A former member of the Iranian parliament who was foreign minister when U.S. diplomats in Tehran were taken hostage is visiting the United States, and one Iranian exile group says his itinerary includes talks with U.S. officials.
According to a State Department spokesman, Ibrahim Yazdi was granted a visa on a "humanitarian basis" and will not meet with U.S. officials. Yazdi, a businessman, is a member of the Iran Freedom Movement, an opposition party that is allowed to function inside Iran under the authoritarian government of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.
"He is here to visit relatives. He is not holding any talks with any U.S. officials," State Department spokesman Michael Austrian said. "He is not to visit Washington either."
Austrian would not say where Yazdi will be staying while he is in the United States, or which of his relatives he is visiting.
An Iranian daily newspaper reported on April 14 that Yazdi would head a delegation to attend a medical seminar in the United States. The brief report did not say when or where the seminar was being held, nor give the names of other delegates. Austrian said the report is "untrue" and that he knows of no Iranian delegation attending a medical seminar in this country.
A member of the Iranian delegation to the United Nations said Yazdi is here on a 40-day visa, but not in an official capacity.
The statement that Yazdi is traveling alone and is not on an official mission has been contested by the Young Constitutional Monarchists of Iran, an opposition group that supports the son of Iran's late shah as his father's successor.
"According to our information, which was given to us from our sources inside Iran, Yazdi is heading a five-man delegation to hold talks with U.S. officials. He took an Eastern Airlines shuttle flight to Washington's National Airport last Wednesday afternoon from New York," a member of the group in Washington said.
The opposition group's spokeswoman said Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, speaker of parliament and a longtime adviser of Khomeini, approved the trip before Yazdi was granted an Iranian exit visa.
The opposition spokeswoman said Yazdi would ask the Reagan administration not to block the flow of arms sold by private European and American dealers to Iran, saying purchase of these arms would prevent Tehran from relying on Soviet weapons. Yazdi also was expected to seek support for a relatively moderate faction inside Iran led by former prime minister Mehdi Bazargan, she said.