Iran News ...


12/29/05

Britain tried to sell Concorde to Iran's deposed Shah

London, Dec 29, IRNA-British attempts to sell Iran two Concorde supersonic aircraft ended in embarrassment and confusion, according to 30-year-old secret papers released by the UK government on Thursday.

A Concorde was to have been used for the visit to Tehran by the British Queen's mother in April 1975 with the publicity to be used to help seal a deal to sell the supersonic aircraft to Iran.

But documents from the Public Records Office in London show that chaos reigned over the trip arrangements that left British diplomats in Tehran fuming.

Flight plans were first agreed then cancelled because of problems with meteorological conditions, then again were given the go-ahead before being finally vetoed over safety concerns about one of the aircraft's engines.

"This is getting embarrassing," a British official in Tehran warned in a memo to the Foreign Office in London.

The diplomat said the court of the deposed shah had been told about the proposal, but then, "Later we told them that the Concorde was definitely off. A week or so ago we told them that the Concorde was definitely on again."

He reported that the court's response to the changes were "a little sharp" and warned that "If we change our mind again the shah will wonder what we are up to."

At the time British Prime Minister Harold Wilson, who intervened to cancel the flight on safety grounds, said his government's position would be "indefensible" if the engine fault became known.

Correspondence released under Britain's 30-year rule show that an official from the Department of Industry confirmed Iran Air was in negotiations to buy two Concordes from the aircraft's manufacturers.

The British official in Tehran told his colleagues in London that he did "not have to emphasize the positive publicity value of Her Majesty arriving in a Concorde, particularly if the Iranians' own contract is signed about the same time."

... Payvand News - 12/29/05 ... --



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