Irish News

Thursday 10 July 2014

Government feared most Iranians thought IRA was our military wing

Ralph Riegel

Published 28/12/2013|02:30

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THE government was concerned that most Iranians believed the IRA was a military wing of the Irish State. Archives reveal the Fine Gael-Labour coalition was eager to develop economic ties with post-revolutionary Iran.

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One briefing memo to the Department of Foreign Affairs warned that many Iranians had serious misconceptions about Ireland. "While Ireland is particularly acceptable to the Iranians at present, the coverage given to events in Northern Ireland has led most people in Iran to believe that the IRA is an appendage of the Irish State. Despite the long-term complications which may arise from the undoubtedly sincere sympathy expressed regularly for Ireland, this may not perhaps be the most propitious time to impress the full realities of the situation on the Iranian authorities."

Various departments were keen for the Iranians to open an embassy. On October 27, 1983, the Department of Foreign Affairs ruled the Iranians should be allowed to open a Dublin embassy. "From a political point of view the best course is to put no obstacle in the way of Iran opening an embassy here. (But) having listed out concerns, to be frank with the Iranians about them and about our unwillingness to tolerate undiplomatic activity (we should also) undertake urgently a review of policy on Middle Eastern representation in Dublin in anticipation of Iraqi and Israeli pressure".

Irish Independent

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