22 September 2015

I am not General Beg

London Review of Books Blog

In June, I received an invitation to the Second International Congress of 17,000 Iranian Terror Victims, to be held in Tehran at the beginning of September. The email was addressed to General Mirza Aslam Beg, the former head of the Pakistani army. I wrote back to say that, although in no way affiliated with the armed forces of Pakistan, I’d like to come. Four days later I got my own invitation and a promise to arrange my visa.
Two days before I was due to fly to Tehran from Barcelona, I was told to go to the Iranian embassy in Madrid. At first the embassy staff told me a visa couldn’t be issued till the following week. Then they said I could have one immediately for a fee of €80, before finally giving it to me for nothing.
On the flight I met someone else going to the conference, a former right-wing Spanish politician turned military adviser to Hugo Chávez turned university professor. He told me he didn’t know much about terrorism against Iran, but had advised the Iranian ambassador to Spain that the Islamic Republic should get a nuclear weapon. His counsel had been rejected on spiritual grounds, he said. READ MORE AT LONDON REVIEW OF BOOKS BLOG.