UK 'Divided' Over Appointment of New Ambassador to Tehran

Published January 10th, 2002 - 02:00 GMT

Several British dailies Wednesday expressed fears that Britain's efforts to improve relations with Iran were being jeopardized by a diplomatic dispute over the choice of the next ambassador to Tehran. The concern follows a delay in gaining Iran's agreement to replace Nick Browne with David Reddaway, who has served twice in the 1970s and 1990s at the British Embassy in Tehran.  


According to the Financial Times, the Foreign Office in London is divided over whether to persevere and insist that Iran accept its first choice or select someone else. "Some British officials are unwilling to be seen to 'back down' over their nominee, while others believe a list of other candidates should be prepared," it said Wednesday.  


The Foreign Office has refused to confirm that Reddaway, who is married to an Iranian woman, has been nominated to replace Browne, who finished his tenure in early December, saying it does not comment on discussions about appointments.  


British newspapers, quoted by the Iranian official news agency (IRNA), reported officials saying that nominations were made on merit and insisting that Reddaway had the right credentials and was the "only choice for the job." Some dailies, quoting sources, dismissed claims made in Iranian newspapers that he was Jewish and worked for MI6 intelligence service using a diplomatic cover.  


The Times newspaper found out further background about Reddaway's family, saying that his brother works as a photographer for a news agency in Iran and his mother-in-law was an American, who raised horses in Iran. Reddaway is known to be a friend of Roger Cooper, whom he helped to release from jail after serving a five-year sentence for spying in Iran in the 1980s.  


In his subsequent book, Cooper revealed that he was godfather for Reddaway's son, Alexander. He also accredited Reddaway with playing an active role in gaining the release of western hostages from Lebanon a decade ago. ( 

© 2002 Al Bawaba (

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