reply to post by ker2010
Here's a little more informative history I wanted to
to you're informational thread:
If you were to look at pictures from before the 1979 Islamic revolution, you'd be hard pressed to tell them apart from life in California of all
places. Blue jeans, tee shirts, pop culture, etc... you name it. Even today, were you to take a good look at Iranian culture, you'll quickly see that
the face of Iran as a hardline Islamic republic is mostly a facade which portrays a culture far more extreme than the one adopted by most of its
citizens. The reasons for this are many, but you'd be hard pressed to tell the difference between an Iranian and American, both wear the same clothes,
drive the same cars, eat most of the same food, study the same subjects, follow similar pop culture (at least before the revolution anyway), etc... So
why aren't both best buddies?
It's because we're #ing dumb-asses that's why. In the early 1900s, Britain made foreign investments in Iranian oil fields under a company named APOC
(Anglo Persian Oil company) and for over 50 years, their refinery in Iran was the largest in the world. The agreement between APOC and the Iranian
government afforded Iran only ~15% of the net profits from the refinery. This was seen as exceedingly unfair by many Iranians and popular opinion felt
that Iran should have a greater stake in the exploitation of their own resources.
The great depression caused royalties paid to Iran to fall to next to nothing, despite APOCs continued production. In 1933 a new agreement was met
which was somewhat more favorable to the Iranians but many still felt that it was a wasted opportunity. The important thing to note here is that this
agreement had a duration of 60 years.
By 1950, APOC had the largest refinery in the world and controlled all oil production in Iran. At this point, the 1933 agreement was still in effect
which guaranteed Iran only a small share of the operation and provided APOC many loopholes and Iran no legal recourse.
In 1951 the Iranian parliament voted to nationalize APOC and elected a pro-nationalization prime minister Mohammed Mossadegh. Britain didn't take
kindly to the nationalization of its foreign assets (can't really blame them, you would too) and put pressure on other countries to avoid buying
Iranian oil. The US attempted to intervene diplomatically by proposing an arrangement similar to the one that the USA had with Saudi Arabia and stop
the crisis but their attempts were rejected by both Britain and Iran.
A couple years later, in 1953, the cold war was brewing and both the USA and Britain felt that if Iran's nationalist government fell to communism that
the oil reserves and existing foreign investments would be lost completely (as opposed to their existing nationalized state in which negotiations were
Here's where things gets messy for the lack of proper word. Rather than put diplomatic pressure on the PM, the CIA and British Intelligence bribed
dissidents within Iran to stage a military coup and ouster the democratically elected PM. The pro-western leader of the coup, an army general, was
installed as the new PM and simultaneously the monarch Mohammad Rezā Shāh Pahlavi transitioned into an authoritarian leader, abandoning the state's
From 1953-1979 the Shah used US support to hold on to power despite his authoritarian rule being widely unpopular in an otherwise secular and
democratic state (sound familiar?). Besides simple military support, the CIA was also responsible for training the Shah's personal secret police
force, something straight out of Hitler's playbook.
There were several consequences of the coup:
1. The Oil started flowing from Iran again
2. Iran was established as a western aligned outpost in Central Asia
3. The Shah's authoritarian rule provided a convenient nuclei for opposition movements such as Islamism to foster
Opposition movements (both secular and religious) started to show their strength in the late 1970s and came to a head in 1979 when the Shah was ousted
completely and replaced with an Islamic government.
Hope that helped
PS: APOC is now called BP (British Petroleum)
edit on 18-12-2011 by Ek Bharatiya because: (no reason given)