The unfortunate case of Mr Dizaei

Dizaei's biggest crime was visiting the embassy of the Islamic Republic without permission


The unfortunate case of Mr Dizaei
by Peyvand Khorsandi

In Britain, the word “black” usually refers to people of African or Caribbean descent. It’s always been a surprise to many Iranians that Ali Dizaei, the disgraced London Met police commander, should have been head of the Met Black Police Association (MetBPA) — few people of African or Caribbean descent would be comfortable calling themselves Iranian.

Even the word “Asian” doesn’t quite sit with us — it usually refers to people from the Indian subcontinent. We identify much more with the tag “Middle Eastern” and even then like to make clear that we are not Arabs.

A few years ago, Dizaei told a documentary team from Iran: “Despite my officer’s stripes I still feel like a foreigner because in this society if you are not English and if you do not have blue eyes and blond hair, they still see you as foreign.”

His experience was probably compounded by being a non-native English-speaker who had a foreign accent and used sentences that were not grammatical — a fact that is politely overlooked in discussions of his “race”. (I once cringed when he said “disingenius” instead of “disingenuous” in an interview.)

That's not to invalidate his experiences — in 2003, five police officers resigned after a BBC documentary exposed hideous levels of racism among new recruits. However, while the MetBPA was clearly set up with the right intentions, it really should rebrand itself as an anti-racist organisation that welcomes everyone. Otherwise it risks being damaged by the chauvinism Dizaei displayed in arresting 24-year-old Iraqi businessman Waad Al-Baghdadi, the case that saw him convicted.

Devil May Care, Sebastian Faulks’s James Bond novel, takes 007 to Tehran where his host, Darius, tells him: “The Persians, as you know, are an Aryan people, not Semitic like the Arabs. As for the Arabs themselves, well … they lack culture, James. All they have in their countries — the Iraqis, the Saudis, the Arabs of the Gulf — are a few things they stole or copied from us.”

Tall, flamboyant, cocky, close to power, Faulks’s Darius is no stereotype — though there are plenty like him and I would argue that Dizaei is one.

Were combating racism central to the MetBPA’s identity rather than the moniker “black”, the question would now be asked: did racism motivate Dizaei's arrest of Mr Al-Baghdadi?

Had a white officer arrested Mr Al-Baghdadi, it is the first question that would be asked. Instead of addressing this, the MetBPA will be backing Mr Dizaei’s appeal.

There are more important things to do such as winning justice for Stephen Lawrence, the black teenager murdered in 1993 by racists, and Jean Charles de Menezes, the Brazilian electrician mistaken for a failed suicide bomber and despatched by Met police officers in 2005. Without soul-searching and disowning Dizaei, the MetBPA plays into the hands of the national socialists.

To my mind, Dizaei’s biggest crime is one that he won't be charged for — visiting the embassy of the Islamic Republic without permission. He has even defended its policing: “They say police in Iran stop the cars all the time, but we do the same here … I do not know why most people in Iran get offended by this ... People in Iran do not know much about what is going on outside Iran so they think this is only happening in Iran.”

Racism may be rife in the police force but where else but the UK can a foreign-born non-native English speaker rise to so high a rank and cavort with the enemy?

A version of this article first appeared in The Evening Standard


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Hello Peivand

by ahosseini on

Well done for writing this article.

I gather you know me very well. In relation to this article, I would like to tell you a little story about my experience with this corrupt police officer.  On 7th July 2005 I was absent from work. The day after I went to work sitting at my desk very distressed about what had happened and very upset about two Iranians (I knew both)  killed and injured in those bomb attacks. A day after a colleague approached me and said "you Iran Terrorist where were you yesterday?"The police was here looking for you." I complained and I got myself into a serious problem and was eventually made redundant. I decided to take the employer to the court on the ground of racial harassment. I approached a friend in BBC and asked if he could suggest anyone in the community to help. He suggested that I should approach Ali Dizaei. I don't want to go into any details, but he was not in any way sympathetic and was after making a huge amount of money. He was closely associated with a disgraced Iranian lawyer (Mireskandari) who used his knowledge of law and connection to deceive his clients and make many of their clients bankrupt. We had to take a crowed of more than 20 victims to a meeting chaired by Dr Vincent Cable(deputy leader of Liberal Democrat Party) in the parliament. The lawyer was later exposed by a journalist in Daily Mail. 

I don’t think the way he spoke English was an issue at all. I know many academics working in research centres and higher educational establishments who are less fluent in English than Ali Dezaei.


