Turbulent Iran: Recollections, Revelations and a Proposal for Peace

By Eldon Griffiths | Go to book overview

HISTRIONICS AT THE GOLDEN MOSQUE

No one can doubt the reverence, even idolatry that millions
of Iranians still feel towards the revolutionary leader
who dethroned the last of the shahs.

Orange County Register

Following up the suggestion that I should pay another visit to revolutionary Iran, this time wearing my World Affairs Councils hat, I sought advice from U.S. and British officials, think tanks in Washington, London and Paris, and from Iranian exiles who had visited their country since Ayatollah Khatami had won election as president. Opinion as always was mixed. Optimists pointed out that Khatami had curbed the excesses of the regime’s religious police and promised action to relieve poverty and unemployment. His approach to the West was said to be “moderate.” Pessimists scoffed at this. Khatami in their eyes, was the “smile on the face of the tiger.” The regime remained a theocratic tyranny dedicated to the export of Islamic fundamentalism.

Confused by both but convinced by neither of these assessments, I flew to London in May 1998 and caught an Iran Air flight to Teheran on one of the short-bodied 747s the Shah had purchased from Boeing. My fellow passengers included a large number of smartly-dressed Iranian women who before boarding went into the restrooms, removed their lipstick, mascara and jewelry, and reappeared as plain-Janes wearing veils. Iran Air now belonged to the mullahs!

Joining me in Teheran were two other leaders of the World Affairs Councils of America, Dr. Jerry Leach, the national president, a former NSC staff member, and James Nathan, Ph.D., author of a treatise on

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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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