Iran's foreign minister predicted yesterday that the United States eventually would accept a U.N. investigation of the crisis with Washington even though Tehran refused prior release of American hostages.
Sadegh Ghotbzadeh said in an interview that the proposed procedure for the investigation "definitely" meant the hostages would remain in custody until some later, undefined, stage of the probe.
He said that the crisis would "not be resolved" before the Jan. 25 presidential elections here.
Speaking hours before the U.N. Security Council resumed its debate on ter said, "I think the situation looks hopeful. If it does not work out now, they (the Americans) will have to wait a month and come back to it . . . It's the only solution."
In a news conference this morning, Ghotbzadeh complained that while Iran has at least suggested a "procedure" for ending the crisis, the United States continues to press for economic sanctions as a way to force release of the hostages.
"The United States, unfortunately, is beating us around the bush," he asserted, "and not trying to go to the heart of the problem. The United States hasn't proposed any procedures. Instead of that, they try to put on the pressure."
Insisting that Iran is immune to economic sanctions, Ghotbzadeh said his government is willing to remain deadlocked "more or less forever. As long as the Americans are prepared to stay right there and put on the pressure, the situation remains the same."
"If the United States continues to play politics with the situation instead of trying to resolve the situation," he said, "then we are going to have the same problem a month later from now. If they started a month ago, the problem probably could be resolved today."
In his earlier interview with The Post, he reiterated the Iranian demand that any solution encompasses both the American hostages and the return of deposed Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi and his fortune. Ghotbzadeh spelled out his version of such a U.N. investigation.
"First the commission would come here to investigate violations of human rights and other illegal acts of the shah," he said, making it clear that the hostages would not be released at that stage.
"Then the commission would hear American grievances before reporting back to the Security Council," he said.
Ghotbzadeh did not mention his own difficulty in dealing with militants who hold the embassy. They marked the start of the 11th week that they have held the roughly 50 hostages by reiterating demands for the return of the shah and his fortune.
"It don't think the Americans want to understand," the minister said in brushing aside American demands that the hostages be freed before the U.N. investigation could begin. "That's impossible," he said.
Later yesterday, the newspaper Bamdad released the text of a letter sent to Waldheim Saturday in which Ghotbzadeh did not mention the hostages and cryptically recalled "the only solution is the one we talked about," apparently during the secretary general's visit here 10 days ago.
"I therefore declare once again if the Security Council decisions are not based on accepting and carrying out our rights, they will be regarded as void from our viewpoint."
Meanwhile, an American Indian was allowed to meet a hostage held at the embassy yesterday, and the governor of East Azerbaijan banned the foreign press from the troubled northwestern city of Tabriz where government and local forces have fought each other intermittently for more than a month.
Indian activist John Thomas, a member of the Shawnee and Delaware tribes, was the first American to visit the hostages since a Christmas visit by three clergymen.
Although Thomas would not identify the hostage he saw, in the past he has sought the release of Frederick Lee Kupke, who is said to be part Kiowa Indian.
Thomas emerged from the embassy compound with 151 cards, letters and messages from the hostages to relatives, friends and news organizations. He promised to deliver them personally.
"It was friendly but we were cautious [about] what we said to each other," said Thomas.
In Tabriz, Governor Nurredin Gharavi announced yesterday that all foreign correspondents arriving by air would be sent back to Tehran by the same plane. He said their biased and "shameless" reporting "increased [President] Carter's hopes by 5 percent," apparently an allusion to the recent decrease in popular backing for the president's handling of the hostage crisis.
The Tehran newspaper Kayhan, meanwhile, released a long message from Afghan President Babrak Karmal to Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini asking for a meeting "as soon as possible," and seeking to justify the Soviet invasion of his country.
It said Afghanistan "will never help anyone turn our country into a base against the Iranian Islamic revolution and against the interests of its brother people of Iran."
But he added, "We expect . . . our Iranian friends to adopt the same policy," a veiled warning to Iran not to aid fellow Moslems fighting the Soviet presence.