Iranian officials have told France's foreign minister that some foreign hostages in Lebanon will be freed "within a short period," Kuwait's state-run news agency reported.
Foreign Minister Roland Dumas flew to Kuwait Monday for a brief state visit after a two-day trip to Iran.The Kuwait News Agency, quoting diplomats traveling with Dumas, said: "He (Dumas) obtained a promise from responsible officials (in Tehran) that a number of Western hostages held in Lebanon will be released within a short period." The diplomats did not elaborate, the report said.
Iran has influence over the fundamentalist Hezbollah, or Party of God, which is considered an umbrella for groups holding most of the 15 foreign hostages in Lebanon. Iranian officials, however, dissociate themselves from the kidnappers.
The 15 hostages in Lebanon are nine Americans, three Britons, one Belgian, one Irishman and one Italian. The longest held is Terry Anderson, chief Middle East correspondent for The Associated Press, who was abducted March 16, 1985.
In a statement at Kuwait international airport, Dumas said his weekend trip to Tehran achieved its objectives and was "fruitful in many ways."
"I discussed the entire file of French-Iran relations and laid down a blueprint for a future relationship," he said.
Iranian media generally were hostile toward the Dumas visit, pointing out that France was a major arms supplier to Iraq during the eight-year Iran-Iraq war.