TEHRAN, Nov. 9, 1978 (UPI) - Iranian military authorities have arrested former Prime Minister Emir Abbas Hoveyda and the shah has ordered an investigation into corruption and the finances of the royal family to appease his opponents. Hoveyda, 58, once one of the shah's closest aide and his prime minister for 13 years until 1977, led the nation throughout the oil boom economy that contributed to the political and economic unrest plaguing Iran.
Hoyveda and the powerful SAVAK secret police chief, Gen. Nematollah Nassiri, arrested Tuesday, have been accused by the clergy-led opposition of leading Iran into its crisis.
Government opponents have long maintained the massive influx of oil wealth -- $22 billion annually - fostered corruption on an unprecedented scale and the shah Wednesday ordered the new military-led administration to set up special tribunals to try persons accused of corruption. In an order broadcast on Iranian television, the shah also reiterated a pledge to complete investigations into the assets and business partnerships of more than 50 princes and princesses of royal blood, many of whom now live abroad.
The shah already had banned royal family members from taking up official positions or business partnerships.
But in Paris, the exiled leader of the shah's Moslem opposition, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, said the "end is near" for the shah and not even superpower intervention can save him.
Khomeini told reporters at his small villa at Pontchartrain, 20 miles west of Paris, "The Russian government is like other big powers. They have interests in Iran and thus are supporting the shah.
"But none of them can save the shah. His end is near."
Despite the shah's efforts to defuse Iran's crisis, the underlying tension in the capital remained, particularly among Americans and other foreign nationals who have been the target of attack by hard-line Moslem demonstrators.
Rumor flourished in the absence of newspapers, on strike in protest at the reimposition of censorship.
Sajid Rizvi, United Press International bureau manager in Tehran, was arrested early today along with his wife and 2-year-old child. They were being held pending a decision on when and where to deport them. No reasons were given.
Tehran and other cities are still under overnight curfew and strict and strict around-the-clock martial law that prohibits gatherings of more than two people.
A firebomb attack by demonstrators hurling crude Molotov cocktails at three American homes in the luxury quarter near the shah's palace Tuesday has aroused fears among the 41,000 U.S. residents, although no one was hurt in the incidents.