Iran warned Western Europe and Japan yesterday that they will face retaliatory cuts in the supplies of Iranian oil if they join U.S. economic sanctions against the revolutionary Islamic government in Tehran.
Oil Minister Ali Akbar Moinfar told a news conference in Tehran that any country that joins U.S. punitive measures "will be deprived of oil," according to news agency reports.
But he singled out Western Europe and Japan, which buy about half Iran's production of 3.5 million barrels a day, saying "Iran is prepared to reduce production to 1.5 million barrels a day if it comes to the worst."
Moinfar's warning suggested that the issure of releasing 50 Americans held hostage at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran is as deadlocked as ever despite indications of Iranian flexibility reportedly communicated to U.N. Secretary General Kurt Waldheim last week.
A U.N. source said last night that Waldheim is engaged in intensive consultation with Iran, Mexico, the United States and several nonaligned countries in an effort to bring the question of U.N. sanctions against Iran before the Security Council again. The previous sanctions resolution was vetoed last week by the Soviet Union.
The source said that the new effort was designed to seek a compromise that would preclude another Soviet veto.
Iran's Foreign Minister Sadegh Ghotbzadeh said in an interview with Reuter news agency yesterday that he expected the next move to come from the United Nations. he said he had received two overnight phone calls from Panamnanian President Aristidies Royo, presumably in connection with Tehran's request for the arrest and extradition of the shah.
Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi has been in Panama since leaving the United States last month. Panama's government had indicated it was willing to consider Iran's request, but a senior Panamanian official said yesterday he would make "no declarations" concerning the shah or the U.S. hostages in Tehran.
Contacts concerning the extradition of deposed shah coincided with the first anniversay of his departure into exile. Western reporters in Tehran said that in contrast to the frenzied outburst of public exultation that accompanied his departure last year, the event passed with hardly any public recognition in Iran.
Only several hundred persons participated in the burning of shah effigies.s.
Meanwhile, a Kuwait newspaper reported yesterday that revolutionary guardsmen had foiled a plot by Iranian Army officers to over throw the regime of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. The conspirators were said to have been secretly executed. There was no confirmation of the report.
In another development, wire services quoted political sources in Tehran as saying that Iran's electoral commission was discussing the possible postponement of the country's first presidential election scheduled for Jan. 25.
Doubts over the election date arose after the nominee of Iran's clergy and the nation's largest political group dropped put of the presidential race, improving the prospect of the only candidate favoring a speedy end to the hostage crisis.
Jalaledin Farsi, 47, moslem radical, dropped out of the race after disclosures that his father was an Afghan national and that Farsi was the [TEXT OMITTED FROM SOURCE] qualidication required by Iran's Islamic consitutition.
The Tehran daily newspaper Kayhan quoted Interior Ministry officials as discounting the possibility of a postponement.