White House concerned over hostage comment

The Carter administration said Wednesday it would be gravely concerned if release of the American hostages in Iran were delayed until May or later, as an Iranian official has suggested. "It would be a grave concern if the process were dragged on that long," a US official said in response to remarks in Iran earlier in the day by Ayatollah Muhammad Beheshti, secretary of the ruling Revolutionary Council.

But the US official took some hope from the indication by Ayatollah Beheshti that revolutionary leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini could change his mind about submitting the hostage issue to the new parliament for decision.

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