Iranian President raises hope for Gulf peace team

President Abolhassan Bani-Sadr has raised a slim hope that peace efforts by an eight-nation Islamic mediating mission might still bring an end to the six-month war against Iraq. Speaking to ambassadors gathered in his office, he appeared to soften his attitude toward the mission, whose efforts he firmly rejected at a mass rally earlier this month.

Despite his insistence that the mission should apportion blame for the war, the President did not repeat earlier demands for condemnation and punishment of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, and his whole speech was couched in moderate terms. He insisted that Iran's only interest was to defend itself and t hat it was ready to end the war "at any moment."

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