Dr. Ervand Abrahamian
Well, the main problem after the coup was to resolve the oil crisis. So, both the Iranian government, the British government and also the American embassy got together to basically hammer out an agreement that would be face-saving from Iran’s point of view, but, but also get what the British and Americans wanted, which was to make sure that Iran did not have control over the oil industry in Iran. Of course, the whole meaning of nationalization is having state control, but the way the agreement was hammered out was, on face value, nationalization was accepted on paper.
It looked as if Iran ran the oil industry, so the National Iranian Oil Company was in – on paper, in charge of the oil industry. But, in actual fact, the agreement were known as the consortium, gave the power of operating the industry to a number of Western oil companies. Two of them were, of course, British Petroleum, the former Anglo-Iranian Oil Company changed its name to British Petroleum, Royal Dutch Shell, which was a, a, a company very closely allied to, of course, British Petroleum. They were like twin sisters in terms of oil industry. So, they got actually more than 50% of the consortium.
The other shares with the oil, oil consortium were divided up into mainly the large American oil companies, and smaller in what were known as the independent American oil companies, the French company and that basically became the consortium that replaced Anglo-Iranian Oil Company before. So, from 1954, when the oil consortium was signed, until really, until the Iranian Revolution of 1979, the consortium was in charge of Iranian oil industry so there’s sort of irony in this. Iran was the first country to nationalize its oil industry, but – the Mossadeq in 1951, but actually, in fact – in reality, it was the – became the last country to actually get control over its oil and that did not come until, really, 1979.