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McFarlane Made Deal To Keep Iran Quiet on CIA Network, Paper Says With AM-Bush-Investigation,

May 3, 1987

McFarlane Made Deal To Keep Iran Quiet on CIA Network, Paper Says With AM-Bush-Investigation, Bjt

LONDON (AP) _ Former White House aide Robert McFarlane made a deal with Iran to keep it from exposing the CIA Middle East network, revealed by hostage William Buckley under torture, a British newspaper reported Sunday.

Quoting well-placed Iranian sources, The Observer said McFarlane reached the agreement with Hashemi Rafsanjani, speaker of Iran’s Parliament, during the secret trip to Tehran made by the former national security adviser in May 1986.

McFarlane’s wife, Jonda, speaking for her husband from their home in Bethesda Md., outside Washington, said the story in The Observer was false. She said McFarlane ″had no such information and made no such deal.″

The newspaper said that tape recordings and transcripts of the McFarlane- Rafs anjani meetings, made by the Iranian side, were given to Lawrence Walsh, the U.S. special prosecutor investigating the Iran-Contra affair.

The Observer said that according to the deal, McFarlane agreed to supply Iran with top-secret U.S. military intelligence and step up the covert sale of U.S. arms. Iran in turn promised to keep details of U.S. intelligence operations from being passed to the Soviet Union and other nations, it said.

Before striking the bargain, The Observer said, McFarlane was allowed to see both a transcript of Buckley’s ″confession″ and a four-hour videotaped statement the hostage made under torture. McFarlane was also shown a photograph of Buckley’s body, the paper said.

Buckley, CIA station chief at the U.S. Embassy in Beirut, Lebanon, was kidnapped in 1984. In January, Vice President George Bush confirmed that Buckley had been killed in captivity after torture.

The Observer quoted a senior Iranian diplomat close to President Ali Khamenei as saying Buckley did not die in Lebanon, but in Iran. The unidentified diplomat was quoted as saying Buckley died of a heart attack while under torture in late 1985 at a prison at the Saleh Abad military base near the Iranian holy city of Qum.

News that the Iranians obtained detailed information about the entire American Middle East intelligence network, complete with names of U.S. agents, was passed to the United States by Syria’s deputy leader and chief of security, Rifaat Assad, brother of President Hafez Assad, the paper said.

″Earlier, more than 250 Iranian officers had been either executed or imprisoned and a number of foreign residents arrested and charged with spying,″ the paper said.

McFarlane, who resigned as President Reagan’s national security adviser in December 1985, came out of retirement for the Iran mission.

He flew to Tehran with Marine Lt. Col. Oliver North, a National Security Council aide, and George Cave, a former CIA agent, in a plane loaded with military materiel, to negotiate the release of the U.S. hostages in Lebanon.

McFarlane has said he was told a deal had been struck in which all the American hostages would be released. Officially, the meetings in Tehran ended when McFarlane walked out, infuriated at Iran’s refusal to order the release of all the captive Americans.

But The Observer said, ″unofficially, McFarlane left with part, at least, of what he came for.″

During the meetings between McFarlane and Rafsanjani, the paper said, the Iranian agreed to suppress details of Buckley’s confession and block publication of a batch of documents from the U.S. Embassy in Tehran which had been pieced together by Iranian students from shredded remains.

The Observer said the documents contained details of operations carried out in Iran by Cave.

The paper said Cave also took part in the secret talks with Rafsanjani on the sixth floor of the Independence Hotel in Tehran, but North was excluded.

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