Turbulent Iran: Recollections, Revelations and a Proposal for Peace

By Eldon Griffiths | Go to book overview

AN AMBASSADOR POISONED,
A PRIME MINISTER SACRIFICED

Perhaps we ought to slow down. Is is possible that we are
moving too fast, upsetting too many people, undertaking too many
different things on too many different fronts at the same time.

— Amir Abbas Hoveyda,
Prime Minister of Iran

When Margaret Thatcher succeeded Ted Heath in 1976 as leader of the Conservative Party, she appointed me as a spokesman on foreign affairs. One of my jobs was to help draft her speeches, another to brief her on international issues on which, in her early years, she was a long way from possessing the background and authority she was later to acquire as prime minister. Iran was a country that Margaret wanted to know more about. I therefore arranged to take her to the Iranian embassy in London to meet a newly arrived ambassador, Amir Teymour Kalali.

I had met Amir Teymour in Teheran shortly after he returned from his assignment as Iranian ambassador to India, where rumor had it that he had drunk too many pink gins and run up gambling debts. Displeased with his performance in New Delhi, the Shah had reassigned Amir Teymour to what Iranian diplomats then regarded as “outer darkness,” the embassy in Moscow. When Teymour heard from the Minister of Court that I had visited Russia several times, he asked me to share my impressions of life in the Soviet capital. I told him to take plenty of warm clothes and thought no more about this until in 1978, when Amir Teymour was promoted to be Iran’s ambassador to London.

-83-

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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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