The American hostages in Iran have spent part of their second Christmas in captivity at special religious services held at secret locations.
(MUTE) GV INTERIOR Priest (in white) seated at table with American hostages in Tehran
SV Priest receiving more hostages
SV Priest receiving more hostages
GV Priest performing Mass: two hostages sip wine, as does priest
SV Priest at table with women hostages on either side
SV Woman takes gifts from Christmas tree, handing them to priest and another hostage
SV Hostages being received by another priest (in black) and first priest??? all walk behind table
SV INTERIOR Iranian Prime Minister Ali Rajai holding news conference
CU Official PAN TO Rajai talking in Farsi
SV AND GV Translator putting Rajai's words into English (2 shots)
SV EXTERIOR Washington: Algerian envoys entering State Department headquarters (2 shots)
TRANSCRIPT: SEQ. 10: TRANSLATOR: "In cases where there are differences between the two countries, the hostages will remain in Iran until the United States succeed in solving the problem in legal sources and accepted to both parties, and with arbitration which is accepted by both parties."
SOBEL: "In Washington, State Department officials spent the day trying to solve the crisis. Four Algerian diplomats, two of whom had seen all 52 hostages, met today with Secretary of State Muskie and White House counsel Lloyd Cutler. The Algerians told American officials the hostages appear to be in good condition. And, according to one source, the Americans bounced two counter-proposals off the Algerians, asking which might be more acceptable to the Iranians."
REPORTER: REBECCA SOBEL
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: The American hostages in Iran have spent part of their second Christmas in captivity at special religious services held at secret locations. Meanwhile, diplomatic moves for their release seemed deadlocked as the Iranian Prime Minister, Ali Rajai, told diplomats and newsmen on Saturday (27 December) the hostages would not be freed until the issue of disputed funds was resolved. And, in Washington, Algerian envoys have been back at the State Department trying to find a formula to get the hostages back home.
SYNOPSIS: In Teheran, three Iranian Christian clergymen and the Vatican envoy to the capital, Monsignor Annibale Bugnini, were led blindfolded early on Christmas morning to large rooms where separate Protestant and Catholic services were held. The envoy said later the hostages' health was good, and their morale high. He said two women hostages, Elizabeth Ann Swift and Kathy Koob, were highly emotional--crying and laughing at the same time. All but three of the 52 hostages attended services. Only six or seven were allowed to take part at any one time.
The captives had been given postcards and gifts from relatives. Iranian television said the film showing the hostages--the first for eight months--was shot in Teheran. This was the first reference to their location since they were moved from the American embassy following the abortive rescue attempt last April. There'd been earlier conjecture that some were being held on the Caspian Coast. The hostages, though seldom smiling, appeared to be in good health, and observers said they were clearly putting on a brave face.
Monsignor Bugnini's being allowed to take part in the service was a surprise, because the authorities had declared only Iranian clergy-men could be present. Three Americans held at the Iranian Foreign Ministry had a separate service in a large room they've lived in for more than four hundred days.
These three are former Charge d'Affaires Bruce Laingen, political officer Victor Tomseth, and security officer Michael Howland. Western diplomats say they are the only hostages able to follow news of their plight on radio and in newspapers. They are being held in a room just a few doors away from where Prime Minister Ali Rajai spoke on Saturday (27 December) to some sixty diplomats and newsmen about the hostages. The conference came only days after Mr. Rajai had declared the hostages matter a dead issue of no further political value to Iran.
In a long speech, he said Washington had two alternatives: to pay all amounts that were guaranteed, or to release the Iranian assets not in dispute. He said, however, the United States had opted for a third choice--to plot against Iran. He said they had gone back on a number of pledges.