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Khomeini Says ‘Neither East Nor West’ In Reconstruction

October 3, 1988 GMT

NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) _ Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini said Monday that Iran’s war reconstruction must be done without ″criminal Soviets and world-devouring America,″ apparently rebuffing rumors of a more open foreign policy.

Khomeini said the country’s postwar reconstruction policy should follow the principle of his revolutionary Islamic government: ″Neither East nor West.″

His statement, reported by Iran’s official news media and monitored in Nicosia, came in reply to a letter from Iran’s top political leaders asking for guidelines for reconstruction policy after the 8-year-old war with Iraq.

The Islamic Republic News Agency quoted Khomeini as telling President Ali Khamenei, Parliament Speaker Hashemi Rafsanjani, Chief Justice Musavi Ardebili and Prime Minister Hussein Musavi:

″The valiant people of Iran will keep their revolutionary and sacred faith and hate in their heart and employ their flames against criminal Soviets and world-devouring America and their agents and will hoist the banner of the genuine Islam of (Prophet) Mohammed throughout the world.″

Khomeini, Iran’s 88-year-old revolutionary patriarch and spiritual leader, told the leaders he knew they would resist attraction to East or West, adding:

″I am keeping a watchful eye on the internal and external policies of the country and as long as I am alive I will not let the course of our real policy change. ...

″It is your religious duty to cut off the last vein and roots of our country’s dependence on foreigners in any field.″

Khomeini said ″invisible hands″ in the East and West had spread stories that certain Iranian leaders were backing down from this position and making connections with East or West. He said the purpose was to sow discord in the Iranian revolution.

In what appeared to be an appeal to avoid public disagreement over policy, Khomeini told ″my enthusiastic revolutionary children″ not to raise questions with officials without considering Iran’s political difficulties. He said such questions might compel officials to reveal secrets of the Islamic state.

Evidence has emerged that some Iranian leaders, notably Rafsanjani, believe Iran must open up to the world after years of hostile relations with East, West and most of Iran’s Arab neighbors.

But even Rafsanjani has been careful to adhere publicly to the ideals of the revolution and declare they must not be diluted by more contact with the West.

Khomeini’s statement seems to come down, at least where the economy is concerned, on the side of the hardliners led by Musavi, who insist on tight state control of the economy and extreme suspicion toward foreign involvement.

But it also underlined the political uncertainty that has gripped Iran since its sudden acceptance of a United Nations-sponsored cease-fire that took effect Aug.20.