Hostages set up for spy trial?

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Two of the American Embassy hostages were shown on Iranian television late April 9 in an apparent revival of an attempt by their captors to prove charges of espionage.

The hostages were shown separately, one in the defense attache's office in the embassy and the other in what appeared to be a communications monitoring room, Monitor correspondent Ned Temko reports from Iran.

Both hostages were giving explanations of various aspects of embassy operations. Due to a sometimes inconclusive Persian language narration, it was not immediately possible to determine the full extent of the areas covered.

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The identity of the hostages was also not immediately known.

One of those shown, apparently a young marine, pointed to wires in what seemed to be a communications room and said the equipment could "monitor cumputer traffic in Iran."

He then pointed to several junction boxes. "This one goes to the National Security Agency," he said. He was then briefly overridden by Persian language narration.

Pointing to another box, he said, "this is CIA."

It was not immediately clear whether the hostages' narrative had indicated specific instances of espionage or had implicated the interviewed pair or others of the 50 captives.

It was also not clear when the film had been taken or why it was being shown. But Western diplomats expressed concern that it could be a prelude to intensified efforts by student militants to prove wrongdoing and perhaps even go through with past vows to stage trials.

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