Three of Iran's four "British hostages" were still in Tehran Thursday -- two days after being publicly declared innocent of the charges of spying brought against them more than six months ago.
Correspondent Bill Baker reports the drama of a last-minute hitch which delayed the other hostages earlier, including the 52 Americans and free-lance journalist Cynthia Dwyer, was repeated when the three British missionaries were brought to Tehran's Mehrabad airport Feb. 25. the official news agency Pars said their departure was now set for Friday.
British businessman Andrew Pyke is still being held in Iran.
Meanwhile, former Iranian Air Force chief Amir-Bahman Baqeri has been arrested on suspicion of complicity in the aborted mission to rescue the 52 US hostages last April, Pars reported. The agency quoted Hojatoleslam Muhammad Reyshari, head of the revolutionary courts of the Army, as saying General Baqeri was believed to have prepared the ground for the abortive mission, in which eight US servicemen died near the desert town of Tabas.
According to Hojatoleslam Reyshari, the Air Force commander arranged the removal of antiaircraft artillery around four key Iranian cities on Apri l 23, one day before the American mission.