THIS WEEK the Carter administration agreed to hear the Iranian charges against the former Shah of Iran at an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council. This decision is a positive step toward a de-escalation of tensions and a good sign that the administration understands that the Iranians must have an international forum--a place to blow off steam--if a military confrontation is to be avoided and the lives of the hostages saved. Without compromising the nation's stance on the sanctity of foreign embassies and decisions to grant asylum, the United States can take steps to allow the Iranian terrorists a more graceful exit.
Though Carter has shown prudence in pursuing a peaceful settlement of this crisis, he has erred in repeatedly threatening military intervention. One threat is enough. Repeated threats only serve to produce counter threats, and to limit U.S. options, perhaps forcing military action.
The United States should continue to seek a resolution of this conflict through diplomatic channels. The meeting of the Security Council is such an option. Carter should also work to persuade the nations with close ties to Khomeini, such as Syria and Pakistan, to convince the Iranians and especially Khomeini that they cannot externalize an internal revolution.