Iran acknowledged for the first time today that it is losing ground in the battle for its vital cities on the disputed Shatt-al-Arab waterway, the port of Khorramshahr and the oil refinery of Abadan.
It said that it had launched an air attack on Iraqi tanks and artillery 20 miles north of Abadan, the first time Iran admitted that Iraq had advanced that far.
Tehran also reported that it lost radio contact with Khorramshahr because of heavy fighting on the road between the port city and Abadan, about 10 miles south toward the Persian Gulf. Iraq claimed Friday to have taken Khorramshahr after a month-long siege and Abadan is the next objective of Baghdad's forces.
Tehran radio also said that Iraqis had entrenched themselves in new positions in Khorramshahr.
Tehran accused Iraq of bombing residential areas of Abadan and asked international agencies to condemn Iraq's missile attack yesterday on the oil pipeline junction city of Dezful. Iran said five rockets smashed into the town, killing at least 100 persons.
The Iranian Foreign Ministry suggested to would-be mediators such as the Islamic Conference, the nonaligned group and the United Nations that they would do better to pay attention to such Iraqi attacks.
[Cuban Foreign Minister Isidoro Malmierca announced at the United Nations that the 94-nation nonaligned group has formed a seven-member "goodwill committee to build a bridge of good faith" between Iran and Iraq.]
In what seemed to be a direct rejection of efforts to get a cease-fire resolution in the U.N. Security Council, Prime Minister Mohammed Ali Rajai told the Iranian newspaper Etelaat:
"We do not accept the resolution of the U.N. Security Council, and our resolution will be signed and announced in Khuninshahr."
Khuninshahr, which in Persian means "city of blood," is the name given Khorramshahr by Iranians last week to honor the city's die-hard defenders.
Iraq and Iran also reported air battles today. Iranian radio said Iran shot down a Soviet-made Iraqi Mig trying to attack the oil termial at Kharg Island in the Persian Gulf. Iraq said it shot down an Iranian plane and a helicopter, killing 21 soldiers.
Iraq, meanwhile, expanded its campaign against reported U.S. plans to renew military supplies to Iran if the U.S. hostages in Tehan are released. rThe official organ of the ruling Baath Party, Al Thawra, described a "Washington-Tel Aviv-Tehran axis" that it charged is aiding Iran and warned that it would deal harshly with any nation that interferes in the 36-day-old war.
Today's editorial echoed previous warnings made over the past five days by high Iraqi officials, including Foreign Minister Saadoun Hammadi, who accused the Carter administration of tilting toward Iran to win freedom for the American hostages before election day.
The newspaper cited as further evidence of this tilt press reports in the United States that said Washington had agreed to allow Israel to send arms to Iran via the Netherlands.
None of the government-controlled newspapers carried the State Department's strong denial of such a deal.
Al Thawra, signaling the official government view, said the "disclosure" in the American press makes "the Washington-Tel Aviv-Tehran axis very clear for everyone."
According to diplomatic sources here, this view is widely held at the highest levels of the government of President Saddam Hussein.