“Iran Is Friendly With the West”

Iranian Youth Defends Oil Nationalization (1951)

Arash Norouzi

The Mossadegh Project | February 9, 2023                     

As the Abadan crisis was reaching fever pitch, an Iranian student at the U.S. Army Finance School at Fort Benjamin Harrison near Indianapolis wrote this letter to the editor defending the oil nationalization crusade in Iran.

From the tone of his letter, he may have been a green card holder studying from abroad or a recent immigrant, although it is also possible he was an Iranian-American living in Indiana.

The Muncie Star itself took a more moderate approach to the Iran oil crisis than most U.S. newspapers, and was particularly reticent about “tying ourselves to British policy”.

“The responsibility for this Iranian oil crisis”, they wrote in June, “lies chiefly on the shoulders of the British.”

The Muncie Star (Muncie, Indiana)

The Muncie Star (Indiana) — July 10, 1951

Iran’s Oil

Iranian Student [at U.S. Army] Finance School
Fort Benjamin Harrison

As there are some published articles and news about the nationalization of the Iranian oil resources I request to have the following printed for the information of the just and liberal American people.

A. For more than 50 years the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (AIOC) has been exploiting the oil resources of Iran.

According to existing documents the financial accounts of the AIOC do not correspond with the true facts. In other words they show smaller exports of oil than actually was the case. This cheated the Iranian government of a great part of its legitimate revenue.

B. The AIOC, during its regime, influenced the various organizations of the country through all means and was the cause of riots and strikes throughout the country because of maltreatment and injustice toward the employes.

C. The AIOC paid laborers 35 to 40 rials per day (70 to 80 United States cents) which is not sufficient to live on since the cost of living is nearly the same in Iran as in America. The AIOC recently built quarters for part of the laborers and decided to deduct 30% of their wages. That action led to a strike about two months ago.

D. The ex-AIOC always strove to limit the economic improvement of our country by any means available, just or unjust. As a matter of fact it hoped to keep the Iranians in continual poverty, and in the position of a beggar looking for a handout.

Our nation’s war effort caused her to suffer economically as an aftermath of World War II. There were famines here and there and wholesale unemployment. All our hope was based on foreign aid to restore our devastations. We were like other countries that had supported the war. But unlike other countries there was no aid given to Iran because of the political pressure against it exercised by ex-AIOC agents always working against the interests of Iran.

Because of the above the Iranian people could not find any other way to restore the crippled economy but through recourse to nationalization of the oil industry.

The Iranian government does not intend to tramp on the ex-AIOC’s rights and despite the recent news published, we do not want to confiscate the company’s assets and according to a special article of the nationalization law, the Iranian government will justify the claims of the company and will indemnify its rightful demands and losses. The nationalization would not cause an oil shortage as claimed by the ex-AIOC. England and other western countries should not fear for non-delivery of oil: Iran is friendly with the West. The government will not dismiss British experts but will need them in their former jobs if they want to remain.

As you see the ex-AIOC has been deprived of its unscrupulous profits. These profits will now revert to the true owners of this natural source of wealth the Iranian people.

Is this nationalization an illegitimate act? Does it require an international court to determine who is right in this case?

The great and just nation of America knows that nationalization is a sovereign right of any nation and this is confirmed by United Nations Charter. Even the British have long ago begun to nationalize their own natural resources. Therefore, this is an entire and legitimate right of any nation and the Iranian nation does not worry over the recent false propaganda and will not deviate from its present course.

Divvying Up the Loot: The Iran Oil Consortium Agreement of 1954
Divvying Up the Loot: The Iran Oil Consortium Agreement of 1954

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Related links:

British Blind To New Era In Mid-East | (June 1951 Letter)

At Last, Common Sense | The Muncie Star, November 25, 1951

Henry Grady on Iran, Colonialism | Letter to The Washington Post, March 20, 1953

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

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