Another Korea?
May 21, 1951 — U.S. Editorial

The Mossadegh Project | October 27, 2021                     

This non-syndicated editorial on Iran drawing parallels with the war in Korea ran in the editorial section of newspapers across the U.S. in May 1951.

Trouble In Iran

While American lawmakers focus on the future of war-torn Korea, a struggle of potentially much greater strategic importance is taking place in Iran.

No thoughtful Western observers were happy when Premier Razmara of Iran was assassinated a few months ago. [Ali Razmara] They foresaw a period of economic and political strife ó communist-inspired ó which could disrupt Iranís heavy oil shipments to Britain and other Western countries.

Their worst fears are being realized. Razmaraís death has been followed by internal turbulence that bodes ill for the West.

The properties of the Anglo-Iranian Oil Co., in which Britain was majority stockholder, have been nationalized. Strikes in the field and other difficulties have slowed the oil flow to a trickle. Premier Mossadegh, successor to Razmara, has revealed the insecurity of his government by publicly expressing fears for his life.

How serious all this is for the West can be seen by resort to a few elemental statistics. Iranís annual oil output of more than 30 million tons represents more than a third of the Middle Eastís total production. Anglo-Iranianís Abadan refinery, largest in the world, itself turns out 25 million tons of refined oil.

These properties supply 25 per cent of Britainís total petroleum products, and they also fuel a substantial part of the industrial and military machine in other Western nations.

In a recent dispatch from Paris, Leon Dennen, NEA correspondent in Europe, quoted a former Soviet oil official as laying General Eisenhowerís entire North Atlantic defense program may be jeopardized by a drastic oil drought if the flow from Iran and perhaps other Middle East sources is cut off. Together these sources account for 90 per cent of the oil consumed in NATO countries. [Dwight D. Eisenhower]

To be sure, British oil men do not fear that Iranian oil will be deliberately barred from Britain, or sold in great quantity to Russia. The Iranian government has assured the British it wants to keep on selling to them and other regular western customers. But what worries the British is how much oil thereíll be to sell.

The Iranians now rely on 2,700 skilled European workers, but they want to replace them with natives. A British oil economist compares this outlook to the situation in Mexico after that country expropriated foreign oil holdings in 1938. He says: ďIt took Mexico nine years to get back to the level of output at the time the properties were seized.Ē

So long as Iran insists on ousting foreign oil workers and managing production entirely on its own. therefore, prospects are dark. Unless some agreement can be worked out to allow seasoned experts to assist the Iranians, the Russians will gain a signal strategic victory.

The United States is the only other important source from which NATO countries could get oil to make up any Middle East deficiency. And itís an unsettled question how much of that added burden we could bear. We are not now an oil-exporting country.

No communique from the Korean front is more vital to the Westís future than the dispatch from Tehran which will tell what finally is to happen to Iranian oil.

Newspapers who ran this editorial under their masthead included:

The News-Herald (Franklin, Pennsylvania), May 21, 1951 (lead editorial) (title: FUTURE OF IRANíS OIL POSES PROBLEM FOR ALLIES)
The Escanaba Daily Press (Escanaba, Michigan), May 21, 1951 (title: Future Of Iranís Oil Poses Critical Problem For Allies)
The Daily Times (New Philadelphia, Ohio), May 21, 1951 (lead editorial) (title: Future Of Iranís Oil Poses Critical Problem For Allies ó By BRUCE BIOSSAT )
The Middlesboro Daily News (Middlesboro, Kentucky), May 22, 1951
The Franklin Evening Star (Franklin, Indiana), May 22, 1951 (lead editorial) (title: Editorial by Bruce Boissat: Iranís Oil Poses Problem)
The Sterling Daily Gazette (Sterling, Illinois), May 22, 1951 (lead editorial) (title: The Future Of Iranís Oil Poses Critical Problem For Allies)
The Rhinelander Daily News (Rhinelander, Wisconsin), May 22, 1951 (lead editorial) (title: Future of Iranís Oil)
The Edwardsville Intelligencer (Edwardsville, Illinois), May 22, 1951 (lead editorial) (title: FUTURE OF IRANíS OIL POSES PROBLEM FOR ALLIES)
The Monroe News-Star (Monroe, Louisiana), May 22, 1951 (lead editorial) (title: Iranís Oil Poses Critical Problem For Allies)
The Alabama Journal (Montgomery, Alabama), May 23, 1951 (title: Iranian Oil Necessary To West)
The Daily Times-News from Burlington, North Carolina (Burlington, North Carolina), May 23, 1951 (title: FUTURE OF IRANíS OIL POSES CRITICAL PROBLEM FOR ALLIES. Says ďBy Bruce BiossatĒ at end)
The Victoria Advocate (Victoria, Texas), May 23, 1951 (lead editorial) (title: AS WE SEE ITóFuture of Iranís Oil Is Vital to Allies)
The Lead Daily Call (Lead, South Dakota), May 23, 1951 (lead editorial) (title: Future Of Iran's Rich Oil Of Importance Than War Being Waged In Korea)
The Chester Times (Chester, Pennsylvania), May 23, 1951 (lead editorial) (title: Future of Iranís Oil Poses Critical Problem For Allies)
The Portsmouth Herald (Portsmouth, New Hampshire), May 24, 1951 (lead editorial)
The Courier News (Blytheville, Arkansas), May 24, 1951 (lead editorial) (title: Future of Iranís Oil Poses Critical Problem for Allies)
The Statesville Daily Record (Statesville, North Carolina), May 24, 1951 (lead editorial) (title: Struggle For Control In Iran Vital To U.S.)
The Belvidere Daily Republican (Belvidere, Illinois), May 26, 1951 (lead editorial) (title: Future of Iranís Oil Poses Critical Problem for Allies)
The Shamokin News-Dispatch (Shamokin, Pennsylvania), May 26, 1951 (title: Iranian Oil Problem)
The Camden News (Camden, Arkansas), May 26, 1951 (lead editorial)
The Times-News (Twin Falls, Idaho), May 28, 1951


Related links:

Iranís Oil Grab | The Star Tribune (Minneapolis), Sept. 29, 1951

Iran: Enemies of the People | The Morning News, April 18, 1951

A Principle in Persia | The Tablet (London), May 19, 1951

MOSSADEGH t-shirts — ďIf I sit silently, I have sinnedĒ

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