In 1960s the tools were an IBM typewriter, lots of glue
and a ruler for the galleys
July 7, 2005
These were the days, my friend. Following four years in the boring
but picturesque city of Bern, Switzerland and then a stay of two
in Tehran at the Ministry
of Foreign Affairs, in 1961 I finally got an a new assignment at the Embassy
of Iran in Washington D.C., where I had studied a decade
before at Geogetown
of Foreign Service.
America here I come!
Alas it wasn't that easy. My
wife Angela whom I had met at New York University
was American and it complicated matters. By-laws of
said that if you have a foreign wife you cannot be
posted in the country of her origin.
I sent a letter
Zahedi, who was the ambassador, saying thank you
for giving me this assignment but the Ministry won't
me. I remember full well his reaction. He cabled the
Shah who ordered Foreign Minister Abbas Aram to go
ahead with the assignment forthwith. Later on, I found
out that the Shah had added "The Yanks know more
about Iran, than most of us do. Besides this young
American wife has nothing to say and she is certainly
no spy." End
of the matter.
When I arrived in Washington, the ambassador said
here is what I want
you to do start a magazine for the embassy. This was
besides my other assignments as the press attaché.
These days many embassy magazines are colorful, imaginative
and interactive Web site affairs. But in those days
it wasn't easy. There were no computers at the time.
an IBM typewriter, lots of glue and
for the galleys. If one made an error that was it!
Fortunately I had
secretary, a graduate from Vassar to
boot and with their help Iran
quite successful, and the envy of the Ministry of
Information. Even the late Sadegh
Ghotbzadeh (who allied himself with Khomeini during the revolution)
admitted it. In those days he used to come for dinner at our house
in McLean, Virginia. He cynically added that the magazine was was
just flashy technicolor propaganda. However, even the New York
Times gave it a positive review.
Many years later when I was
ambassador to Morocco and the revolutionaries
won, Ghotbzadeh phoned me and asked me to come
back to Iran. "I need people like you," he
said. Those were the last
I heard from him.
disturbance Ghotbzadeh managed
at an embassy Nowrouz reception organized at
the Hilton Hotel in Washington DC. That memorable
was roughed up by the Washington police for
as one of the demonstrating students. Hee hee...
By the way, to Zahedi's delight, Iran Review did not
cost the embassy a penny. The ads paid for