Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini summoned the entire Iranian parliament to his north Tehran home yesterday in an attempt to settle persistent feuding between rival factions of the Iranian leadership, Tehran radio reported.
The meeting came only days after Khomeini banned political speeches to halt the Iranian power struggle, matching President Abol Hassan Bani-Sadr against the fundamentalist Islamic Republican Party and Prime Minister Mohammed Ali Rajai.
The meeting was the first such gathering since members of the 270-seat parliament, or Majlis, met with Khomeini after being elected last year. The official radio suggested that the Iranian patriarch told them to give Bani-Sadr more cooperation, saying he told them to avoid seeking a monopoly on power in Iran's revolutionary government.
The Majlis is dominated by the Islamic Republican Party's hard-line fundamentalists, with only about a dozen sympathizers of Bani-Sadr. Although the fundamentalists from a core of Khomeini's support, he has so far refused to take sides publicly in the dispute, urging instead that the infighting be stopped.
An Iranian Embassy official in Ankara said, meanwhile, that Tehran has asked Turkey to return an Iranian Air Force defector under a 1937 extradition treaty between the two countries.
An Iranian note handed to the Turkish Embassy in Tehran on Wednesday urged the return of Col. Javad Hosseini, who hijacked an Iranian C130 to eastern Turkey on Monday along with his wife.
In Tehran, Swiss Ambassador Erik Lang said a fire at the former U.S. Embassy that destroyed a food store Wednesday was caused by an electrical failure. Lang, in charge of U.S. interests here since diplomatic links were cut between Iran and Washington, said no damage was caused to the main building in the embassy compound.
In war with Iraq, Reuter correspondent Bernd Debusmann reported from Susangerd on the battle from that Iranian Revolutionary Guards claimed to have knocked out 30 tanks and killed 100 Iraqis in a major raid on Iraqi lines.
The Guards, their explanations punctuated by the thud of artillery shells, a 100-strong force attacked Iraqi lines Tuesday night. They said the most advanced Iraqi positions lie about a mile from the center of Susangerd.
The Revolutionary Guards said they lost 13 men in the operation, which was supported by artillery from regular Army units outside Susangerd. They put Iraqi casualties at more than 100 killed and 30 tanks destroyed in an action that lasted for 48 hours.