Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini accused the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency yesterday of hijacking an Iranian gunboat off the Spanish coast and Iran's armed forces chief of staff said it meant war with the United States.
Possibly being carried away by his own revolutionary rhetoric, Brig. Gen. Valiollah Falahi told Tehran radio, "We are not only at war with Iraq, we are at war with superpower America and its allies. The battlefield includes a major part of Europe, all of America and the waters of the Atlantic Ocean," he said.
In Iran, the official Pars News Agency reported 27 more executions of opponents to the government, raising the number of people executed since June 22 to at least 506. It said seven persons, including a cleric and several Revolutionary Guards and "government employes," were killed in a series of bombings and shootings around the country.
Tehran radio quoted Khomeini as saying the "hand of the CIA" was responsible for the piracy of the French-made missile boat, one of three that were being delivered to Iran. He said former secretary of state Cyrus Vance was also to blame because, according to Khomeini, he helped former admiral Kamal Habibollahi -- said to have led the capture of the boat off Spain -- to escape from Iran.
A spokesman for Habibollahi's Paris-based exile group, the Azadegan, said the boat is in "international waters" and is now "the seat of the free government of Iran in exile."