Iran, 1907 & 2007

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The Anglo-Russian Convention of 1907 and Foreign Secretary David Milliband 2007….

In September 1907 the text of the Anglo-Russian Convention was doing the rounds in Western capitals. It declared that “the signatory Powers undertake to acknowledge and respect the integrity and independence of Persia…”.

But then in a semantic somersault continued:

“….and delimit their spheres of influence in that country, Russia taking the Northern, and England the Southern part”.

So that is what was meant by ‘respecting integrity and independence of a nation’ – carve it up into spheres of influence!

A hundred years later, we have the British Foreign Secretary declaring “We want Iran to be secure and prosperous, co-operating with and respected by the international community. We want Iran to exercise influence and leadership in the Middle East commensurate with its strategic position and historical role in the region….”.

Then there is the caveat:

“…. but Iran needs to see the resolve and unity of the international community. No country can afford to be sanguine about defiance of the authority of the multilateral system or destabilisation of the Middle East.”

So a Muslim nation can be secure and prosperous so long as it does not seek its own national interest or political autonomy!

Church Times, 27th September 1907
Financial Times, 6th December 2007