Forty Years Ago: March 11, 1979
Deal With Russia
The Soviet Union will supply an additional 6,00,000 tonnes of crude oil to India in exchange for rice. This is the outcome of the high-level Indo-Soviet talks going on in the capital. New Delhi had asked Moscow to step up its crude supplies to India to enable the latter to meet the oil shortage caused by developments in Iran. The Soviet prime minister, in a letter to his Indian counterpart, Morarji Desai, had agreed to do so in exchange for half-a-million tonnes of wheat from India. At the talks in Delhi, PM Desai suggested that because of domestic and international commitments it was not possible for India to spare half a million tonnes of wheat but India would be willing to give an adequate quantity of rice instead.
Iran Women Protest
Thousands of women walked out of their jobs to protest against the attempts to curtail their freedoms under a proposed Islamic Republic in Iran and ran into a group of religious zealots who beat and stabbed at least one of the demonstrators and injured several others. The attack by an Islamic orthodox group came as the fist-waving women marched by the British embassy near Teheran’s main Ferdowsi Street. As the demonstrators dressed in blue leans and skirts made their way through, two bearded Muslim clergymen appeared. One of the mullahs jumped atop a bus and shouted, “Let me know your complaints and I’ll take them to the Ayatollah.”
Winding up his talks with Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, on West Asia peace in Egypt, United States President, Jimmy Carter said that he was going to Israel with “difficult issues still to be resolved”. Sadat, standing by Carter’s side under sombre grey skies near the great pyramid of Giza, endorsed Carter’s assessment and wished him well on his visit to Israel later in the day as a part of the continuing attempts to broker a deal.