Panamanian president Aristides Royo contacted Iranian foreign minister Sadegh Ghotzbadeh last night to discuss an Iranian request for the extradition of the deposed shah, the Tehran Daily Bamdad said today.
The newspaper quoted Ghotbzadeh as saying he received two calls from Royo last night concerning a letter from the Iranian Foreign Ministry to the Panamanian authorities requesting the extradition of the shah.
It was not known whether Royo replied to the Iranian request in last night's telephone conversations. Foreign Ministry officials refused to comment further on the conversations, the newspaper said.
Shortly after the shah and his family moved from the United States to Panama last month, Iran issued a formal request for his extradition, quoting articles of Panama's penal code.
Ghotbzadeh said in an interview after he received his first call from Royo that the next move toward solving the Iran-U.S. crisis must come from U.N. Secretary General Kurt Waldheim.
He said he hoped the United Nations would go ahead with an Iranian proposal to set up a commission of inquiry to visit Iran and investigate its charges against the United States and the deposed shah.
According to his aides, Waldheim is in daily phone contact with the Iranian Foreign Ministry, but sees no value in pressing negotiations so long as no real center of authority exists in Iran.
In a related development, ABC News quoted unnamed informed sources at the U.N. as saying that Iranian leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini now considers Waldheim an acceptable intermediary in the hostages crisis. It did not explain what changed the mind of the ayatollah who refused to see Waldheim earlier this month.