US allies plan to lift Iranian curbs

European Common Market foreign ministers agreed to lift trade sanctions against Iran as soon as the 52 American hostages were released. Common Market foreign ministers approved the text of a statement welcoming the release of the hostages, but holding back its publication until the release was confirmed. Diplomatic sources said the statement indicated the EC countries' readiness once the hostages were released to lift trade sanctions imposed last May.

Diplomatic sources said Britain would join its EC partners in removing trade sanctions once the American hostages had left Iran. But they made clear that Britain would definitely not restore normal relations with Iran until the four Britons still being held in Iran were released.

Meanwhile, Canada, which aided the United States in smuggling six diplomats out of Iran, welcomed the release of the American hostages. A statement by the secretary of state for external affairs, shortly after the aircraft took off from Tehran, said Canada would soon review all the measures taken to curtail relations with Iran last May.

Japan, too, indicated its willingness to talk with Iran on restarting oil shipments upon the hostages' release, a government spokesmen said.

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