Turbulent Iran: Recollections, Revelations and a Proposal for Peace

By Eldon Griffiths | Go to book overview

BEE-PEE AND A TOPLESS BEACH

Her Royal Highness believes that charity starts at home.
Her own of which she has many.

— Sikh guide on Kish Island

My connections with Iran widened and deepened in the late 1960s. Memories of the Abadan crisis faded as British oil companies shifted the bulk of their drilling operations from the Middle East to the North Sea and Alaska. Britain’s relations with Iran improved. I was elected to the executive committee of the Conservative party’s most influential body in the House of Commons and served as honorary secretary and later chairman of the BritishIranian Parliamentary group.

This brought me into contact with the large Iranian community in London and with dozens of old Persian hands, among them Geoffrey Keating, who had served as an aide to Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery, Britain’s World War II army commander. Keating had spent several years in Iran as a PR man for the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company and was a trustee of its pension fund which looked after many hundreds of Iranians as well as Brits.

Keating, through his many friends in Iran, arranged for me to visit the head office of the now nationalized Iranian Oil company (NIOC) in Teheran and to tour its tanker terminals on Kharg Island in the Persian Gulf. Together we flew to Ahwaz and hired a car to drive to the oil fields. A sand storm blew up, giving Keating, an AngloIrishman an excuse to tell a tall story about the former Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (AIOC) changing its name to BP.

According to Keating, a bee flew into the Rolls Royce car of AIOC’s chairman when, like us, he was being driven through the

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Turbulent Iran: Recollections, Revelations and a Proposal for Peace
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page i
  • Table of Contents v
  • Foreword vii
  • Preface xi
  • Acknowledgements xvii
  • Part One 1
  • Discovering Persia as a Schoolboy 3
  • Brits and Persians 8
  • Mosaddegh Lifts His Nightgown 13
  • The Americans Move into Iran 19
  • The Shah's Dreams and Illusions 28
  • Ambassador Extraordinaire 34
  • Falling in Love with Iran 42
  • Bee-Pee and a Topless Beach 48
  • A Red-Haired Lady and a Blue Marchioness 55
  • Party at Persepolis 60
  • Radars and Trailers 65
  • Iranian Wheeler-Dealers 72
  • American's Iranian U-Turns 78
  • An Ambassador Poisoned, a Prime Minister Sacrificed 83
  • Black Friday 91
  • Could the Monarchy Have Been Saved? 95
  • Reaping the Whirlwind 101
  • The Flying Dutchman 106
  • Escape from Panama 115
  • The Corpses of Eagle Claw 125
  • Rescue at the London Embassy 129
  • Scuds and Chemical Weapons 133
  • Ollie North's Iranian Follies 140
  • Sanctions Have Failed 147
  • Reza Pah Lavi 154
  • They Came Not Empty-Handed 158
  • Orange County Opens a Dialogue 166
  • Histrionics at the Golden Mosque 174
  • The Reformer Whose Light Went out 182
  • Is Mahmoud Ahmadi-Nejad Bad or Mad? 188
  • Extracts from a Persian Letter 194
  • Part Two 197
  • Iranian Nuclear Turbulence 199
  • Nuclear Non- Proliferation Treaty 220
  • Part Three 223
  • Time to Talk 225
  • Engaging with Iran 236
  • Proposals for Peace 242
  • End Notes 251
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