The mother of the youngest American Embassy hostage has become the first relative to visit one of the 50 captives, spending nearly an hour with her son April 21 under the watchful eyes of several of the militant student captors, Monitor correspondent Ned Temko reports.
"I saw Kevin today," said Barbara Timm of her conversation with Sgt. Kevin Hermening, 20, inside the captive embassy. "We never quit holding hands. There was a lot of hugging."
But the native of Oak Creek, Wis., who had predicted she might melt into "babbling" and tears at the sight of her son, said, "There were no tears. I was telling him how strong he was and he kept telling me how strong I was."
While Mrs. Timm visited with her son, the militant captors in a last-minute reversal barred the Marine's stepfather, Kenneth Timm, from seeing his stepson.
The embassy visit, which had been in some doubt as the militant students debated on whether to permit it, immediately raised the question of whether further trips to Iran might be attempted by relatives of the other hostages. Mrs. Timm said the students had given no indication of whether they would allow further visits.
And although Ayatollah Sadeq khaikhali, who sent hundreds to the firing squad after the Shah was ousted, called Monday for the release of Sergeant Hermening, there was no indication at all that the militants were ready to oblige.
A diplomat said, "If getting the hostages out was that easy, it doesn't seem logical that this ordeal would have already dragged on for nearly six months."