Nation: Hostages Near Freedom

And a U.N. commission would probe past abuses in Iran

Nobody could be sure, and nobody would talk. Secretary of State Cyrus Vance slipped up to Manhattan for a secret meeting with U.N. Secretary-General Kurt Waldheim, then slipped away again. At the U.N. and in West European capitals, normally accessible diplomats became uncharacteristically secretive. Washington buzzed with rumors, but the White House banned all official speculation, and Jimmy Carter urged the nation "to guard against excessive optimism." Though such caution was certainly warranted, there was mounting evidence from all quarters that the long, cruel ordeal might finally be coming to an end...

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