A PENSIONER has launched a search for two lorry drivers who helped smuggle him out of Iran almost 40 years ago.

Alan Johnson, 66, became trapped in the Middle Eastern country's capital Tehran in 1975 when a job offer failed to materialise.

He is now desperate to track down the two men from Edinburgh who rescued him in scenes reminiscent of the Oscar-winning film Argo.. The retired textile engineer, from Torryburn, Fife, had been hired by an Iranian firm to help set up a jeans factory at a time when Islamic extremists were tightening their grip on the country.

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He had his passport confiscated on arrival and was holed up in a hotel while work on the project was constantly delayed.

He began fearing for his safety and broke into the firm's offices to retrieve his passport. However, he had no exit visa to leave the country and was down to his last £5 when he bumped into the two men.

They worked for transport firm Davies Turner and were in Tehran to take a broken down lorry back to the UK.

Mr Johnson hid under the seats in the lorry's cab as they crossed the border and travelled across Europe. He was with them for 10 days before being reunited with his family in Scotland. He has spent years trying to track down the pair without success and is now making a public appeal for information about them.

He said: "I never properly thanked those guys for what they did for me. It has bothered me all these years.

"I have tried various methods to try and find them including contacting the company but I have always drawn a blank. I was in a very dangerous situation.

"These two guys put themselves at great personal risk to help me. I just want to take them on a night out and buy them a meal and a few drinks to say thanks."

Mr Johnson had originally travelled to Tehran aged 28 with his wife Rose and their young son Keith.

However, he got his family out of the country on a plane to Rome. He stayed on for three months before undertaking his escape mission.

In Argo, which is based on true events, CIA agent Tony Mendez, played by Ben Affleck, helps rescue six US diplomats from Tehran during the 1979 hostage crisis by posing as a film crew.