Tehran, Iran — Western diplomats here are reporting apparent Soviet attempts to compound the crisis atmosphere in Iran, but expect no military moves by Moscow in the short run, says Monitor correspondent Ned Temko.
The diplomats believe that a Soviet jetliner leaving Iran April 16 carried dependents from the Soviet Embassy, something that could not be immediately confirmed from Soviet or East European sources.
At the same time, intelligence reports from at least two West European countries speak of unusual movements on Iran's northeastern frontier by Soviet forces in Afghanistan.
Most Western envoys here take this as a reflection of a Soviet desire to keep the Iranian kettle boiling or, as one diplomat put it, "to play on Iran's nerves."
No one is predicting any Soviet move to invade Iran, arguing that the Soviets are having enough trouble with Afghanistan.
But some diplomats hold that if unrest here persists, the Soviet Union might eventually try to co-opt separatist sentiment among northern provincial minorities like the Kurds, the Azarbaijanis, or Turkomans.