President Abol Hassan Bani-Sadr today appeared stymied in efforts to name a provisional government before a new parliament likely to be dominated by his clerical opponents opens next month.
Leading clerical members of the divided Revolutionary Council publicly denounced the president's plan, which significantly was published only in his own newspaper, Islamic Revolution.
As on all matters since the revolution, the silence from Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini was generally taken as a lack of support for the new initiative that originally won short-lived endorsement from the revolutionary leader's entourage yesterday.
The fight over Bani-Sadr's plan largely overshadowed interest in tomorrow's long delayed runoff in the parliamentary elections. The voting is to decide 189 seats not settled in the March 15 first round, marred by widespread charges of fraud.
About one-third of the seats in 270-member assembly won outright then were claimed by the right-wing clerical Islamic Republican Party opposed to Bani-Sadr.
With an official inquiry still investigating vote-rigging charges, the turnout is expected to continue the steadily downward trend of each of the five votes since the February 1979 revolution.
In the first round, some of the national minorities generally boycotted the vote and analysts doubted that many more than half of those eligible voted. t
Unless the president can win his present battle and restore his eroded authority, observers doubted that the United States and its allies would take seriously the gestures that sources close to Bani-Sadr insist he is willing to make to dufuse the crisis with Washington.
Indicative of Bani-Sadr's predicament were reliable reports that his intermediaries have contacted Adm. Ahmad Madani, a tough law and order advocate and middle-class favorite to be his prime minister.
Informed sources said the former Navy and defense minister had laid down stiff terms with Khomeini yesterday. Some analysts believe the admiral is proposing what is tantamount to a serious, anticlerical polarization and a major pause, if not a stop, in the revolutionary process.
Observers recall that during Madani's unsuccessful presidential campaign -- in which he won 15 percent of the vote to place second -- he had made little secret of his belief that the Moslem clerics were exercising too much power.
But the clerical party once again showed its influence today in ordering the execution by firing squad of the first woman politician to be convicted by the tribunals of revolutionary justice. She was former education minister Esfand Farrokhrou Parsa.
The 62-year-old former minister, who held her post from 1968 to 1974, was sentenced to death for "plunder of public property, corruption, spreading prostitution in the Education Ministry, collaboration with SAVAK [the shah's secret police], expelling militant educators and making education dependent on colonialist and imperialist cultures."
Informed sources said that charges she belonged to the Bahai sect, judged heritical by the radical Shiite Moslem clerics, also weighed against her in the current resurgence of trials and violence directed against Iranian religious minorities.
Even Bani-Sadr's chief press aide felt obliged to brush aside a plea for tolerance from the Archbishop of Canterbury following the assassination of the 24-year-old son of the Anglican bishop of Iran.
Bani-Sadr is plainly trying to impose a new government with Khomeini's blessing in the hopes the clerical parliamentary majority would not dare challenge the choice later. The Islamic Republican Party reacted sharply to the president's plan.
A leading party figure, Ayatollah Ali Akhbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, today met with Khomeini and Ayatollah Moussavi Ardebili, a Revolutionary Council member and prosecutor general, said of the plan, "I do not think anything interesting will come out of it because the working period of such a) government is very short." In accordance with Islamic Republican Party policy since Bani-Sadr won the presidential election Jan. 25, Ardebili suggested that no new government be formed until the parliament starts functioning.
That is not expected before mid-June, the earliest date that the parliament could take up the fate of the 53 U.S. hostaages in keeping with Khomeini's orders.
As one dejected businessman noted, "Nothing is getting better. Everyone is waiting for paarliament and then I don't know what they'll be waiting for. Ever since the revolution, people here have been waiting for something."
Meanwhile the newspaper Kayhan published reports that 30 Revolutionary Guards had discovered a "secret airport" in the desert about 100 miles southeast of Tehran.
"Signs and evidence show that a number of helicopters and planes had landed at this airport recently," the newspaper said: It did not actually suggest that the site may have been the still unidentified "Desert Two" staging area of the ill-fated U.S. rescue operation two weeks ago. But the location was on a straight line with "Desert One," the base where the operation was aborted.