You are Wrong!

by Iran_e_Azad on

amgw4 you must be really an idiot and out of touch to believe that under the Islamic Republic those adjective that you are mentioning doesn't exist! You don't have to go too far, just take a look at A N and his corrupt family!!They are thousand times worse!!! Down With Islamic Republic who has occupied Iran for 30 years now!


He deserved what he got!

by Iran_e_Azad on

Mr. Dizae shouldn't have arrested Mr. Al baghdadi by himself; instead, Mr. Dizae should have called the local police to complain that Mr. Al baghdadi was harassing him. If Mr. Al baghdadi was trying to solicit what Mr. Dizae had owed him and he had confronted him while he was having dinner then Mr. Dizae should have let the police handle the situation instead of handling the situation himself and abusing his rank and power. Furthermore, whoever has any close and friendly relationship with IRI needs to be put in jail for life, so this is the least he got. He should have been jailed for LIFE!  



People like Dizaei are why the revolution happened

by amgw4 on

During the Shah's time everyone in power was corrupt, alcoholic, whoring, nepotistic, liars and they completely abused their position for money. Since then Islamic piety has brought some control into the Iranian culture's nihilistic nature.


I am with the Mouse

by thepasserby on

As somebody living in London and naturally aware of "top iranians'" affairs, I have to say first time I heard his name in the news years ago I felt sympathy for him but today I am happy his is behind bars, pity he didn't get 40 years. You don't believe how many times in iran I was threatened to have my life f*&^ up by a man in uniform or else, for doing nothing. good day for iranians, iraqis and "web designers" bad day for hookers and Ahmadi


Rennd jan, It's not

by ariane on

Rennd jan,

It's not simple or selfish to ask to act for a collective interest of diaspora community in an adoptive society, all other minorities do that and it works. And I'm not doubting his intelligence. Nor the my case with him is a personal one.

All I'm referring to are two issues:

1- Our adoptive societies owed us nothing when they gave us home when we needed it and shared their own opportunities with us. They did it out of humanity and We should be grateful to that and have their best interest at heart as  loyal citizens are expected to. It's only fair. And let us not please go down the route of Daei Jan Napoleon and blame our miseries on foreign powers. What ever happenned to us was our own fault and negligence and no one else's.

2- About time we start thinking in collective interest of our communities and the role that way of thinking plays in our individual interests. The higher the rank of an individual in that community, the bigger his or her responsibility. He chose to mingle with the Iranian community and he was respected, honoured, and treated as a hero and I know he enjoyes that status. Recognizing that, he should have acted more responsible. After all what would we love better, bragging about a high ranking officer in the British Police or feel sorry about his demise?





Now you are over simplify things dear ariane

by Rendd on

If he was smart enough to go up the ladder all by himself aside that he owes us nothing, saying "He chose the free chelokababs and concert tickets to that" is oversimplifying things denying his intelligence. Let's not be too worried about "Them bastard Iranians"remark since they have been telling us that for years even when we shoved our honeyed arm down their throats.

Now, the main question is, are we who never helped him to go up there, qualified to kick him after he is thrown down here?

If I was you I wouldn't be too worried about what people might think about us. This by itself is another Iranian characteristic. 


My dear Rennd, This is

by ariane on

My dear Rennd,

This is not about kicking a dead body, I am personally at a great loss to what has happenned to Commander Dezai. The most important reason for that amont others is the fact that as Nationals of a aplty reputed country, the last thing we need is bad publicity about a hamvatan in a high position. We do not need another "Them bastard Iranians" remark from our host societies. We already have enough. Hence, when some thing like this happenns, we all have to pay for it, in one sociological context or the other.

Iranians have a history of stupid cock ups and while we make them individually we pay for them collectively. My regret is that we always fail to notice the latter.

Commander Dezai was a high ranking British officer that was offerred a unique chance by his adopted society. The least he could do was to pay his allegiance to the crown and country he served. He chose the free chelokababs and concert tickets to that.

While I personally rejuiced at his elevation of social status, I am equally at loss with his demise. 




by Rendd on

I think he got simply carried away and got cocky but he is paying it back disproportionally.

On the other hand, our hamvatans are the ones who are kicking a dead body more than anybody else for no related reasons.

baraye derakhte oftaadeh...tabar be dast zeyad misheh...



This is not about arrogance

by ariane on

Rendd, this is not about arrogance! He was offerred a very high ranking position in the British Police after all wasn't he? He was tipped to be the next Commander of the Scotland Yard! If this was about racism, why would they even let him be promoted to this level any way! They saw his ugly ways and wanted to stop him, because he was shaming their institutional standards. He played the race card for while and succeeded and the fact that he was a lawyer helped him find the loop holes.

