The 50 American hostages held in Tehran may be released after a show political trial of the United States and the former shah of Iran. Egyptian journalist Mohammed Heikal has reported after interviews this week with Ayatollah Khomeini, his aides and Iranian students holding the hostages.
In an exclusive copyrighted report in today's Sunday Times here, Heikal said he was told the hostages "would be summoned as representatives of the United States" at the trial before an international jury about six weeks to two months from now.
"The verdict will be political," according to Heikal, and "the shah will be found guilty in absentia. The United States will also be found guilty. It was impled to me that the hostages will then be released. Those Iranians implicated by the trial will be sentenced."
Heikal reported that Khomeini sounded as defiant as ever during both a lengthy interview in his home in the city of Qom and an hour spent standing on the roof of the house while Khomeini acknowledged the cheers of crowds who come to see him.
"All those are ready to die," Heikal reported Khomeini as saying while they surveyed the throng. "Nobody can fight a nation which is ready to die because death for them is only a door to paradise. America cannot invade against an army larger than any the shah possessed."