Not Waiting Around

July 24, 1952 — The Courier-Mail

The Mossadegh Project | July 15, 2020                    

Lead editorial in The Courier-Mail newspaper (Brisbane, Queensland, Australia).

Australian media archive

Has Persia won?

THE judgment of the International Court of Justice has gone in favour of the Persian Government’s contention that its appropriation and nationalisation of the business and property of the Anglo-Iranian Company in Persia are outside the jurisdiction of the Court. This judgment will do nothing to help Dr. Mossadeq, now reinstated as Persia’s Premier, to reopen the Abadan refinery or restore the flow of revenue the Persian Treasury received when the Anglo-Iranian Company operated it.

Persia will find it harder to obtain from any other sources the capital required to resuscitate its oil industry. After tearing up an agreement that was ratified in the most solemn form by the Persian Parliament in 1933, and in faith of which the Anglo-Iranian Company (and the British Government) invested many more millions of pounds to develop Persia’s oil resources, Persia has put other investors and Governments on guard against taking the risk of being similarly treated. Other countries needing and seeking foreign capital for development will also be gravely prejudiced by Persia’s confiscation of the great Anglo-Iranian oil enterprise, now that the International Court of Justice has decided that it has no competence to hear and decide a claim for redress.

The convention under which the Anglo-Iranian Company obtained a renewal of its concession stipulated that it should not be annulled or altered by the Persian Parliament and that any disputes should be referred to an arbitration tribunal appointed by the International Court. The British Government is now asking the President of the Court to appoint an arbitrator. But the Persian Government might refuse to accept international arbitration on the grounds that its obligation to do so has been extinguished by annulment of the convention.

It is to be feared that the Persian Nationalists, elated by winning their argument before the International Court, will pursue more recklessly their anti-British and anti-Western policy regardless of the opportunities they are making for the pro-Russian Tudeh Party. What may sober them is the prospect of being left with a derelict oil industry. That could happen.

Persia may be able to sell some crude oil to customers that can fetch and carry it. But it was the high-grade aviation fuel refined by the Anglo-Iranian Company at Abadan that earned most of Persia’s revenue from oil. The Western world is not waiting until the Persians learn how to run the great refinery they have confiscated. It will be fully supplied within a few years by other refineries.


Related links:

6 US, British Diplomats Compare Views on Iran (Paris, Nov. 1951)

Hopes Wrecked In Persia | The Advocate, July 24, 1952

Dilemma Over Persia | Newcastle Morning Herald, Aug. 23, 1952

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

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