State Department officials yesterday denied that the United States had anything to do with radio broadcasts into Iran attacking the government of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.
Officials acknowledged the existence of an anti-Khomeini broadcast called "The Free Voice of Iran," but rejected a published report yesterday that the programs were sponsored by the Central Intelligence Agency. They speculated that the broadcasts might have come from Iraq, Saudi Arabia or Egypt, under sponsorship from groups in those countries.
The report in the New York Times said the Radio programs were supportive of ousted Iranian Prime Minister Shahpour Bakhtiar, now living in exile in Paris, who is trying to organize opposition to Khomeini.
In a brief statement, the State Department said yesterday: "We have repeadtedly made our position clear on interference in internal affairs of Iran. We do not endorse or support the activities of any group of Iranians outside of Iran who may be advocating a change of government in Iran. Any allegations to the contrary are irresponsible and misleading, and may jeopardize the safety of the hostages in Iran."
The published story said the covert broadcasts to Iran emanated from two sites in Egypt, with the personal authorization of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat.
A number of government officials recently have expressed concern that the usual, publicly acknowledged American radio programming into the Persian Gulf is inadequate. The Voice of America is now beaming its news broadcasts into Afghanistan in a language that many Afghans have trouble understanding, and programming into Iran has a weak signal.