Gunmen in cars fired a hail of bullets at a motorcade carrying Iranian Foreign Minister Sadegh Ghotbzadeh today, but he escaped injury. Iran blamed Iraq for the attack.
Ghotbzadeh, who arrived yesterday, was being driven to a meeting with Kuwait's leader, Sheik Jaber Ahmad, when the attack occurred. He is visiting several Middle East countries in an attempt to improve Iran's relations with Arab governments. He came here from Lebanon after visiting Syria and is scheduled to go on to Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates. Iran is a Moslem nation, but not Arab.
The Kuwait Interior Ministry said that while one car, not Ghotbzadeh's was hit no one was injured. It said police tracked down two cars used in the attack and described them as loaded with weapons and explosives. There was no mention of arrests.
The Iranian official Pars news agency said one of the cars was found outside the Iraqi Embassy here and "the passengers of the car left the vehicle and entered the Iraqi Embassy there." Kuwaiti authorities did not confirm the report. An Iraqi Embassy spokesman denied it.
Pars said police had picked up two suspects and Kuwait had closed its airporst and borders.
At a news conference tonight, Ghotbzdeh said the attack had been aimed at stopping Iran's "brotherly policy of fraternization" with the Persian Gulf states, the Kuwait News Agency reported.
Iraq earlier blamed Iran for two recent assassination attempts against Iraqi government officials in Baghdad.
In a Damascus news conference Sunday, Ghotbzadeh relayed, with apparent pleasure, a Pars report that a successful coup had killed Iraqi President Saddem Hussein. When told the report needed checking -- Baghdad denied it emphatically -- a shaken Ghotbzadeh said, "Saddam Hussein and his regime can go to hell."
Ghotbzadeh, 43, spent many years in exile during the shah's rule, including several years studying at Georgetown University in Washington. He returned to Tehran with Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini after the shah's ouster in 1979. He was first appointed head of the country's radio and television networks and later named foreign minister.
A woman tried unsuccessfully to kill Ghotbzadeh soon after he was named to head the television center. She was overpowered and arrested.
A few years ago, the Iraqis were accused of an assassination attempt in which Syrian foreign minister Abdel Halim Khaddam was shot and wounded while on official visit to the United Arab Emirates.
Ghotbzadeh's current mission, aside from the visit with ally Syria, is designed to mend fences. In Lebanon he tried to patch up the serious quarrel between the Palestinians and the Shiite Moslem community there.
The visit to Kuwait and Bahrain were designed to reassure those oil-producing states' ruling Sunni Moslem leaders that revolutionary, Shiite Iran was not trying to subvert them.