Iran today ordered the Associated Press to close down its bureau here and remove its four American correspondents from the country.
The government said it was taking the action becuase of the news agency's "distorted" reporting on the Kurdish rebellion in Western Iran.
Reports from the scene of that fighting today said that Iranian troops and Revolutionary Guards had tightened their control over the Kurdish city of Mahabad.
The move against the AP brings to 14 the number of foreign journalists ordered out of Iran in the last two months amid amounting domestic opposition to the Moslem theocracy of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.
[In Washington, the State Department expressed concern about the freedom of the foreign press in Iran and said it was trying to get a full report on events involving the AP bureau.]
[In New York, the AP said it was "not aware of any, inaccuracies in our reports from Iran" and that it would try to send in new correspondents to reopen the bureau.]
Ordered to leave were, Philip Dorpoulos, AP's Athens bureau chief, Thomas Kent, the new head of the agency's Moscow bureau, and Nicolas Tatro and his wife, Earleen Tatro, who had recently arrived to take charge of the Tehran office.
The expulsion order was delivered by the director general of foreign press in the Ministry of National Guidance, Ali Behzadnia, who charged the agency with "biased and distorted reporting which provoked public opinion."
Dopoulos said Behzadnia complained of the general tone of AP's reporting and referred to its coverage of events in Kurdistan over the last two days.
One of the agency's Iranian staff, Ali Reza Jahanshahi, was in Mahabad to report the army's capture of the town.
Jahanshahi and another Iranian staffer, Fereshteh Emami, were ordered by Behzadnia to stop working for the agency.
The explusion orders came two days after a strong attack by government spokesman Sadegh Tabatabai on the major international news agencies for being "Zionist-led" and for false reporting.
In a further complaint against the foreign press yesterday, National Guidance Minister Nasser Minachi said that "false reports are published in big headlines and this had had a bad effect on readers in America and Europe concerning the Iranian revolution."
He was quoted as aruging that the foreign press reports showed Iran's regime as a dictatorship whereas the government was only implementing the press laws.
He added: "When someone is expelled, it does not mean the publication or news agency cannot send a replacement. Our protest is against the offender."
However, the New York Times, whose Tehran bureau was expelled more than a month ago, has been unable so far to get visas for other correspondents it wants to send to Iran.
In Iran's Kurdish region, meanwhile, government forces today clamped tight security on Mahabad, focal point of Kurdish resistance to the central government until its capture by the army yesterday. They prepared to pursue Kurdish guerrillas heading for mountain strongholds.
Kurdish sources in the town confirmed army reports that it was largely quiet, adding that some of the inhabitants who fled Mahabad as the army attack started had returned. But several thousand other Kurds are believed to have accompanied escaping Kurdish guerrillas into the hills.
The army was reported moving heavy artillery into positions on hills surrounding Hamabad while troops and Revolutionary Guards patrolled the streets of the town.
A spokesman at the general command headquarters in Tehran said that the armed forces would now concentrate on capturing the Kurdish town of Sardasht, located in mountainious country near the Iraqi border.
There were rumors that Kurdish leaders Adurahman Qassemlu, head of the Kurdistan Democratic Party, and Sheik Ezzedin Hosseini, the Kurds' religious leader, may have moved to Sardasht from Baneh, their last known refuge which also was taken by the army yesterday.
It was not clear, however, whether the Kurds would resist an army advance on Sardasht, where the difficult terrain would improve the odds for guerrilla units facing conventional forces.
As the army massed its forces for the attack on Mahabad earlier this week, guerrilla sources said they would give up the towns and take to mountain hideouts where they have been accumulating military and other stores in preparation for a guerrilla campaign.