Iran's official radio yesterday accused Iraq of waging war in an attempt to force Iran to free the 52 American hostages and said that as a result the Iranian parliament "decided to freeze the hostage issue."
Meanwhile, militant Moslem students holding 49 of the hostages announced that they have moved their captives to new, secret hideouts.
In Cairo, the shah of Iran's widow, the exiled empress Farah, issued an appeal to all Iranians to help repel the Iraqi invaders while striving to abolish the regime of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.
Speaking as "an Iranian and the mother of the crown prince and as acting regent," Farah said: "We ask that all our heroes, officers, NCO's and conscripts alike come to the aid of their fellow countrymen. Let us be strong enough to put aside our differences and labor together to try and save our country. And just as we seek to repel this unlawful advance of foreign forces, so at the same time do we seek to end the present regime in Iran, which also came without law and has continued to rule not by right but by violence."
The Iranian parliament's decision to suspend its consideration of the hostage issue followed an Iraqi radio broadcast claiming that Iran had released the hostages. This was quickly denied by Iran.
The militant captors said in their broadcast statement: "We declare that on order to foil any plot, we have transferred the spy hostages from Qom, Isfahan, Mashad, Tabriz, Kerman, Yazd and Jahrom to other sites."
The militants claimed to have dispersed the hostages from the occupied American Embassy in Tehran to more than a dozen cities and towns across Iran after an American rescue mission failed in April. Although some hostages were reliably reported to have been moved, the extent of the dispersal claimed by the militants was never independently confirmed.
There was no immediate word on what, if anything, has been done with the three American deplomats being held in Iran's Foreign Ministry.
With fighting raging between Iran and Iraq, the fate of all of the hostages appeared considerably more uncertain than only a week ago, when Iran seemed to be moving slowly toward resolving the issue. A major question now bearing on the captives fate is whether the Iranians seriously believe their own propaganda that the United States is behind the Iraqi attack in Iran.
In the latest accusation of U.S. involvement, parliament's Speaker, Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafanjani, was quoted as telling a Tehran news conference: "We consider the Iraqi attacks to be part of a large U.S. plot." He added, "These events will have their impact on the destiny of the hostages." There was no elaboration.
Even as the fighting was escalating yesterday, Iranian authorities tried to portray a semblance of normally in the capital.
Prime Minister Mohammed Ali Rajai announced the appointments of two new ministers for oil and planning. And the rival camps of secular officials under President Abol Hassan Bani-Sadr and the clerics of the Islamic Republican Party continued to squabble. Former foreign minister Ibrahim Yazdi, reproached in parliament for meeting U.S. national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski in Algiers last Nov. 1, retorted that Islamic Republican Party leader Ayatollah Mohammed Beheshti and other clergymen would have to answer for their own contacts with foreigners.
Nevertheless. Tehran Radio broadcast repeated appeals to Iranians not to hoard food cooking and heating oils and gasoline, indicating that the government fears public panic because of the fighting.
Broadcasts monitored in Beirut said lines were forming outside gasoline stations, but denied any shortages. They blamed the queues on false reports spread by rumormongers.
"There is no need to hoard food or gas for there is plenty in supply," the radio said repeatedly.
Hoarding has become a way of life in Iran since the revolution led by Khomeini. Many Iranian homes, rich and poor, have large stocks of food in case of an emergency.
In more affluent homes the freezers are full of meats and vegetables, and pantries are piled high with bags of saffron, but even poorer homes have stockpiles of rice and powdered milk for babies.
The radio's appeals for calm were interspersed with programs of Islamic revolutionary music.While Tehran radio has routinely played revolutionary songs in which male choruses sing the praises of Khomeini and Islam, the frequency of such music has increased since Monday when the long-simmering Iraqi-Iranian border dispute erupted in war.
The broadcasts called on all citizens, even those who oppose the Islamic revolution, to form a united front and avoid actions that could directly or indirectly aid the "atheist" regime of Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, a Sunni Moslem.
The radio quoted statements by the Ministry of Energy urging people to turn off lights and all unessential electrical appliances in the event of further attacks by Iraqi warplanes and threatening power cuts if electricity is not conserved.
The government also ordered people away from military bases to avoid injury in case of further Iraqi strikes.People were cautioned to beware of any "suspicious packets" that could contain bombs, but the radio gave no indication whether such devices had already been discovered.
A Tehran broadcaster read a statement by Khomeini praising citizens for their loyalty in defending their nation against "the godless Iraqi regime," a statement echoed by various military spokesmen.
The radio claimed Iran's armed forces have been swelled by volunteers from various parts of the country, including oil-rich Khuzestan Province along the Iraqi border. Less than a year ago Iranian troops battled autonomy-seeking Arabs in Khuzestan who reportedly were receiving aid from Iraq.
Iranian exile sources in Paris said that after a speech by Bani-Sadr yesterday, the national anthem from the shah's time was broadcast, probably for the first time since Khomeini came to power. The exiles concluded that Bani-Sadr is trying to encourage patriotism by airing the nationalistic song.
In any case, some exiles were urging Gen. Gholam Ali Oveissi, the leading anti-Khomeini military figure, to return to Iran now and lead an uprising. But other exile sources said that invaders would spell Oveissi's political death.