Divided Loyalties

June 26, 1951 — The Muncie Star

The Mossadegh Project | March 21, 2022                      

An editorial on Iran in The Muncie Star newspaper of Muncie, Indiana.

The Muncie Star (Muncie, Indiana)

An American Policy in Iran

The objective of the U.S. State Department in Iran should be to serve American interests alone in that country. The financial interests of Britain in Iran are not our concern. If it is essential that Britain lose its control of Iran’s oil or even to pull out completely to keep the oil flowing west and prevent serious economic dislocation in Iran, our State Department should accept this situation without opposition.

Two respected British newspapers see clearly through the tangled dispute in Iran to the central problems involved. Says the London Times: “The real interest of this country is the continued efficiency of the refineries and the continued supply of oil to world markets.” Adds the Manchester Guardian: “The main danger now is . . . the political damage to the stability of the Middle East.”

It appears certain that the Iranian government and the Iranian people are determined to take control of the oil industry and try to operate them as nationalized industries. It is just as certain that Iran cannot operate these technical industries without foreign help. The best solution, of course, would be the continued operation by the British with a fair share of the profits going to Iran. Even if the British had to accept the Iranian demand for 75 per cent of the profits that would be better than the shutdown of the oil fields and refineries and the consequent economic disorder that would make the rise of communism almost inevitable. [Iran didn’t demand 75%]

If Iran is determined to oust the British, or if the British decide to pull their technicians out of the refineries, the United States should offer to run the refineries under contract to the Iranian government. Before doing so, of course, we should tell the British of our intention and give them a chance to make a deal with Iran first.

The responsibility for this Iranian oil crisis lies chiefly on the shoulders of the British. They are going to have to sacrifice a great deal in Iran to insure their own larger interests. As for America, our sole aim should be to keep the oil flowing and to keep communism out of Iran. We should not, by backing Britain to the hilt in Iran, accept any share of the responsibility for this crisis.

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Related links:

At Last, Common Sense | The Muncie Star, June 26, 1951

U.S. Must Not Back War Risk in Iran | Philadelphia Inquirer, August 25, 1951

Loan To Iran | Letter to Editor, Washington Post (Dec. 1, 1951)

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

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