By: Mir M.Hosseini
The entire French Cabinet lined up at the Paris Orly Airport to welcome Mohammad Reza Shah and his Queen Farah Pahlavi.
President Valery Giscard d'Estaing skipped the NATO summit in Brussels to welcome the Iranian leader, who was welcomed at the Versailles Palace with fireworks and dances. By the weekend, Iran agreed to purchase $5 billion in industrial equipment and technology from France in the next decade including five complete nuclear power plants. The French also agreed to construct a subway in Tehran, a liquefied natural gas plant, and a steel plant. Construction of twelve large tankers, help with a pipeline and supply of sophisticated military equipment were parts of the deal. In return, the Shah agreed to deposit $1 billion in the French central bank as an advance payment and increase Iran's shipments of oil to France.
Paris turned euphoric after the agreement was announced. The French currency rallied in international trading and stocks rose on the Paris Bourse. While the French seemed to be happy, US wanted to have a say in arranging deals with the oil producers while the sale of nuclear technology created fear among Persian Gulf countries.
In long term, especially after the Revolution of 1979, France fulfilled none of her obligations but because of some behind-the-door agreements made during Khomeini's stay in Neauphle le Chateau, the French still have the lion share in some of Iran's key industries.