Turbulent Iran: Recollections, Revelations and a Proposal for Peace

By Eldon Griffiths | Go to book overview

REAPING THE WHIRLWIND

Shall I tell you your greatest mistake, Reza?
You loved Iran more than you loved Iranians.

— Hassan, King of Morocco

The Shah left Iran piloting his own aircraft on January 16, 1979. His first destination was Egypt where he planned to stay a few weeks before heading for the United States where his sisters owned homes in New York and California. As he waited in Cairo for clearance to fly on to America, I wrote an analysis for my colleagues in Parliament of why after thirty-seven years of peace, rising prosperity and greatly increased international respect for Iran, the Shah had lost his throne and the U.K. and U.S. their strongest ally in the Middle East.

It was our pressure that led the Shah to overestimate the
Soviet threat and spend far too large a share of Iran’s
income on the sophisticated weapons of which we were the
main suppliers. It was the Pentagon’s demands that the
U.S. military in Iran should be immune to Iranian law that
lent credibility to the charge that he was a puppet on an
American string. Many of us condemned him for not mov-
ing fast enough to “liberalize” yet what did most to
undermine him were the reforms he pushed through that
struck at the base of the Moslem clergy’s powerwomen’s
rights and land reform.

Time and change have given me no reason to change that assessment but the Shah’s own personal failings are clearer to me now than

-101-

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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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