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Former President Carter said Monday night he was unaware of an arms dealer's offer in October 1980 to trade up to $10 million in military spare parts for the 52 American hostages held in Iran.

The Miami Herald reported that a man identified as Houshang Lavi made the offer as part of a deal to arrange a delivery of arms to Iran in exchange for release of the hostages.The Herald story cited CIA memos to Carter's deputy National Security Council chief David Aaron and State Department official Harold Saunders.

In 1980, administration officials rejected the offer when they concluded that Iranian president Abolhassan Bani-Sadr was unaware of Lavi's proposal, the newspaper said.

Carter told a news conference after a lecture at Fresno State University that he was unaware of the offer and said he had not discussed the matter with Aaron.

He said he presumed that Aaron concluded the offer was "not substantial and not worth bringing to the attention of his superior."