Much may depend on whether [Jacques Chirac], in his bargaining with Iran, succeeds in gaining the rapid release of the last three French hostages in Lebanon. If he does, Le Monde, the influential Paris newspaper, said in a front page editorial, "the controversy that has just begun in France will stop there. One does not fly against victory."
Spokesmen for the Chirac government found themselves spending a good deal of the day denying accusations that France had sent arms to Iran as part of the deal and acknowledging reports in both the French and foreign press that France intends to make a second repayment to Iran on a $1-billion loan that dates from the days of the late Shah of Iran.
There was no denial of other reports that France would make another repayment of part of the $1-billion loan made by Iran in 1974. France made a first repayment of $330 million in November, 1986, as part of its policy of normalizing relations with Iran in hopes of gaining release of the hostages. A Foreign Ministry spokesman said that negotiations for a final settlement of the loan might begin soon.