Turbulent Iran: Recollections, Revelations and a Proposal for Peace

By Eldon Griffiths | Go to book overview

THEY CAME NOT EMPTY-HANDED

Seeking a refuge from the cruel battering of fortune we have come.

— Hafez, Iranian poet (1320–1390)

My Iranian connections multiplied in the early 1990s when Betty and I took up residence in the United States upon my retirement from the House of Commons. To my new job as president of the World Affairs Council of Orange County, California, we drove across the continent in a Range Rover given to Betty by my New York friend, Akbar Lari as a belated wedding present, following our marriage three years earlier. Akbar by now had flourished as a house builder in Long Island. Among his friends were numerous other Iranians I had met over the years, one of them, Ahmad Teherani, the Shah’s former ambassador to South Africa.

Akbar Lari: Outstanding
immigrant

Akbar Lari in 2003 was named one of America’s outstanding immigrants and honored by the mayor of New York at a ceremony at Ellis Island. When I took Betty to see this, we saw a picture of a some words scrawled in chalk by some unknown immigrant on the base of the Statue of Liberty which aptly summarized what Akbar and an estimated two million other Iranian immigrants have contributed to America:

We came not empty-handed here, we brought a rich inheritance.

En route to California we stopped in New Orleans where I was a fraternal delegate, a fancy name for foreign guest, at the 1990 convention of the Republican party which nominated the first

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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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