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Tony Blair ‘misread’ Iran’s stance on post-war Iraq

Posted by alanmirs on September 1, 2010

Tony Blair ‘misread’ Iran’s stance on post-war Iraq

Statue of Saddam Hussein being toppled in Baghdad after the invasion Iran did not explicitly support the post-war insurgency, Sir Richard said

Tony Blair "misread" Iran’s view on efforts to build a democracy in Iraq after the 2003 invasion, a former UK ambassador to Tehran has said.

Tehran did not wish to "destabilise" efforts to establish a government after Saddam Hussein’s overthrow, Sir Richard Dalton told the Iraq inquiry.

Mr Blair said Tehran was worried about a "democracy on its doorstep" and ended up aiding al-Qaeda-backed insurgents.

Sir Richard said this was "exaggerated" and Iran did not want anarchy in Iraq.

The Chilcot inquiry is continuing to examine the UK’s involvement in the 2003 military action in Iraq and its aftermath.

Al-Qaeda link

Giving evidence in January, the former prime minister said "nobody foresaw" the extent to which the Iranian government would end up supporting al-Qaeda and that this would exacerbate levels of violence in Iraq from 2004 onwards

He suggested that Tehran and al-Qaeda had a "common interest" in disrupting US and UK-led efforts to bring stability to the country.

But Sir Richard, the UK’s most senior diplomatic official in Tehran between 2003 and 2006, said this was an misinterpretation of Iran’s actions


Peter Biles BBC world affairs correspondent

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