians' status is under study, and no decision has been made.
The officials acknowledged that the matter is highly sensitive because of the Carter administration's delicate efforts to maintain open relations with the Iranian regime.
"On the one hand, there are humanitarian considerations. On the other is the fact that we have to think of the safety of Americans in Iran," one official said.
There are approximately 1,900 Iranian military personnel in the United States, most of them in Navy or Air Force training programs. All arrived here before the revolution that toppled the shah and initiated harsh purges and executions of senior military officials associated with him.
Another Iranian enlisted man reached yesterday said he has asked his commanding officer to determine whether it is safe to return to Iran and is delaying his decision until he gets an answer.
Most of the training programs involving Iranians were in conjunction with Iran's purchase of advanced U.S. equipment and weapons, orders that now have been canceled.
The cancellations include 160 F16 fighter bombers; two Spruance-class destroyers; two Tang-class diesel electric submarines of old vintage, and various missiles.
The Defense Department was at work yesterday on an accounting of the status of the trainees. Officials said some training programs - including instruction for some pilots, and technical and logistical personnel-were continuing.
The trainees have been receiving pay from an Iranian fund under the control of the Defense Department but now that is running low. It is reported to be slightly more than $100 million.
The Iranian naval personnel affected by the order to return to Iran are scattered around the United States. In addition to those at Great Lakes, Ill., Iranians have been receivingg instruction at the Navy's submarine school in New London, Conn., at the training command at San Diego, Calif., at the Defense Language Institute at San Antonio, Tex., and at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md.
They have been given leave pending their departure.
According to the Iranians reached yesterday, some of those ordered home have not completed their training and probably will never use the sophisticated equipment with which Shan Mohannad Reze Pahlavi was outfitting his forces when overthrown.
Iranians reached elsewhere around the country expressed confusion as to whether to return home. One difficulty is that if the choose not to they could be considered deserters. U.S. officials said it was possible some could qualify for various types of visas.
"There's an old proverb - there's no place like home," said one Iranian officer.However, he said he had not decided whether to seek permission to stay in the United States longer.