FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Why Iranians Hate the British

by ROBERT FISK

It’s a weird irony that Iranians know the history of Anglo-Persian relations better than the Brits. When the newly installed Ministry of Islamic Guidance asked Harvey Morris, Reuters’ man in post-revolutionary Iran, for a history of his news agency, he asked his London office to send him a biography of Baron von Reuter – and was appalled to discover the founder of the world’s greatest news agency had built Persia’s railways at an immense profit. “How can I show this to the ministry?” he shouted. “It turns out that the Baron was worse than the fucking Shah!” Of which, of course, the ministry was well aware.

Britain staged a joint invasion of Iran with Soviet forces when the Shah’s predecessor got a bit too close to the Nazis in World War Two and then helped the Americans overthrow the democratically elected Mohammed Mossadegh in 1953 after he nationalised Britain’s oil possessions in the country.

This was not a myth but a real, down-to-earth conspiracy. The CIA called it Operation Ajax; the Brits wisely kept their ambitions in check by calling it Operation Boot. MI6’s agent in Tehran was Colonel Monty Woodhouse, previously our Special Operations Executive man inside German-occupied Greece. I knew “Monty” well – we co-operated together when I investigated the grim wartime career of ex-UN Secretary General Kurt Waldheim – and he was a ruthless man. Woodhouse brought weapons into Iran for a still non-existent “resistance” movement and he eagerly supported the CIA’s project to fund the “bazaaris” of Tehran to stage demonstrations (in which, of course, hundreds, perhaps thousands, died) to overthrow Mossadegh.

They were successful. Mossadegh was arrested – by an officer assiduously done to death in the 1979 revolution – and the young Shah returned in triumph to impose his rule, reinforced by his faithful SAVAK secret police whose torture of women regime opponents was duly filmed and – according to the great Egyptian journalist Mohamed Hassanein Heikal – circulated by CIA officers to America’s allies around the world as a “teaching” manual. How dare the Iranians remember all this?

The mass of US secret documents found after the American embassy was sacked following the Iranian revolution proved to the Iranians not only Washington’s attempts to subvert the new order of Ayatollah Khomeini but the continued partnership of the American and British intelligence services.

The British ambassador, almost to the end, remained convinced that the Shah, though deeply flawed, would survive. And British governments have continued to rage about the supposedly terrorist nature of the Iranian government. Tony Blair – even at the official inquiry into the Iraq war – started raving about the necessity of standing up to Iranian aggression.

Anyway, the Iranians trashed us yesterday and made off, we are told, with a clutch of UK embassy documents. I cannot wait to read their contents. For be sure, they will soon be revealed.

Robert Fisk writes for the Independent, where this column originally appeared. 

Robert Fisk writes for the Independent, where this column originally appeared. 

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

Weekend Edition
December 09, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Nasty As They Wanna Be
Henry Giroux
Trump’s Second Gilded Age: Overcoming the Rule of Billionaires and Militarists
Andrew Levine
Trump’s Chumps: Victims of the Old Bait and Switch
Chris Welzenbach
The Forgotten Sneak Attack
Lewis Lapham
Hostile Takeover
Joshua Frank
This Week at CounterPunch: More Hollow Smears and Baseless Accusations
Paul Street
The Democrats Do Their Job, Again
Vijay Prashad
The Cuban Revolution: Defying Imperialism From Its Backyard
Michael Hudson - Sharmini Peries
Orwellian Economics
Mark Ames
The Anonymous Blacklist Promoted by the Washington Post Has Apparent Ties to Ukrainian Fascism and CIA Spying
Erin McCarley
American Nazis and the Fight for US History
Yoav Litvin
Resist or Conform: Lessons in Fortitude and Weakness From the Israeli Left
Conn Hallinan
India & Pakistan: the Unthinkable
Andrew Smolski
Third Coast Pillory: Nativism on the Left – A Realer Smith
Joshua Sperber
Trump in the Age of Identity Politics
Brandy Baker
Jill Stein Sees Russia From Her House
Katheryne Schulz
Report from Santiago de Cuba: Celebrating Fidel’s Rebellious Life
Nelson Valdes
Fidel and the Good People
Norman Solomon
McCarthy’s Smiling Ghost: Democrats Point the Finger at Russia
Renee Parsons
The Snowflake Nation and Trump on Immigration
Margaret Kimberley
Black Fear of Trump
Michael J. Sainato
A Pruitt Running Through It: Trump Kills Nearly Useless EPA With Nomination of Oil Industry Hack
Ron Jacobs
Surviving Hate and Death—The AIDS Crisis in 1980s USA
David Swanson
Virginia’s Constitution Needs Improving
Louis Proyect
Narcos and the Story of Colombia’s Unhappiness
Paul Atwood
War Has Been, is, and Will be the American Way of Life…Unless?
John Wight
Syria and the Bodyguard of Lies
Richard Hardigan
Anti-Semitism Awareness Act: Senate Bill Criminalizes Criticism of Israel
Kathy Kelly
See How We Live
David Macaray
Trump Picks his Secretary of Labor. Ho-Hum.
Howard Lisnoff
Interview with a Political Organizer
Yves Engler
BDS and Anti-Semitism
Adam Parsons
Home Truths About the Climate Emergency
Brian Cloughley
The Decline and Fall of Britain
Eamonn Fingleton
U.S. China Policy: Is Obama Schizoid?
Graham Peebles
Worldwide Air Pollution is Making us Ill
Joseph Natoli
Fake News is Subjective?
Andre Vltchek
Tough-Talking Philippine President Duterte
Binoy Kampmark
Total Surveillance: Snooping in the United Kingdom
Guillermo R. Gil
Vivirse la película: Willful Opposition to the Fiscal Control Board in Puerto Rico
Patrick Bond
South Africa’s Junk Credit Rating was Avoided, But at the Cost of Junk Analysis
Clancy Sigal
Investigate the Protesters! A Trial Balloon Filled With Poison Gas
Pierre Labossiere – Margaret Prescod
Human Rights and Alternative Media Delegation Report on Haiti’s Elections
Charles R. Larson
Review:  Helon Habila’s The Chibok Girls: the Boko Haram Kidnappings and Islamist Militancy in Nigeria
David Yearsley
Brahms and the Tears of Britain’s Oppressed
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail