Khomeini Delegation Rebuffed By Rebels

Article from December of 1979 discussing clashes between ethnic Azeris in Iran and forces loyal to Khomeini.
By Maureen Johnson - Associated Press Writer

Tehran, Iran (AP)- Ethnic Turkish rebels controlling Tabriz rebulted a peace delegation sent by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini's regime today after a day of hard fighting in which khomeini's supporters recaptured the radio station and governor's mansion in the northwest city but couldn't hold it.

A spokesman for the main political organization in Tabriz, the moslem peopl's Party, said party officials would not meet with the peace delegats.

Meanwhile, the situation of the U.S. hostages in the American Embassy in Tehran remained unchanged on their 37th day in captivity. But a U.N. spokesman said Secretary - General Kurt Waldheim was sending the foreign minister of Sri Lanka to visit the hostages, and the United States was to present its case against Iran to the international Court of Justice in The Hague. Iran was boycotting the court session.

Khomeini's Revolutionary Court sent Finance Minister Abdolhassan Bani-Sadr and two other officials to Tabriz to try to end the five-day-old rebellion by the Turkish Azeris, the fourth of Iran's ethnic minorities to take armed action in support of their demands for autonomous home rule.

The Turks seized the local radio station, the governor's mansion and the airport Thursday. Local army units were reported siding with the rebels.

Early Sunday revolutionary guards recaptured the governor's mansion, and some 4.000 khomeini supporters prayed at the university next door, then rushed and seized it from 20 to 30 armed Turks.

Hundreds of Turks shouting "Death to Khomeini!" marched on the station, and the khomeini forces opened fire. Tens of thousands of Turks and local army units joined the march, rushed the hilitop station and retook it.

Rebel leaders said three of their people were killed, 60 were wounded and six of khomeini's revolutionary guards were taken prisoner.

The Turks also retook the governor's mansion, seized a police station and apparently retained control of the airport throughout the day's violence. They erected roadblocks around Tabriz and searched vehicles to bar Khomeini's supporters from reaching the city of 600,000 Iran's third largest .

Khomeini said in a Tehran Radio broadcast that the Tabriz rebellion was the work of "plotters who receive their orders from American and elsewhere." and his regime issued an arrest warrant for the Turks governor general-designate in East Azerbaijan, Rahmatola Moghadam Maraghaie.

The Tabriz rebellion broke out after supporters of khomeini killed two Turks and wounded eight others who were guarding the home of their spiritual leader, Ayatollah Mohammad Kazem Shariat-Madari. in Qum, the holy city 100 miles south of Tehran where khomeini also makes his headquarters.

Shariat-Madari and the Turkish Azeris are shiite Moslems like Khomeini and Iran's Persian majority while the other sizable ethnic minorities demanding autonomy the Kurds, Arabs, Turkmans and Baluchis are Sunnis, the dominant branch of Islam everywhere else in the Moslem world.

The mob in Qum attacked Shariat-Madari's home because he critized Iran's new Islamic constitution for concentrating too much power in Khomeini's hands and for failing to satisfy the ethnic minorities demands for autonomy.

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