TEHRAN, Nov. 13, 1978 (UPI) - Striking Iranian workers at the huge Telecommunications Co. in Tehran barricaded the premises today and forced hundreds of foreign workers, many of them Americans, to leave. In rioting at Lahijan near the Caspian Sea soldiers enforcing martial law fired on a mob, killing a 4-year-old and two other persons.
The incident in Tehran came as tension between workers who have returned to Iran's oil fields and hard line strikers ran high. Americans and other foreign workers were suffering property damage and were the targets of insults.
A U.S. Embassy spokesman said he understood there were between 30 and 40 Americans in the Telecommunications building at the time of the incident and that there was "some pushing and shoving."
Normally about 800 foreign workers are employed at the building. The spokesman said the incident was near the end of the working day and the Americans, mainly employed in technical development work, went home early.
The police were not called in during the incident.
At Aahvaz strikers pulled a British oil worker from his car and set it ablaze.
Other demonstrators burst into an American home and ransacked it.
Some 2,000 American and other foreign workers are in the southwestern oil fields and several have had stones thrown at them or have been insulted.
A Western oil expert said of Iran's strike-crippled oil fields: "It's a touch-and-go situation down there even though more than half the workers are back."
Other oil experts speculated the crisis had reached the razor's edge because of the bad blood between those who had returned to work and the hardliners.
A tense calm prevailed Sunday in Tehran where a week ago rampant rioting was touched off by military gunfire that killed as many as 65 students attempting to topple a statue of the shah.
The anti-shah National Front, whose leader was jailed Saturday night, claimed its strike against the government was still effective.
But members of the five-party coalition conceded that many anti-shah strikers would return to their jobs today and resume production of Iran's most precious commodity.
The bazaar in the heart of the city was virtually deserted but it was generally agreed that workers were going back to their jobs in the oil fields, lured by promises of a 22 percent pay hike.
"They have to work to earn money to live," said a front worker who asked not to be identified. "After all, they have been off their jobs for a week."
An official statement from the National Front described the weekend arrest of Karim Sanjabi as "a crime" and vowed that the struggle against the shah, who has ruled Iran for nearly four decades, would succeed.
Sanjabi's family tried to find him Sunday and his daughter told UPI "they promised to tell us where he was tomorrow, but with these people you just never know."
Some sources claimed oil production - which generates $23 billion a year income for the nation - was almost half the normal 6 million barrels a day.
Many of the workers returned to collect the 22 percent pay raise and to avoid being fired, as the companies have threatened if workers stay away from the oil wells.
The gates of Tehran University remained tightly closed by heavily armed troops and there was still no indication when other schools would reopen.
Many government workers stayed away from their jobs Sunday, the first workday in the new week, but some buses were running and Tehran's traffic was as horrendous as ever.