193. Telegram From the Embassy in Iran to the Department of State1

10874. Sub: Foreign Ministry Statement on Secretary Kissinger’s Remarks About Iranian Intelligence Personnel in the U.S.

1. On November 1, MFA’s Fourth Political (American) Department head, Hatef, clarified for Embassy statement by MFA spokesman which appeared in late papers October 31 and morning papers November 1 re Secretary Kissinger’s response to question on what is being [Page 575]done about SAVAK shadowing of Iranian citizens in U.S.2 Press stories carried UPI report on that subject and in particular lighted on quote from Secretary as follows: “It is not correct that the U.S. is aware that Iranian intelligence personnel are checking on individuals living in the U.S. We are making inquiries and if it is correct we are asking that it be stopped.”3

2. Hatef translated from remarks in Farsi made by MFA spokesman as follows: “We are very friendly with the U.S. Our relations are good and we have beneficial common interests. But any action that they might take towards our representatives we would reciprocate toward their representatives.”

3. Hatef confided that Iranian Embassy in Washington was instructed to bring this statement to the attention of the Department in a very friendly and polite fashion. Any discussion of the statement by other Iranian Embassies around the world should be in the same fashion.

4. Comment: From discussions at Foreign Ministry Nov 1, it seems clear Iranians are being careful not to make too much of this issue and hope it will disappear soon. However, the statement serves notice that any restraints imposed on, or actions taken toward, Iranian representatives in the U.S. would be reciprocated here.

Helms
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy Files, D760406–0740. Confidential; Immediate.
  2. On October 26, The Washington Post published an article by Jack Anderson and Les Whitten entitled “CIA Seen Abetting Foreign Agents,” which claimed that “SAVAK agents hound and harass Iranians in the United States, with the full knowledge and sometimes the assistance of the CIA.” The article quoted Atherton as confirming the presence of SAVAK agents on American soil, who were seeking information about “‘potential terrorists who may be among students who would return to Iran.’” Other sources claimed that SAVAK was sending assassination squads into Europe and the United States to eliminate Iranian dissidents, one of whom, Reza Baraheni, requested that the U.S. Attorney General investigate. See footnote 7, Document 184, and Documents 199 and 201.
  3. Kissinger was responding to the first question asked at his press conference on October 27 at Hartford, Connecticut. For the transcript, see the Department of State Bulletin, November 22, 1976, p. 640.