Roham Alavandi, a historian of Iran and the modern Middle East, currently lectures at the London School of Economics and Political Science. He serves on the Governing Council of the British Institute of Persian Studies and is Assistant Editor (History) of the academic journal entitled Iranian Studies.
Prior to lecturing at the university, Alvandi worked on the strategic planning staff in the office of UN Secretary – General Kofi Annan and was a Visiting Fellow at the University of Tehran. He received his MPhil and DPhil degrees at the University of Oxford and his doctoral thesis won the Foundation for Iranian Studies’ Dissertation Prize and the University of Oxford’s Pavry Memorial Prize.
He is the author of Nixon, Kissinger, and the Shah: The United States and Iran in the Cold War (2014) and is currently working on a second book, Iran’s Cold War.
“They try to various means to try to get the Americans interested in Iran to draw them into Iran, and – but it takes a long time, and it’s not really until the cold war comes into full force that the US makes a ton of decisive shift in its policy, really under Harry Truman, to defend Iran against Soviet penetration.”
“…and Stalin is determined to prevent this from happening and just taking out what he considers the Soviet Union’s rightful claims in Northern Iran. And so one way of pressuring the government in Tehran is by supporting these separatist movements, both in Tabriz and in Mahabad.”
“The turning point is Suez, of course, the Suez crisis, when Britain loses control of the Suez Canal. You have the collapse really of the British position in Yemen. They’re forced to withdraw from Aden, so the writing is on the wall essentially. And although the British want to maintain their position in the Persian Gulf, because they have such significant fanatical and oil interest in places like Kuwait and what were called then the Trucial States. The reality is that it’s not sustainable.”
“So, Nixon and Kissinger couldn’t intervene to defend Pakistan. They were legally not able to provide weapons for the Pakistanis, and so what they did is they approached the Shah, and they asked Iran to support Pakistan to provide weapons to Pakistan which would then be resupplied by the Americans to Iran. And this wasn’t strictly speaking legal. It violated all kinds of legislation, but they did it anyway. It was quite successful, and it pleased very much the Chinese.”