Iran "appeasement"
the last time

This is not the first time Iran has
been threatened with the use of
force because it wanted to be in
control of its own energy resources affairs/2008/07/iran-appeasement--the-last-time. html

Cyrus Safdari

Iran Affairs
July 19, 2008

So, you probably thought this was the first time that a "fanatical" Iranian leader had caused a showdown with a super-power over the use and control of
Iran's own energy resources, that a foreign power was encouraged to keep open the option of military force for when it was "absolutely necessary", and when comparisons of 1930's "appeasement" were drawn, huh?


Well, you'd be wrong!




The New York Times
September 28, 1951


The oil game as it is being played in Iran by Premier Mossadegh and his fanatical followers has a sort of per­verse cleverness about it. If the stakes were not so high and the end of the game an almost certain loss for Iran, for the Iranian people and for the Western democracies, one might pause to admire the skill with which Premier Mossadegh does his dance of death on the edge of an abyss. Since the facts are tragic, there will be no disposition here or anywhere, except behind the Iron Curtain, to applaud.


The way the Iranians have been squeezing the British technicians out of the oil fields and now out of Abadan is extremely skillful. The British set themselves to protect their nationals and the Abadan refinery against violence, but the Iranians were much too subtle to use violence. They have gradually been turning the screw by employing technically legal methods—denying the use of commissary stores, shutting the British out of oil company houses, withdrawing residence permits. Now they have "dismissed" the British technicians at Abadan and politely asked them to leave Iran by Oct. 4.


This, of course, is the measure that will call for a showdown—unless it can be canceled or postponed. The Iranians have put the British into a position where they must either yield and give up their vast investment or react with military force against technically legal measures, even though those measures were taken in defense of the mon­strous illegality of confiscating the oil industry.


The situation is so delicate and ex­plosive at the moment that all one can do on the outside is hold one's breath and hope for the best. However, there are certain factors which should be made clear. One is that the Iranian government is thoroughly and inex­cusably wrong. Another is that the British must avoid military force until and unless it becomes absolutely necessary. A third is that the United States, which so condemned British "appeasement" in the Nineteen Thirties, should hesitate against forcing the British into appeasement now if it is not also absolutely necessary. Finally, if Attlee or Churchill, Truman or Har­riman can pick anything out of their hats this coming week to give Premier Mossadegh an excuse to postpone the expulsion order, they must use it. We are close to tragedy.