FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Why Iranians Hate the British

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. 

More articles by:

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

June 19, 2018
Ann Robertson - Bill Leumer
We Can Thank Top Union Officials for Trump
Lawrence Davidson
The Republican Party Falls Apart, the Democrats Get Stuck
Sheldon Richman
Trump, North Korea, and Iran
Richard Rubenstein
Trump the (Shakespearean) Fool: a New Look at the Dynamics of Trumpism
Kevin Zeese - Margaret Flowers
Protect Immigrant Rights; End the Crises That Drive Migration
Gary Leupp
Norway: Just Withdraw From NATO
Kristine Mattis
Nerd Culture, Adultolescence, and the Abdication of Social Priorities
Mike Garrity
The Forest Service Should Not be Above the Law
Colin Todhunter
Pro-GMO Activism And Smears Masquerade As Journalism: From Seralini To Jairam Ramesh, Aruna Rodrigues Puts The Record Straight
Doug Rawlings
Does the Burns/Novick Vietnam Documentary Deserve an Emmy?
Kenneth Surin
2018 Electioneering in Appalachian Virginia
Nino Pagliccia
Chrystia Freeland Fails to See the Emerging Multipolar World
John Forte
Stuart Hall and Us
June 18, 2018
Paul Street
Denuclearize the United States? An Unthinkable Thought
John Pilger
Bring Julian Assange Home
Conn Hallinan
The Spanish Labyrinth
Patrick Cockburn
Attacking Hodeidah is a Deliberate Act of Cruelty by the Trump Administration
Gary Leupp
Trump Gives Bibi Whatever He Wants
Thomas Knapp
Child Abductions: A Conversation It’s Hard to Believe We’re Even Having
Robert Fisk
I Spoke to Palestinians Who Still Hold the Keys to Homes They Fled Decades Ago – Many are Still Determined to Return
Steve Early
Requiem for a Steelworker: Mon Valley Memories of Oil Can Eddie
Jim Scheff
Protect Our National Forests From an Increase in Logging
Adam Parsons
Reclaiming the UN’s Radical Vision of Global Economic Justice
Dean Baker
Manufacturing Production Falls in May and No One Notices
Laura Flanders
Bottom-Up Wins in Virginia’s Primaries
Binoy Kampmark
The Anguish for Lost Buildings: Embers and Death at the Victoria Park Hotel
Weekend Edition
June 15, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Dan Kovalik
The US & Nicaragua: a Case Study in Historical Amnesia & Blindness
Jeremy Kuzmarov
Yellow Journalism and the New Cold War
Charles Pierson
The Day the US Became an Empire
Jonathan Cook
How the Corporate Media Enslave Us to a World of Illusions
Ajamu Baraka
North Korea Issue is Not De-nuclearization But De-Colonization
Andrew Levine
Midterms Coming: Antinomy Ahead
Louisa Willcox
New Information on 2017 Yellowstone Grizzly Bear Deaths Should Nix Trophy Hunting in Core Habitat
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Singapore Fling
Ron Jacobs
What’s So Bad About Peace, Man?
Robert Hunziker
State of the Climate – It’s Alarming!
L. Michael Hager
Acts and Omissions: The NYT’s Flawed Coverage of the Gaza Protest
Dave Lindorff
However Tenuous and Whatever His Motives, Trump’s Summit Agreement with Kim is Praiseworthy
Robert Fantina
Palestine, the United Nations and the Right of Return
Brian Cloughley
Sabre-Rattling With Russia
Chris Wright
To Be or Not to Be? That’s the Question
David Rosen
Why Do Establishment Feminists Hate Sex Workers?
Victor Grossman
A Key Congress in Leipzig
John Eskow
“It’s All Kinderspiel!” Trump, MSNBC, and the 24/7 Horseshit Roundelay
Paul Buhle
The Russians are Coming!
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail