White House and State Department officials yesterday denied a British press report that a secret agreement between Tehran and Washington for the release of the U.S. hostages had been nearly complete when it was scuttled by opposition from White House aide Hamilton Jordan and Iranian Foreign Minister Sadegh Ghotbzadeh.
The report in the London Sunday Times newspaper quoted former Irish Foreign Minister Sean MacBride as saying that the draft agreement, which he and New York attorney Leonard Boudin had worked out in late March with Iranian President Abol Hassan Bani-sadr, had received the blessing of top authorities in Tehran and Washington.
MacBride told the paper that his secret negotiations had been approved by then Secretary of State Cyrus Vance, national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski, Iranian leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and the country's ruling Revolutionary Council.
"That pair of playboys, Jordan and Ghotbzadeh, messed it up," MacBride was quoted as saying.
Asked to comment on the statements, white House spokesman Jody Powell said, "MacBride was never authorized to speak for or negotiate on behalf of the U.S. government."
A State Department official said that MacBride, a winner of both the Nobel and Lenin peace prizes, had met with Vance earlier this year at MacBride's request, but had been told that the main elements of his plan were unacceptable.
U.S. officials said the objectionable elements were on American statement of culpability in supporting shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi and a Nuremberg-style trial of the shah in absentia and of past U.S. policy toward Iran.