The wife of an American hostage expressed support yesterday for the Iranian government's ouster of American correspondents, saying it may speed release of the hostages.
"It's better that the media is out," said Barbara Rosen, whose husband, Barry, is the U.S. press attache in Tehran. At a New York City news conference, Barbara Rosen said the departure of the journalists would foster direct communication between diplomats, rather than through the media.
[The Daily Oklahoman reported that President Carter surprised a group of visiting Oklahomans in the White House by insisting Iranian expulsion of U.S. journalists could help negotiations for release of the hostages. Carter broke his silence on the action in a meeting Thursday with 150 Oklahoma residents invited to a day-long briefing, the newspaper said.]
The Iranian government accused American correspondents of biased reporting and ordered them to leave by midnight yesterday.
Meanwhile, letters continued to pour into the United States from many of the hostages, including three read yesterday by Mrs. Rosen.
In another development, the State Department disclosed that "at least two" letters were received recently from hostages not seen by the three American clergymen who held Christmas services for the captives in Tehran.
The clergymen said they saw only 43 of the 50 hostages that the State Department believes are now being held. The Wahsington Post has reported that the remaining seven, who previously had not been accounted for, include three men accused by Iranian militants of being CIA agents.
There were indications yesterday that other letters -- in addition to the two cited by the State Department -- may have been received from the seven hostages not seen by the clergymen. It could not be established, however, whether any were from the alleged agents.
There has been no clear explanation, however, of the militants' decision to allow the letters to be mailed.
A new batch of 151 letters and cards began arriving in the United States yesterday. They were brought from Iran by American Indian activist John Thomas, who visited the U.S. Embassy in Tehran last Sunday. The latest letters provide a more complete glimpse of the situation at the embassy than those received earlier.
In a Jan. 11 letter, Rosen, the 36-Year-old U.S. press attache, wrote to his wife:
"I'm all right, but having problems sleeping now. A doctor has been seeing us regularly and he is trying to help me -- he says it is nervousnenss, a natural phenomena, given the circumstances.
"Today, we took our biweekly showers and exercised outside. I ran for about 20 minutes nonstop just to work off the body. I am now in a room for four and our diet is still simple, except for lunch, which is still done by the ambassador's cook."
Barbara Rosen said she was cheered by the tone of the letter. In a Dec. 16 letter, Rosen had spoken of having his hands bound, occasionally being blindfolded and being permitted only infrequent showers during his initial month of captivity.
A Dallas Marine sergeant provided a bleaker picture of the hostages's conditions in a Dec. 24 letter. "I don't know how much longer we can hold out. We all came down sick. I have seen better conditions in a dog pound than we have here," John McKeel wrote.