An Aroused Mood
May 5, 1951 — Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners’ Advocate

The Mossadegh Project | June 10, 2020                                                          


Lead editorial on Iran in The Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners’ Advocate newspaper of Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia. Newcastle is the site of the world’s largest port for the export of coal.



The Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners' Advocate (Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia)

Bleak Outlook In Persia

The withholding of payment of £2 million due as advance royalty to the Persian Government by the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company shows that the British Government, which controls 52.55 per cent. of the company’s voting stock, is not prepared to accept appropriation of the company’s assets in the guise of nationalisation. There is thought of nationalisation in other parts of the Middle East. The Premier of Iraq [Nuri al-Said] made the threat to the Iraq Petroleum Company last month, and there has even been talk of nationalising the Suez Canal, owned by a company in which the British Government holds 44 per cent. of the shares. Great Britain and the other countries of Western Europe can not afford to lose the oil of the Middle East. The companies involved are showing increasing generosity in the payment of royalties, but in Persia Parliament has been aroused to a mood of nationalism which denies reasonable discussion on the future on what it already describes as the “late Anglo-Iranian Oil Company.” [They actually called it the “former company.”]

Events in the past week have made compromise more difficult. Hussain Ala, [Hossein Ala] who became Prime Minister after the assassination of General Ali Razmara, resigned on the eve of the special session of Parliament that approved nationalisation. The new Prime Minister, Dr. Mohammed Mussadiq is the leader of the national group that has forced the whole issue. The British Government will find it difficult to deal with him. He has the unanimous backing of his Parliament and is inspired with a fanatical desire to expel foreign interests from the country. That can be understood, but the British Government cannot meekly submit to the appropriation of a company in which £200 million has been invested and which produces 6 per cent. of the world’s oil.

Apart from the fate of the company, the all-important issues are the maintenance of oil supplies to Western Europe and the exclusion of Russian influence from Persia. Assurances have been given by the Persian Government that it desires to maintain the bonds of friendship and cooperation with Britain, and that it has no intention of giving the oil to any other country nor to deprive Britain of its use. These assurances were welcome, but they were not backed by any indication of willingness to compromise. In the Persian view, the company was swept away by vote of Parliament, which also authorised the Government to take charge of all oil installations.

So dangerous an issue, in a country adjoining Russian Central Asia and the Caucasus, must threaten world peace. Article Six of a treaty between Russia and Persia, signed in 1921, provides that if a third party should use Persia as a base of operations against Russia, “The U.S.S.R. shall have the right to advance its troops into the Persian interior.” Great Britain has to be careful lest it give Russia a pretext to justify intervention in Persia under that clause.


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Related links:

Dangers In Persia | The Queensland Times, May 17, 1951

Mossadeq’s Dream | The Goulburn Evening Post, May 23, 1951

Russia And Oil | April 26, 1951 editorial



MOSSADEGH t-shirts — “If I sit silently, I have sinned”

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