INTRODUCTION: Iran and the United States appeared to move a little closer to reaching agreement on the hostage issue on Thursday (8 January) following reports that the Iranians want to speed up negotiations.
GV & SCU John Trattner, U.S. State Department spokesman, speaking in Washington (2 shots)
GV Plane taxiing at Algiers airport (MUTE)
SV Algerian officials walk to plane (MUTE)
SV U.S. Deputy Secretary of State, Warren Christopher, walks down aircraft steps to be greeted by officials (MUTE)
GVs Official party walking to lounge (MUTE)
SPEECH ON FILM (TRANSCRIPT)
JOHN TRATTNER: (SEQ 1): "We do think that some time will go by now before we get a further response or reaction from Teheran. As for the substance of what is happening I will as usual be very uninformative. I can say that it... that our response is consistent with the basic principles stated by the President, and repeated by us many times since. The exchange yesterday evening indicates that the process aimed at the release of our hostages is continuing and a number of important questions remain to be solved."
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Background: INTRODUCTION: Iran and the United States appeared to move a little closer to reaching agreement on the hostage issue on Thursday (8 January) following reports that the Iranians want to speed up negotiations. They are reportedly anxious to settle the issue before the January 16 deadline set by the Carter administration to wind up its work on the dispute before President-elect Ronald Reagan takes over on January 20. Teheran Radio attacked Mr. Reagan and his tough policies in a broadcast on Thursday apparently indicating they would prefer not to start negotiations from the start with his administration. President Carter sent the deputy Secretary of State, Warren Christopher, to Algiers on Wednesday (7 January) where he is to discuss the latest exchanges with Algerian officials. At the State Department in Washington DC, spokesman John Trattner acknowledged an exchange of messages between Iran and the U.S. on Tuesday (6 January), but said a number of important questions remain to be solved.
SYNOPSIS: On Thursday (8 January) Mr. Christopher arrived in Algiers for talks with Algerian Foreign Minister, Mohmed Seddik Benyahia. His presence is reportedly a positive sign. Diplomats in Teheran believe he would hardly travel to Algeria if Iran was still a long way from drawing up its response. Three Algerian envoys were still in Teheran on Thursday awaiting an Iranian reply to the latest set of U.S. proposals to end the crisis. The main problem still appears to be U.S. reluctance to pay Iran 24 billion dollars as a deposit to cover repayment of Iranian assets blocked in the United States. This is despite an American offer to pay about eight billion dollars and to help Iran locate and recover the rest.