Iranian authorities today ordered the expulsions of two Time Magazine correspondents, accusing the publication of arousing U.S. "hatred" of Iran.
An Iranian government spokesman also charged that one of the correspondents formerly was a CIA agent. The spokesman said Time would not be allowed to send other correspondents here.
The expulsion orders came just two days after one of the correspondents, Bruce Van Voorst, had been granted a rare exclusive interview with Ayatollah Khomeini, who is rumored here to be a leading candidate for Times's Man of the Year for 1979.
The other Time correspondent affected by the order is Roland Flamini, a Maltese national from the magazine's Rome bureau. The explusion of the two brings to 23 the number of foreign correspondents kicked out of Iran since the February revolution.
In New York, a spokesman for Time said the magazine regrets the expulsion orders and remains proud of both correspondents' work. The spokesman confirmed that Van Voorst worked for the CIA 18 years ago, but said he severed his connection with the agency when he began his career in journalism in 1963. He said Time hired Van Voorst this year "because he is an experienced foreign correspondent and a good journalist."
Before joining Time, Van Voorst served as a legislative assistant for then senator Dick Clark (D-Iowa). Prior to that, he worked for Newsweek. t
While Iran has opened its doors to reporters since 50 Americans were taken hostage in the U.S. embassy 44 days ago, during the past weeks authorities here have been raising increasing complaints about the type of press coverage this country has received.
Last week Associated Press correspondent Alex Efty was expelled for writing stories about national minorities' demands for autonomy and mentioning that antigovernment protesters had chanted "Death to Khomeini."
Iranian authorities did not accuse either of the two Time correspondents here of using their press credentials to spy for the United States.
Abol Ghassem Sadegh, head of foreign press for the Ministry of National Guidance, said Iran knew in advance that Van Voorst had been a Cia agent in the past but decided to admit him anyway.
While highlighting the CIA connection, Sadegh denounced Time magazine coverage during the past six weeks, calling it "one-sided and biased."
"Since the hostages were taken," he said, "the magazine has done nothing but help arouse the hatred of the American people toward Iran.
"Time has done much damage to this country in the eyes of Americans that we really cannot afford," continued Sadegh, a former VISTA volunteer who worked on an Indian reservation in South Dakota and says he renounced his U.S. citizenship in 1975 in disgust over the way the Americans treat the Indians.
One Time cover, which he displayed for television cameras covering his press conference, showed a painting of a blindfolded hostage and had the headline, "Blackmailing the U.S." He said that cover is enough to "create the kind of misunderstanding reaction of the U.S. toward Iran."
Sadegh said he was especially angry about a short article in Time's Dec. 17 issue that questioned security procedures at the U.S. Embassy here. The article said that sensitive documents that named CIA agents and listed their cover should not have been allowed to fall into the hands of the militant students.
He shrugged off questions by other correspondents who pointed to Time stories that appeared more favorable to the Iranian revolution and criticized the deposed shah.
Sadegh also attacked other news organizations including the British Broadcasting Corp. and CBS News. The BBC was bitterly denounced by Iran's previous government under the shah and praised by the opposition now ruling the country.
CBS has been blackballed by students holding the embassy and prevented from covering some press conferences.
The strong opposition to the American network stems from a Washington report by Marvin Kalb, whom Sadegh quoted as saying that the Iranians who captured the U.S. Embassy here are not really students but belong to Marxist organizations and are affiliated with terrorist groups such as Italy's Red Brigades and West Germany's Baader-Meinhof gang. CBS correspondents here said the students holding the embassy were especially angered by a Kalb comment that the takeover was led by Palestines.
Sadegh said press coverage around the world "is moving in a fairer direction" as far as Iran is concerned because it is beginning to criticize the shah's rule and look more deeply into the Iranian revolutionary government.
But he said the coverage still angers many Iranians around the world and blamed it for attacks on Iranian nationals in the United States.
"Students in the United States see the whole world getting on Iran's back and they consider it the fault of the news media."
He said that correspondents here should look at the Iranian situation "from our point of view" not from their national, cultural biases.