But hey, yek bar jasti malakhak!

Despite all the respect I used to have for him (purely based on his abilities than anything else), I have to say he was a stupid man, an Irooni in uniform (bad combination). He finally paid a high price for his cheap actions, and what a shame that is... 


He had to go down

by ThePope on

And, finally, he is 'taken down'.
It's been a very l o n g time that they wanted to frame this guy. The Brits spended ~6 million dollars to frame him.  It was only a matter of time...

Dizaei displayed lots of ambition in his career; his strong desire to succeed and make it to the top in London's police force was the start of his 'mistakes'. They did not want an Iranian (read Iranian, not Westernized w/ only a Persian name) as a senior officer in London's Force.
I repeat, they did NOT want him as a [educated] high ranked officer (who might one day, God forbid, become a police commissioner). Even his British wife admitted to London's police discrimination/racism (& jealousy) on irI's National TV, while they were in Iran in ~2004.

No need to mention the rest of his 'mistakes'/mistake*; being a muslim,  traveling to Iran, openly talking about racism in the Force (like writting a freakin' book!!!), criticizing London's police policies/operations, and so on... 

But, it was through a "waad al'baghdadi" that they were able to nail him, for good.   

P.S.  In the situation he is now, from my experience, his best hamkharj is the wall; he should 'play it' very smart while he's oon too. They're not completely done with him. I wish him good luck!

(min 2:45) 


I see we also suffer form short term memory...

by Rendd on

Before the fraudulent election in Iran, Ahmadi Nejad was the symbol of anti-bullying. He is still one to some. When the Iranians were under the siege from 6 different directions, to become subdued was the last thing we needed to do.

The answer to arrogance is arrogance. We are damn smart people, we know how to fight, and we are rich! So hell yes, I am a damn arrogant if my opposing side wants to be one!


the guy is a cup, what do you expect? All are crooks!

by obama on

how can you defend them? if he were in iran he would be killing the protestors.


4 years in UK's prison known as Ahmadi's buddy! Oh wow!

by Anonymouse on

Everything is sacred.


Not surprising at all

by Onlyiran on

that he was an Ahmadinejad fan.  He appears to have liked police fascism, corruption, hypocrisy...etc.

Jahanshah Javid

Ahmadinejad fan

by Jahanshah Javid on

Thank you Peyvand. I hope the Met Black Police Association does the right thing, instead of a hollow show of solidarity with its president, and condemns Dizaei for his illegal actions and unbelievable lack of judgment as a senior police officer.

The more one reads about this man, the uglier it gets. On top of his sleazy personal lifestyle, it has now been reported that he traveled to Iran to attend a conference in support of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and was warmly greeted as a "general".

What on earth was he thinking? How delusional could one be to think he could get away with this kind of political posturing in favor of a brutal regime as a top UK law enforcement officer? And to have contacts with the Iranian embassy? This man has shown all the signs of being self-destructive.


Kill Mouse Traps

It's so unfortunate that Dizaei was convicted of only 2 crimes!

by Kill Mouse Traps on

Dizaei’s biggest crimes that he is now convicted of are “perverting the course of justice” and “misconduct in the public office”.

His other unsubstantialted “crimes” include: “using drugs”, “prostitution”, “visiting expensive nightclubs” (I wonder where he got all that money), “taking bribes”, “misuse of corporate credit card”, “making false mileage expense claims”, “spying for Islamic Republic of Iran” (well, I guess he went to IRI's embassy to renew his Iranian passport), “engaging in open marriage” (well, that's his private life I guess), “improperly providing advice”, “assault”, and “employment of an illegal immigrant” (What!  He is a policeman and didn't know his right-hand man was illigal!).


I'm sorry, but this piece is poorly written

by Onlyiran on

It's all over the place.   It's title is about Dizaei's visit to the IRI embassy, but then it goes (vaguely) into the Black Police Association history and what its stands for.  The only mention of his visit to the embassy is one sentence at the end of the article.  What was he doing at the embassy?  When did he go there in relation to when his troubles started?  Why did he need a permission?  Is he a dual citizen?...etc.



What this guy has to do with IRANAIN??

by sam jade on

Because his name is sort of Iranian name (not persian). Now we have to categorize him as Irani,

any one can have Farsi name  Iranian name, anywhere in the world , But only becaus you have a name it does not mean much..

He is  a corrupted individual , has nothing to do with Iranains, he is a citizen of England, screw him, his news and concern about him should be with British people...