Former attorney general Ramsey Clark, a political and legal gadfly, is one of the few Americans who have meet with Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in recent months and he has been among the most sympathetic to Khomeini in his public statements.
Clark met with Khomeini in Paris last Jan. 22, shortly before the religious leader returned triumphantly to a revolutionary Iran from his exile in France. Clark told reporters after seeing Khomeini for about a half hour that he was "deeply impressed by the nature and depth of purpose of the movement in Iran that has established the opportunity for a new freedom." He added that "we have the highest hopes that it will achieve social justice."
Clark, was a family friend of President Johnson, who named him attorney general in 1967. The day he took office, his father, Supreme Court Justice Tom Clark, resigned from the bench to avoid any conflict of interest.
The younger Clark was controversial in high office, speaking out strongly against the death penalty and wiretapping, and defending the free speech rights of protesters.
After the leaving the Justice Department, Clark wrote a book, "Crime in America," taught at Howard University and joined a New York law firm which permitted him to defend native Alaskans, war protesters and others he saw as deprived of their rights. An outspoken crusader against high legal fees, he formed his own firm last year which handles many cases free and others at reduced rates.
Clark won the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate in New York in 1974, but lost the election to Republican incumbent Jacob Javits.
William G. Miller, an influential congressional staff aide, was a Farsi-speaking Foreign Service officer stationed in Iran early in his career. At that time he met Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and some of the other leading Islamic religious leaders, according to friends.
Miller was vice consul at the U.S. consulate in Isfahan, Iran, and political officer at the U.S. embassy in Tehran from 1961 to 1964. He has continued his interest in Iranian matters and kept in touch with Iranian personalities in the decade since leaving the Foreign Service for Capitol Hill in 1967.
Miller reportedly was among those considered several months ago for the post of U.S. ambassador to Iran. The position is still vacant.
Miller has a reputation for public discretion almost as strong as that of his mission partner, Ramsey Clark, for public controversy. Miller has been a key figure behind the scenes in senatorial action on several crucial foreign policy matters, ranging from the Vietnam war to the overhaul of U.S. intelligence agencies.
As foreign policy assistant to then-Sen. John Sherman Cooper (R-Ky.) in 1967-73, Miller participated in drafting the Cooper-Church amendment cutting off funds for the Vietnam war. Later he played a major staff role in drafting the War Powers Act limiting presidential use of military forces abroad.
Since 1975, Miller has been staff director of a senatorial committee to study and overhaul the operations of U.S. intelligence agencies.