For the people of Iran, Sir Arnold McNair who was later Lord McNair, remains a hero for standing firm against his own government regarding the nationalisation of Iran’s oil industry.
Mohamed Mossadegh’s Private Secretary, Ali Reza Saheb was a brilliant young man who went on to found Iran’s banking and insurance industries, later becoming the country’s Ambassador to Egypt. Lord Duncan McNair met Ali Reza Saheb in London in 1997, introduced by a mutual friend. Ali Reza was closely involved in the diplomatic crisis and told Duncan that Sir Arnold had been a national hero for the stand he took and for encouraging his colleagues at the International Court of Justice to reject the British case. He said that if Sir Arnold had been invited to Teheran to arrange a compromise and had been successful, the whole history of Iran and perhaps the Middle East since that time could have been different.
Years later in 2014, the same person introduced Duncan to Kitty Kaveh whose organisation, Trebon-y-zad, held discussion evenings for Persian speakers in London. She invited Duncan to join a discussion on the 1952 diplomatic crisis, and also to say something about democracy ‘because the Iranian opposition is very fragmented.’ He brought a manual and booklets from the human rights education course from Youth for Human Rights international and spoke about oil and human rights.
Kitty Kaveh asked Duncan if he would come back and do a whole evening on human rights. He suggested starting instructor training in human rights education in Persian so that it could expand. The first series in Persian was led by Mahmoud Haidari who had interpreted Duncan’s talk to the group.
From that first series of fifteen workshops, six of those who attended delivered their own series – four in Persian, one in Kurdish Sorani (delivered two series of workshops) and one Arabic speaker. In all we delivered about 165 workshops. Kitty Kaveh was introduced to one of the directors of Youth for Human Rights International who arranged for the course to be translated into Persian, plus Arabic, Turkish, Kurdish Sorani and Urdu. The course is available in those languages on this website.
The Kurdish materials have been used to train police, security officials and teachers in Kurdistan and community police officers in Baghdad were trained using the Arabic materials.