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Iranian Newspaper Complains About Ceausescu Visit

December 23, 1989

NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) _ Iranian newspapers on Saturday criticized last week’s official visit of Romanian leader Nicolae Ceausescu, who was later ousted in a popular revolution.

The daily Ettela’at said the visit provided an opportunity for international news media to defame Iran, the Islamic Republic News Agency reported.

″The Foreign Ministry would do well to offer some explanation why it arranged for Ceausescu to visit Tehran at an inopportune time when his ouster was not something difficult to guess,″ it said.

The English-language Tehran times joined in the criticism by writing: ″The nagging question is why should he be received in our capital while a whole nation has risen up against his rule?″

″How can the Iranian nation, which made one of the most vigorous revolutions against an armed-to-the-teeth dictator, not share the sentiment of the Romanian people standing up to an autocratic rule?″ it added. ″The Romanian nation’s victory is a triumph of all nations.″

The newspaper’s editorial, to be published in Sunday’s issue, was quoted in advance by IRNA.

The staff of the Romanian Embassy in Tehran on Saturday declared its support for the uprising in Bucharest and for the new National Salvation Committee, the news agency quoted Ambassador Ilie Sisu as saying.

During his visit to Iran that ended Wednesday, Ceausescu signed a deal under which Iran would export 41 million barrels of oil and 1 billion cubic meters of natural gas a year to Romania.

Ceausescu, 71, also visited the tomb of the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in a near-obligatory stop for foreign dignitaries.

The Times of London reported Saturday that Iranian leaders had difficulty persuading Ceausescu to visit the tomb at the Behesht Zahra cemetery outside Tehran.

Ettela’at criticized the large number of Ceausescu relatives he installed in high places in the Romanian government. It also blasted his role in facilitating contacts between former Egyptian and Israeli leaders Anwar Sadat and Menachem Begin.

″Let us hope Ceausescu was the last falling star to come to the Islamic Republic for his last meal,″ the newspaper wrote.

″Let us respect the will of the people of Romania. The inopportune visit to Tehran by Ceausescu may be made good by saluting the struggle of the Romanian people.″

The daily, generally considered pro-government and supportive of the private sector, said an Iranian student was among the hundreds of demonstrators killed in the western Romanian city of Timisoara while Ceausescu was in Tehran.

Romania is Iran’s second-biggest trading partner in Eastern Europe, with the volume of trade estimated at about $1.8 billion. The new agreements, if they remain in place, would boost that to $3 billion a year.

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