Population of Tehran was growing fast during the 60’s and 70’s. People moved from other cities or rural areas to the capital, for job opportunity, access to better education, or more goods and services. This led to a heavy traffic. A couple of cheap Iranian car assembly factories, and many foreign brand imported cars from US, Europe and Japan contributed to the heavy traffic.
Therefore, the government decided to construct Metro in Tehran. Every few months they would invite an expert company from Germany, France, England, US, or Japan to come to Iran, survey and submit their plan and cost estimate. Then the plan was published in the newspaper for public information.
I used to follow these plans, compare them, and hoped to have our Metro soon, because I hated heavy traffic. In my opinion, the proposal by Japan was the best. As far as I remember, they proposed that they would finish it in two years, partly underground and partly over the ground. They would not charge any money, but they would run it for ten years, and collect the fare for the ticket. I thought it was a good deal for Iran, because if something would go wrong, they would fix it! Finally, it was announced that French company has won the contract. Pahlavis had always affection for France. That is why for the celebration of 2500 years of Iran history, everything was delivered by France, even the food! The French company started to dig two big holes, one in Sepah Square (Toopkhaneh), and the other in Tajrish Square. These two locations had dense traffic, and for two years, especially during the rain and snow season, the construction made headache for people. In two years, the plan progressed as far as two big holes!
When Ayatollah Khomeini moved to Neuf Le Chateau in France, and anti government demonstrations started, the company and its staff left. I heard that later they received the full remaining of their contract money, from IR assets frozen in the foreign banks. It took several years after the revolution, when Iran finally built its Metro with the cooperation of a couple of countries. I am sure it cost much more than Japan had proposed!
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