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Friday, 8 February, 2002, 11:00 GMT
A high-flying veteran diplomat
Tehran skyline,showing  Azadi Tower
Mr Reddaway has worked in Tehran twice before
On the face of it, veteran diplomat David Reddaway is an ideal candidate to be the British ambassador to Iran.

The 48-year-old has been in the diplomatic service since 1975, and is widely admired as a high-flyer.

Mr Reddaway has extensive knowledge of Iran, where he has served as a diplomat twice before.

He studied Persian, speaks fluent Farsi - Iran's main language - and has a wife, Roshan, of Iranian origin.

Bobby Sands spat

He was first posted to Tehran from 1977-80, during the turbulent period before, during and after the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

He served initially as an official in the embassy's commercial department and then as a political first secretary.

During this time the embassy was the target of at least five bomb attacks, and diplomatic ties were effectively cut in 1980.

In one well-reported incident in 1981, Mr Reddaway suggested diplomatic relations might be improved if Iran changed the name of Tehran's Bobby Sands Street - outside the embassy building and named after the IRA hunger-striker who died.

He reportedly did this by asking an Iranian official how he would like the street flanking the London mission renamed after the deposed Shah.

Return to Tehran

Mr Reddaway served in Madrid from 1980 to 1984, and in the UK from 1985 to 1988.

In 1988 Sir Geoffrey Howe, then foreign secretary, sent Mr Reddaway to visit Roger Cooper, the British businessman imprisoned in Iran on spying charges.

Mr Cooper's brother David later praised Mr Reddaway for securing the businessman's eventual release after five-and-a-half years.

During that trip, Mr Reddaway was also charged with assessing whether Iran was serious about restoring diplomatic relations.

He spent the following two years in New Delhi, before returning to Iran in 1990 to reopen the British embassy as charge d'affaires.

He stayed in Tehran until 1993 when he was moved to Argentina.

In 1997 he was made head of the Foreign Office's Southern European Department.

In 1999 he became director of public services at the Foreign Office.

His interests are listed in Who's Who as skiing, tennis, Persian carpets and art.

See also:

08 Feb 02 | Middle East
Iran blocks new UK ambassador
08 Feb 02 | Middle East
Rejection threatens UK-Iran detente
29 Sep 01 | From Our Own Correspondent
Iran's love-hate ties with the UK
25 Sep 01 | Middle East
UK fosters Iran relations
27 Dec 01 | Country profiles
Country profile: Iran
27 Dec 01 | Middle East
Timeline: Iran
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