Pro-Iranian Shiite Moslem kidnappers released a videotape Friday of American journalist Terry Anderson, who read a message accusing the U.S. government of preventing his release.
Copies of the tape were delivered to two Western news agencies in Beirut four days after Anderson, 41, marked his fourth year in captivity. They were accompanied by a statement in Arabic from Islamic Jihad, which holds Anderson.Anderson began his message, which lasted two minutes and 35 seconds, by identifying himself and saying the date was Oct. 30.
"Once again I have been given the chance to speak to my government, my family and my people," said the chief Middle East correspondent for The Associated Press. "I love you, I miss you very much. I know of your continued strong efforts for me," he told friends and family.
"I have been very close to being released several times over the past three years, but each time it seems that the U.S. government uses its influence to stop any agreement and I don't understand this.
"I am not asking (President) Reagan to deal with terrorists, although Mr. (George) Bush did so in the Iran-Contra affair and TWA hijacking." He did not elaborate.
Bush, the Republican candidate for president, has not previously been named as a negotiator in the 1985 jet hijacking, in which Shiite Moslems demanding freedom for Shiite prisoners held 39 Americans for 17 days. Israel released 766 prisoners.
The vice president has said he was not a key player in the sale of arms to Iran and was unaware of details and planning of it. The deal became known as the Iran-Contra affair when it was revealed that money for the arms was funneled to Contra rebels in Nicaragua.
"Our problem could have been solved a long time ago without such complications as arms deals," Anderson said.
He urged the administration to negotiate his release and appealed to the new U.S. president to end the plight of the hostages. The Reagan administration has said it won't negotiate with terrorists.
It was the third videotaped message from Anderson since his abduction in Moslem west Beirut on March 16, 1985. The other tapes were released Oct. 3, 1986, and Dec. 26, 1987. (Anderson is the longest-held foreign hostage in Lebanon. Thereare 14 captives, including nine Americans.)
Islamic Jihad, or Holy War, said in an accompanying statement that it provided the videotape "on the occasion of Terry Anderson's birthday and in response toyour letters, and according to his desire to send you a recorded message."
Islamic Jihad also holds Thomas Sutherland, 56, of Fort Collins, Colo., acting dean of agriculture at American University in Beirut. He was kidnapped June 10, 1985.
The group is demanding, among other things, freedom for fellow "holy warriors" from all foreign jails and withdrawal of Israeli forces from south Lebanon. Itrepeated those demands in a statement Oct. 23.
Anderson appeared relaxed as he read from the prepared statement. He was clean-shaven and wore eyeglasses. His hair was cut short and neatly combed. He was shown from the waist up, wearing a striped gray sweater.
Islamic Jihad has freed three Americans in the past three years - the Rev. Benjamin Weir, a Presbyterian minister, the Rev. Martin Lawrence Jenco, a Roman Catholic priest, and David Jacobsen, former director of the American University Hospital in Beirut.
Jacobsen's release Nov. 2, 1986, was connected to the shipment of U.S. arms to Iran.