IRAN AND THE US HOSTAGES IN LEBANON

Created: 8/1/1988

OCR scan of the original document, errors are possible

FOR:

.'lUIUECT:

Honorable Robert B. Oakley Special Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs

Iran and the OS Hostages in Lebanon

1. Iran's decision to accept UNs unlikely to resultramatic change in Tehran's position regarding the US hostages in Lebanon. Iran probably will continue to use the hostages as it has in .theleverage to bargain for specific quid-pro-quos from foreign capitals. Iran's desire for US backing for the Iranian position during UK negotiationsight increase Tehran's receptivity to the reloase of one or more of the US hostages, but Tehran would have to be convinced that it would receive some specific benefit. Some Iranian leaders night perceive an advantage in releasing some Western hostagesoodwill gesture, but they probably would have to overcome opposition from Iranian radicals and from the Lebanese Shia kidnapper*.

2. Iran's acceptance of the UN resolution apparently does not necessarily presage an across-tho-board moderation of its foreign policies or its hostage policy in particular, although to gain maximum international support for its position it may well temporarilyess aggressive stand toward its traditional enemies.

3. He do not believe that the current circumstances will force Iran to alter its stand on the hostages as they did on

r. some Iranian leaders, nevertheless, probably perceive that Iran could derive aomo benofi'ts It one or more pi the* western hostages wore released. These Iianiansostage release would entourage western countriesore favorable toward the Iranian position durinqpeace negotiations and tore Iraq to agree to an immediate cease-fire. These Iranians sight argue that the regime hold open the option of securing the release one or more hostage, but they are unltkoly to press the issue with their colleagues unless Iran first receives assur release wouldpecific pay-off at tho UN.

iqn Itanianwho oppose acceptance ofr rapprochement with the United States probably will continue toardline against release of the Western hostages except in return for significant monetary and/or political compensation. The radical* in particular are likely to oppose unconditional release of us hostages in an attempt

- Assembly Upe*ker Rafsanjani and^ Z aPProved acceptance of b'Jb probably feel they

wt-SS occo:"odatin9he radicals on issues like the hostages (or fear that further arguments might split the government into irreconcilable camps. here isC* ^ leaders mightonsensus to

JriwMto

hingtoninto dealing foreodon of tho remaining

tnatthis week by RafsanjaniI?'? J* yetto bo more forthcoming on woSTdiT* "Ua"- said that Ira?

years.

theQ helP froQ US "ostages if frlJilJHtary equipment bought by the Shah and frozen by Washington after militants seized the us Embassy.s the same line Tehran has followed for almost

ILany decisjon to release an American

Tehran Wo continue the

Hizballah on

bbsbsbsbY he Judge that Hizballah coi.-ld be convinced

was also in iran i^tritifiTtil

Cerelea.Hf French Srl^ hlel? in Lebanon. Mughniyah has always linked the

inSeriC;nothiar -im^Ueas altered this

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Asian Analysis

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