From 1984-1987, the Persian Gulf was embroiled in what became known as the Tanker War, a phase of the Iran-Iraq War sparked when Iraq initiated a series of attacks on Iranian commercial ships. Several years prior in 1980, Iraq bombed Iran’s main oil refinery in Abadan, the same site once controlled by the Anglo-Iranian Oil company (later BP, or British Petroleum).
In 1984, the BBC documentary series Timewatch devoted its program to what it termed "The First Oil Crisis" — the former Anglo-Iranian oil dispute over Abadan, and subsequent coup of 1953 which toppled Premier Mohammad Mossadegh. Its interview subjects include Sir Peter Ramsbotham (British Envoy to Iran, 1951), Sir Anthony Parsons (Ambassador to Iran, 1974-1979), Professor Homa Katouzian (author, translator of Mossadegh’s memoirs), and Dr. Kenneth Morgan (author, Labour in Power 1945-51).
British documents shown reveal the government’s specific plans drawn up to attack and invade Iran militarily — called Operation Midget, Operation "Plan Y" and Operation Buccaneer respectively. If implemented, such an operation would have utilized a militia about 70,000 strong, beginning with a naval attack on southern Iran.
Presented here is video of the first 18 minutes of the hour long program.
Some corrections to the program:
BBC: “The Shah, losing control, turned to Mossadegh and appointed him Prime Minister.”
Mossadegh was elected overwhelmingly by Parliament on April 28, 1951. The Shah only confirmed this election with a ceremonious “appointment”.
BBC: “Two days after being made Prime Minister, on the second of May 1951, Mossadegh nationalized the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company.”
Nationalization reached its final legislative phase on May 1, 1951 (three days after Mossadegh was elected Premier), as the Senate passed the bill that gave practical application to the nationalization law. The Majles (Parliament) had voted to nationalize the oil industry on March 20, 1951.
Indecent Proposals: Oil, Iran and the Anglo-American Art of Non-Negotiation
British Lawmakers Review Historical Reasons For Iran’s Suspicion of Britain
Jack Straw on Iran’s "Perfectly Democratic" Prime Minister Mossadegh
MOSSADEGH t-shirts — “If I sit silently, I have sinned”