News ID: 209
Awkward Comrades;
In the 1970s, a vigorous competition arose to quench the Shah's thirst for arms purchases. This paved the way for bribery and made it one of the common rules of trade between Iran and Western companies.
Publish Date : 12:00 - 2021 March 08 The following is part of an article entitled "British Policy towards Iran 1977–79" by Edward Posnett. Edward Posnett completed the MPhil in Modern Middle Eastern Studies at Christ Church, Oxford, in 2010. This article is different in both its sources and scope. Unlike any other published study on Anglo-Iranian relations, it relies on government records recently released in the British National Archives. Instead of focusing on the British response to the Iranian revolution, it seeks to account for the strength of the shah's leverage and illustrate its consequences during one of the most important periods in Iran's history. It should be mentioned that this article was the joint winner of the Middle East Centre's Azizeh-Sheibani Prize.

In the 1970s, a vigorous competition arose to quench the Shah's thirst for arms purchases. This paved the way for bribery and made it one of the common rules of trade between Iran and Western companies (1). Intheearlypartofthat decade, Britain took its share of trade with Iran. There was a vigorous competition between sellers of weapons for defense deals with Iran. And the British Government Arms Promote Unite owned by, The Defence & Security Organisation, was taking the bribe to the Shah through One of the famous intermediaries known as Sir Shapoor Reporter, who for some time was a spy for the British intelligence service.

Reporter became an important figure in Iran-British relations in the 1970s and had a very close and cordial relationship with the Iranian and British elites. His father had played an important role in enthroning Reza Shah and he himself was among the comrades of bathhouse and Golestan of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. He worked at the British Embassy during the 1953 coup and eventually was used as a spy by the British Intelligence and Security Service. Due to the strong connections that the reporter had established in Iran and the United Kingdom, his role as the gatekeeper of all Iranian Business deals was giving him special value. The reporter was considered a pure and valuable commodity for the British, and he was honored to receive the title of "Sir" in 1973, because of his services in the field of expanding British exports to Iran. Was only his "services in the field of export expansion to Iran" intended by the British government?

Sir Dennis Wright describes him in such words: "The reporter is reliable in that he does what he is told to do correctly and accurately, but his personal opinions and advice cannot be left without the color and smell of personal utilitarianism, especially of a financial nature". Many Iranians also did not have a positive opinion of him, cause with the death of Alam and Iqbal, "the last powerful actors in the field of traditional Iranian politics", the reporter was deprived of the existence of his only other words seeing him evoked "an unpleasant past that was tainted by British interference in Iran's internal affairs, court conspiracies, or the big game.

In 1977, his brokerage rights and the final destination of their remittances had not yet been leaked. The amount of money, which indicated the extent of the contracts he had agreed with British companies, certainly aroused public suspicion and protest, an example of this is the 1 100 million contract of the Chieftain tank in 1971. "The percentage that seems reasonable in small contracts seems unreasonable in large contracts, and that is exactly where the issue lies," said a Defense Department official. Also, no one knew that his commission often went out of the pockets of the Iranian the sense that, it burdened the cost of contracts. The routine of these receipts and payments was handled by Milbank Technical Services Company (MTS) and since it was a semi-governmental enterprise, no one had access to its accounts and books. In this way, everything was remained confidential.

Charged with taking A total bribe of 25,000 pound, between May 1971 and October 1972 from two directors of the private electronics company Rockall, Col. Randall was tried in the Criminal Court, in 1977 as a representative of the Defence & Security Organisation (DSO). The government claimed that two Rockall employees had paid Randall the amount of money to win the auction for the wireless construction of shah's Chieftain tanks. Shah was outraged that the reporter was known for his brokerage and his commissions, and absolutely denied any close and sincere relationship with the reporter. Amir Abbas Hoveida, the former prime minister of the Shah, asked the British to issue a statement within 24 hours stating three points: that the reporter is a British citizen and an employee of the British Ministry of Defense; The sums paid to him by the British government were without the knowledge of the Iranian government; And the Iranians have not received any money.

The Iranian government threatened if Britain refused to do so, the government itself will issue a statement saying that the alleged sums had been transferred to the account of the British Intelligence and Security Agency.

Eventually an agreement was reached as follows, On November 17, Secretary of Defense Dr. John Gilbert provided the following answer to the parliament: Sir Shapoor Reporter, who is a British citizen , has been employed by the organization for several years as an advisor on the official sale of defense data-x-items to Iran, which is run by Milbank Technical Services Company on behalf of the Ministry of Defenseوlf of the Ministry of Defense. ote Unite, and In his place, he has also received sums for his services.

This maneuver temporarily put an end to the situation and prevented an immediate crisis, but the outcome of the trial of the three defendants should ultimately have maintained Iran-Britain relations. Fortunately, all three defendants were convicted in court because of maintaining relations with the Shah of Iran, Of course, it was never proven whether the two Rockall executives were convinced that Randall would pay his bribes to the Iranians or not. And more importantly, the issue of depositing British bribes into the Shah's pocket was also hidden from public opinion.

As soon as the trial was over, the authorities rushed to repair the damage. In a political satire entitled "Reporter of the Year," Private Eye magazine portrayed Shapoor Reporter's situation in such a way that he has become aninconvenience for the British and Iranian governments, both of which wanted to get rid of him. The British decided to sever all ties with him. Milbank Technical Services Company immediately canceled the agreement to pay brokerage fees to the reporter. And the British intelligence and security services ended their relationship with him in Paris. The British authorities did their best to prevent the press from reporting on the court proceedings. This is a clear example of double standard in arms deals: the money that Iranians receive is a "brokerage fee," but the same amount, if paid in English, is a "bribe."

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