Born in 1942 in Shetland, Scotland
Since leaving his post as Chancellor of the Exchequer in the government of John Major
in the mid-1990s, Norman Lamont
, now Lord Lamont of Lerwick, has made a name for himself as an adviser and lawyer to the richest business people in the Iranian diaspora in the United Kingdom. They make use of his diplomatic talents and his address book as a former minister to assist them when they run foul of the authorities in the West. He currently assists a whole range of business people in London and knows some people from the Iranian diaspora in the United States but is most active in the service of Balli Group
chairman, Vahid Alaghband
. It was with Alaghband, once Iran’s leading steel and general goods trader and still very much present in the country, that Lamont began his British-Iranian activities.
His positions as preferred adviser to business people active both in the United Kingdom and Iran has enabled Lamont to develop contacts at the highest level in Tehran. These include: Mohammed Seyed Hossein Adeli
, chairman of the Gas Exporting Countries Forum
(GECF), Mohammad Nahavandian
, head of the private office of President Hassan Rohani
, and the influential chairman of the Iranian-British Chamber of Commerce
(IBCCIM), Ali Naghi Seyed Khamoushi
. Above all, however, Lamont has become the Islamic Republic’s main advocate among Western governments, seizing every opportunity possible alongside Tony Blair
’s former foreign minister, Jack Straw
, to support the lifting of economic sanctions.
As a high visibility personality already linked with an Iranian businessman, he was the obvious choice to take over the vacant chairmanship of the British-Iranian Chamber of Commerce
(BICC) in 2004 and thus become a key advocate of the return of British companies to Iran. So as to be able to obtain contracts as soon as sanctions were lifted in mid-January, Lamont and his associates prepared the ground, encouraging the BICC to send companies to Iran and supporting the rise to prominence of young lawyer and Iran specialist Nigel Kushner
, who is close to Lamont. Proof of his legitimacy on business in Iran, Prime minister David Cameron
appointed Norman Lamont as UK's trade envoy to the Islamic Republic in January 2016.