One Iranian Army helicopter crewman was executed and nine others convicted for refusing to take part in military operations against Kurdish insurgents fighting for autonomy, it was confirmed today.
Spokesmen for the Iranian Army's elite helicopter intervention force at the central city of Isfahan, meanwhile, confirmed a newspaper report that five to 15 men would be tried before a special military court. No date was given for the trial.
Another Tehran newspaper reported that 38 Army personnel, including a major and two captains, had been arrested in Kurdistan for allegedly cooperating with Kurdish insurgents.
In making these rare public acknowledgements of indiscipline in the armed forces, the Iranian press reports said five other defendants in Isfahan were "pardoned and released."
Most of the defendants were accused of "instigating riots among personnel, preventing the execution of missions and weakening morale" and other similar charges.
Ever since the first Kurdistan offensive last summer, rumors have circulated about various units of the armed forces' refusing to fight or even go to Kurdistan.
Such reports have been reinforced by periodic official statements announcing purges in the armed forces after each new round of fighting.
The Isfahan trials came to light a day after Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini told the nation that the Kuridhs autonomists "must not be given another chance." He ordered President Abol Hassan Bani-Sadr, the armed forces commander-in-chief, to take effective measures to eliminate the guerrillas.
The current Kurdish campaign has created for the past four weeks on the provincial capital off Sanadaj, where Kurdish guerrillas held off an attack by Army and Revolutionary Guard units until three days ago.
In other developments in Iran:
The Moslem militants occupying the U.S. Embassy in Tehran said they had sent hostages to two more towns, Zanjan and Qazvin, as part of their plan to thwart any future U.S. hostage rescue attempt. According to the militans, the 50 Americans who had been in the embassy are now dispersed in 15 cities and towns besides the capital.
Ibrahim Yazdi, a member of Iran's new parliament and former foreign minister, predicted that the parliament would vote to put at least some of hostages on trial as spies. Not to try them, he said, would be "an act of major treachery in history."