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UK supplied Shah with riot weapons, reveal confidential documents

London, Feb 2, IRNA — Newly-published confidential documents dating back to 1978 have indicated that the then British government was supplying ‘internal security’ and ‘riot control’ equipment to the Pahlavi regime to suppress dissidents and prevent the Islamic Revolution.

According to these documents obtained by IRNA, the British defense and foreign secretaries reached consensus just months before the 1979 Islamic Revolution to sell such equipment to the deposed regime of the shah.

This is while according to British rules, selling arms and security equipment to other countries for suppressing riots is illegal.

As per one of these confidential correspondences, several meetings were held in London between the then British defense secretary Fred Mulley and Iran’s deputy minister of war for armaments General Hassan Toufanian in presence of Sir Ronald Ellis from the British Defense Ministry and Colonel Abbas Arbibi, assistant armed forces attaché of the Iranian Embassy in London.

The meeting was held on November 23, 1978 in London. In it, General Toufanian said his ‘government had been grateful for the British Government’s prompt response to requests for internal security equipment’.

Toufanian was also hoping ‘it would be possible for a distinguished expert in counter-terrorism to visit Iran and advise the Iranian authorities on counter terrorist techniques’.

According to the confidential minutes of that meeting, British defense secretary Mulley said that ‘the British Government was watching events in Iran anxiously and with sympathy as Iran occupied a strategic position of great importance to the West’.

Mulley added that ‘the British Government has made clear its hope that the shah would re-establish order and stability in Iran’.

The confidential documents indicate that a week after this meeting, the then British foreign secretary was informed that the defense ministry was selling riot control equipment to shah. The equipment included 8,200 anti-riot guns, 10,000 rubber baton rounds and 26,000 CS cartridges used in suppressing rioters.

According to these documents dated November 23, 1978, the then British government refused to supply the shah with shock sticks and Fox armored vehicles to be used in anti-riot operations. However, another document dated November 29, 1978, indicated that the foreign office had decided to illegally sell such equipment to Iran.

“(We) need to preserve good relations with the Iranians. We have a large volume of defense sales business in Iran and two very large projects — the Shir Iran tank and the Isfahan military and industrial complex.”

The confidential documents also indicate that the then British officials could not ignore shah’s petrodollars in exchange for shock sticks and Fox vehicles.

“…but whatever the political credit we can obtain will help to preserve export earning and jobs in this country (Britain).”