Decent Window Dressing
Entezam’s Contrived “Interview” With Reporter

Arash Norouzi
The Mossadegh Project | August 8, 2019                              

On behalf of Iranian Foreign Minister Abdollah Entezam, British Ambassador Roger Stevens arranged a contrived interview with The Times’ journalist Shapoor Reporter in March 1954 to discuss the oil consortium.

A dual British and American agent of Iranian/Indian descent, Reporter had performed a significant role in the overthrow of Premier Mossadegh in 1953.

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O.M.E. (54.)20.


March 30, 1954.



Note by Joint Secretaries

We circulate for the information of the Committee the text of a letter from Her Majesty’s Ambassador in Teheran, giving the views of the Persian Foreign Minister on the forthcoming oil negotiations.

(Signed) T.R.D. BELGRAVE

Cabinet Office, S.W.1.

March 30, 1954.


British Embassy,

       TEHRAN March 27, 1954.



Dear [left blank]

You may be interested to know that ENTEZAM indicated to me some 10 days ago that he would like to meet Shapur REPORTER, the local correspondent of The Times, a British subject of Indian descent who in my opinion is doing a very good job here. [Shapoor Reporter] At their first meeting he asked REPORTER to put a number of questions to him; I had a hand in the framing of the questions which were designed to elicit a certain amount of information without embarrassing ENTEZAM. Most of the answers were fairly non-committal and, in agreement with ENTEZAM, the message to the Times based upon them will be timed to coincide with the period when the London negotiations end and the delegation is about to leave for Teheran. You will not, therefore, see them in print at once and the following account of the more informative answers may be of some interest.

2. In response to a question about the make-up of the Persian delegation, ENTEZAM said that the chairman would be the Minister of Finance, Dr. AMINI; [Ali Amini] the other members would be Dr. FALLAH, the manager of the Abadan refinery, [Reza Fallah] probably Dr. SHADMAN, [Seyed Fakhreddin Shadman] Fuad ROHANY, a lawyer previously employed by the A.I.O.C. who would act as interpreter, [Fuad Rouhani] and one of the NAFISI brother’s [sic] who could be secretary. [Fathollah Nafisi] There was no mention of NAMAZI, BAYAT, or PIRNIA. [Mohammad Namazi, Morteza Gholi Bayat (aka Saham Al Soltan), and Dr. Hossein Pirnia] I think myself that this looks rather like a good team.

3. In response to a question about the most difficult issues in the negotiations, ENTEZAM said that these would be compensation and management. On the first he said, on the record, that the Iranian Government agreed in principle to pay fair compensation to the ex A.I.O.C. [Anglo-Iranian Oil Company] This compensation must not, however, be of a nature to neutralise wholly or partly the aims of nationalization as set down in the nationalization law. ENTEZAM added, off the record, that this was intended to indicate in a delicate way that the Persian Government were not prepared to pay compensation on future profits.

4. As regards management, ENTEZAM said that the problem could be settled by reconciling the technical requirements of the consortium with the right of over all supervision and control by the N.I.O.C. [National Iranian Oil Company] He added, off the record, that all the Persian Government wanted really was “decent window dressing”.

Yours ever,


L.A.C. Fry, Esq., O.B.E.,
       Foreign Office,
             London, S.W.1.

[Annotations by Arash Norouzi]

Divvying Up the Loot: The Iran Oil Consortium Agreement of 1954
Divvying Up the Loot: The Iran Oil Consortium Agreement of 1954


Related links:

British Had “Colonial Aims in Iran” (Abdollah Entezam, Nov. 1953)

U.S. Says Oil Deal Is A “Significant Victory” For Iran (October 1954)

Relations Between the Shah and Her Majesty’s Embassy at Tehran (Jan. 1954)

MOSSADEGH t-shirts — “If I sit silently, I have sinned”

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