Some US hostages put in hiding, militants say

The Islamic militants holding the American hostages, claiming that Washington planned to try to free the captives before the US presidential election, said Monday night that some of them had been moved to secret localities. They repeated earlier threats that any US attempt at military action to rescue the Americans would result in their being killed. They said the hostage issue was of critical importance for US policy because of the Nov. 4 election, which is also the first anniversary of the seizure of the hostages.

In other developments, Iran's foreign minister, Sadeq Ghotbzadeh, has announced he is stepping down. Political sources said President Abolhassan Bani-Sadr is refusing to accept a hard-line successor. Iran's moderate national-guidance minister, Nasser Minachi, has also offered his resignation.

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