The Iranian leadership today called on the public to stage a massive demonstration in front of the occupied U.S. Embassy Tuesday to show displeasure over the deposed shah's flight from Panama to Egypt.
Public reaction to the flight was muted today as Iranians generally devoted their attention to a week-long Persian new year holiday.
Tehran Radio tonight underlined the regime's anger by calling on "the good Moslem people of Egypt to demonstrate at the Friday prayers as the first step toward a revolution" there.
Informed sources said that Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini had given his personal blessings to the demonstrations here, which were scheduled to converge on the embassy from 10 points in the capital.
In Rome, Iranian revolutionary Judge Ayatollah Sadegh Khalkhali said today that those U.S. hostages accusing of spying would be tried and jailed when the new parliament convenes and the rest would be freed.
Khalkhali, en route to Libya for an official visit, also told reporters that Egypt would "pay" for granting the deposed shah asylum. He called for demonstrations there against the ex-ruler and President Anwar Sadat.
[Those who are innocent will be pardoned by the imam and freed," Khalkhali said of the hostages. "Those who spied or conspired and did other serious things will be tried and sent to jail." He said he hoped the others could go home, adding, "We are tired of acting as their hotel keepers."]
Formally backed by the Revolutionary Guards, oil workers and various religious groups including the influential theological society in the holy city of Qom, the appeal for demonstrations appeared to lend official support to the militant Islamic students who have held an estimated 50 Americans hostage at the embassy since Nov. 4.
That kind of backing did little to encourage the slim remaining hopes of solving the hostage problem soon. More than ever it seems doomed to await the outcome of the drawn-out legislative elections in keeping with Khomeini's orders that the new parliament decide the hostages' fate.
In the day's only substantive comment, the state-run radio developed the familiar theme that Egypt was yet another American protege and that Iran will never abandon the quest to bring deposed shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi home to stand trial.
"Let them take the shah anywhere they like for operations," the radio said in noting Pahlavi's need for a spleenectomy and reiterating Iranian claims that he was not ill at all. "The shah can lose as many parts of his body as he likes, but we will finally get him," the radio said.
The militant captors, however, are reported still unable to reach a unanimous decision about Pahlavi's departure from Panama despite a day-long debate inside the embassy.
Foreign Minister Sadegh Ghotbzadeh scheduled a news conference for Tuesday afternoon to review Iran's position now that Pahlavi's latest move has frustrated plans for extradition proceedings in Panama.
Informed sources said they expected the revolutionary authorities to portray his departure from Panama as proof of the solidity of their extradition brief and thus of the deposed monarch's guilt.
Despite the mass outpouring of anti-shah feeling that the demonstrations may provoke, observers here were struck by the apparent deadlock Pahlavi's departure from Panama represented.
If he had stayed in Panama and the authorities there had agreed to arrest him while they examined the Iranian extradition request, the position of officials here favorable to the negotiated settlement of the crisis to the United States could have been strengthened.
At the very least the two-month period thought likely for the Panamanian authorities to make a decision in the case would have satisfied Iranian demands that extradition was possible, even if few people here felt the deposed shah would actually be returned to stand trial for his alleged crimes.
Despite this second setback for Ghotbzadeh and President Abol Hassan Bank-Sadr -- on the heels of the failure of a U.N. commission to get permission to visit the hostages two weeks ago -- informed sources said they still hoped to arrange the transfer of the hostages to government control before the new parliament was scheduled to meet sometime next month.