The UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office has released the previously confidently Owen Report on British Policy on Iran 1974-1978.
This report covers the fall of the Shah and the rise of the Islamic Republic.
From the description:
The Islamic Revolution in Iran represented a seismic shift in the internal and geopolitical orientation of a formerly close ally of the United Kingdom.
This document, now released for the first time, was commissioned in 1979 by the then Foreign Secretary, the Rt Hon David (now Lord) Owen, in order to enable a detailed examination of the context of the events leading to the Revolution, and for the FCO to identify any lessons that might be learned from the UK’s reactions to, and analysis of, the events concerned.
The intention, as mentioned by the then Permanent Under-Secretary in his foreword, was not to apportion blame for the fact that the FCO, in common with others, failed to predict the Islamic Revolution. Rather, the intention was to “examine where, if anywhere, we had gone wrong and how we could do better in the future”. In this context Chapter XI, “Conclusion: Lessons for the FCO”, is of particular interest.
As a whole, this document shows the value of analysis and historical perspective in formulating policy not just with regard to the Islamic Republic of Iran, but to other countries and regions which remain of vital interest to the UK.
It is important to bear in mind that this is a historical document and does not necessarily reflect the views of the current UK government. It has been released for publication on the web following the FCO’s standard clearance procedures.