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Files show 'Iron Lady' was at odds with US on Iran

Now we know why there were no Margaret Thatcher tea cups in 1979. The Iron Lady wouldn't have it.

world Updated: Jan 30, 2010 20:54 IST

Now we know why there were no Margaret Thatcher tea cups in 1979. The Iron Lady wouldn't have it.

When her media adviser, Gordon Reece, said he had been inundated with requests to lend her image to such souvenirs, she swiftly knocked it down: "No (underlined) permission to be given at all on any grounds of any kind."

Newly released files from the first year of Thatcher's 11-year run as British Prime Minister show her to be as decisive on the big issues as she was on the trivial ones that tied lesser figures into indecisive knots.

Thatcher, for all her reputation as a hard-liner, rebuffed appeals from US President Jimmy Carter for a more demonstrative response to the Iranian hostage crisis in 1979, saying it would do more harm than good, according to papers in her personal files released today.

The files cover the first eight months of Thatcher's 11 1/2 years as Prime Minister, giving glimpses of her embarking on an ambitious domestic agenda to revive the economy and curb the unions, and engaging with the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and the seizure of the US Embassy in Tehran on November 4.

They were made public by the Thatcher Foundation under rules that allow for keeping documents secret for 30 years.