Katherine Haddon, Yahoo News, December 30, 2008
Britain and the United States clung to the belief that the shah of Iran would remain in power until shortly before the Islamic revolution, newly declassified documents from 1978 revealed Tuesday.
Officials thought Mohammad Reza Pahlavi would continue to rule in some form up to the final weeks of 1978, in spite of violence, protests and the increasing influence of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.
The shah left Iran in January 1979 and later Khomeini became supreme leader of the Islamic republic, the creation of which was one of the key events in 20th century Middle Eastern history.
"It is not so much that the regime is in danger; more that their car has bogged down in soft ground and it is difficult to see how they are going to pick up speed again," wrote Britain's then ambassador to Tehran Sir Anthony Parsons in May 1978.
A US official said in September that year th…