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HOSTAGES MAY BE FREED

HOSTAGES MAY BE FREED

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A senior Iranian official said in an interview published today that prospects for release of the Western hostages in Lebanon have never been better and that they may be freed this year.

Ali Mohammad Besharati, first deputy foreign minister, told the Tehran Times newspaper, ``I can say that all the hostages may be released by next January.' The 18 Western hostages include eight Americans, four Britons, two West Germans, two Swiss, an Irishman and an Italian.

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