March 12, The Iran Project – Iran and UK enjoy long-lasting ties, which have been drawn from the governments of the two countries to the deep relations between the people of the two nations.
It is predicted that not in a near future, the distrust would be further expanded between the people of two countries under the shadow of verbal war and inconsistent performance of the two sides.
Iran & Britain, the early days
Although the aged-old Iran and UK relationship have so far witnessed lots of ups and downs, the people of the two countries have had cordial relations, time of which dates back even before the official start of relationships between the two governments.
At early stage, the Iranians had fully trusted UK at the governmental and national level and had always obeyed the ancient proverb of “enemy of my enemy is my friend”.
As per this famous proverb, due to the conflict created between UK and Russia, which was considered as the dangerous neighbor of Iran at that period of time, Tehran and London enjoyed warm relations.
During the rule of Safavid dynasty (1502-1722) the relations between Iran and UK flourished and reached the highest level as an English citizen was appointed as Iran’s ambassador in Europe.
At the same time, the root cause of distrust between Iran and UK was founded during that period.
UK’s Lacks of Commitment
During the Safavid era, the UK breached its commitments towards Iran and reinforced its political ties with Iran’s regional rivals, a move which destroyed the Iranian confidence in UK.
Since the Safavid era, the British people have become famous for their different kinds of characteristics like moths, sly and treacherous among Iranians.
A part of UK’s violation of its commitments resulted from conditions of Europe at that specific time of history.
At that time, the UK was trying to take care of its colonial India from the two great powers of that time including Russia and France.
On the other hand, during the Nader Shah Afshar (1736-1744), Iran had become a serious source of worry for the UK.
However, lack of Iran’s confidence in UK was not popularly obvious before Mashrotiat (Iranian Constitutional Revolution) and the British Embassy building in Tehran was considered as a safe haven for Iranians, to the extent that during the Mashrotiat era a large sit-in took place in the building against domestic tyranny in Iran and such manner has been remembered in so far.
1953 Iranian coup d’état: Coup de Grace
Britain accomplice in the 1953 Iranian coup, known in Iran as the 28 Mordad coup, was considered as the coup de grace to the lack of Iranians’ confidence in the UK.
The entrance of UK military forces to Iran during the World War I and II, are considered as the root cause of Iranian anger and distrust to the UK.
In World War I, many Iranians died as a result of the famine caused by the presence of foreign forces in the country.
And the wound of that tragic event had not been treated so far. At that time, British forces prevented the transfer of grain from other countries to Iran.
On the other hand, the UK bought the grain of Iranian market for its domestic use by high price or resorting to force or even shooting some patriotic businessmen who did not want to sell them the grain.
During the Pahlavid (1941-1979) era, the Iranian people lack confidence in the UK.
The outrage of Iranians from the presence of British in the oil-rich areas, led to nationalization of Iran’s oil industry in March 20, 1951 by the country’s then democratically-elected Prime Minister, Mohammad Mosaddeq.
The chaos erupted following the nationalization of Iran’s oil industry, distorted Britain as the most hated foreign government in the eyes of the Iranian people. And many Iranians deemed UK as the main culprit behind the collapse of Mossadegh who was popular among many Iranians.
It is worth mentioning that one of the positive points remained in the minds of the Iranians, was the role BBC played in the second Pahlavi era and the years before the victory of 1979 Revolution in Iran.
At that time, the BBC local news was considered as a media for announcing anti-Pahlavi statements and managed to restore trust of Iranians at that period of time.
That is why after the victory of the Islamic Revolution, the British Embassy did not suffer the same fate of US Embassy in Tehran.
But after the start of Iran-Iraq eight-year imposed war, the relations between Islamic Republic of Iran and UK strained and as a result the Iranian people lost their faith to Britain again.
UK a puppeteer of new regional anti-Iran sedition
After the 2009 Iran presidential election and the inauguration of BBC Persian TV, the thought of common Iranian people and some elites totally chanced toward UK and such approach is enduring until now.
The UK recent approach is considered as new movement of Old Fox (a term used by Iranians to describe Britain) for attempting to dominate its previous colony.
The current measures of British Prime Minister Theresa May and her relations with the Persian Gulf states, have fueled speculation among Iranians that the UK is seeking to create new sedition beyond the Iranian borders and the Iranian historical distrust has also strengthened such impression.