SAS Iranian Embassy Siege
The Iranian Embassy in London in 1980 (Picture: PA).
Special forces

SAS Commander Ignored MOD Orders In Iranian Embassy Siege

General Sir Michael Rose has shared his memories of commanding the SAS during the 1980 Iranian Embassy siege.

SAS Iranian Embassy Siege
The Iranian Embassy in London in 1980 (Picture: PA).

General Sir Michael Rose has shared his memories from the 1980 Iranian Embassy Siege, saying he directly ignored MOD orders. 

On 30 April 1980, six gunmen took over the Iranian embassy in Kensington. 

The General said he only found out about the siege via a contact who had left the Army to join the Met Police and was deployed as a dog handler at the cordoned-off area surrounding the embassy.

The policeman had called General Rose and said: "You'd better get down here, boss, the police aren't going to be able to deal with this – get yourself down here."

Rose then immediately rang the MOD and said he'd head down the motorway at speed, only to be ordered not to do so.

He says: "Of course, I completely ignored that."

General Roses' squadron was then immediately deployed, a helicopter was scrambled and he completed the fastest journey across London he has ever experienced, "jumping every red light there was".

The siege eventually ended when the SAS stormed the building.

General Sir Michael Rose
General Sir Michael Rose was in control of the operation to free the hostages of the Iranian Embassy Siege in 1980 (Pictures: ABF The Soldiers’ Charity).

In the podcast, hosted by Coldstream Guard Veteran Harry Bucknall, General Sir Michael Rose also speaks about the situation in Afghanistan, saying: "We lost the war in 2003.

"When we went into Afghanistan in 2001 we were working for and alongside the Afghanistan people to get the Taliban out of their country. We weren’t the occupiers, we were the facilitators of the Afghan people.

"We broke our promises and betrayed them by legging it off to Iraq [following Tony Blair's orders, to search for weapons of mass destruction].

"This caused the beginning of the end."

But he adds that those who served in the region must look back with "enormous pride".

"They did what was asked of them at a tactical level. In the long run, what we have put into Afghanistan will pay rewards at some point in the future."