Spying and Russia

May 22, 1950 — The New Castle News

The Mossadegh Project | October 8, 2021                    

Editorial in The New Castle News newspaper of New Castle, Pennsylvania.


The government of Persia (why in the world did it change its name to Iran?) has received another note of protest from Russia.

The note charges that the Iranian Oil Company has hired American experts and is using them to take aerial photographs on the Soviet border. This, says the note, “can create a danger to the frontiers of the USSR.”

So Iran is “pursuing in this area aims which are incompatible with good neighborly relations between the USSR and Iran.” The implication is that the Kremlin may be forced to do something about it.

The note must be viewed in the light of past relations between the Soviet Union and Iran. Those relations have been full of tension, with Russia apparently trying to influence Iranian internal policies by intimidation. Russia has a lot of gall trying to tell Iranian companies they cannot hire Americans. The implication that the United States is thus “spying” on Russian military installations is of course untenable, as is the suggestion that this constitutes a danger to Russia.

If there were a shooting war between the United States and Russia, it is unlikely that U.S. forces would try to invade Russia through Iran. That would be doing it the hard way. Supply lines would be precariously long, and the mountainous terrain of the Caucasus would prove more frustrating than Italy’s.

The Russians know these elementary military facts. Suspicious and fearful as they are, it is unlikely that they are much worried about that particular frontier. But the Muscovites want the Iranians to feel that it isn’t safe to be too independent, and they think this is a good way to remind them of that.

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Related links:

Iranian Flays Soviet Designs | AP, March 4, 1946

Russia And Oil | April 26, 1951 editorial

Another Truman Letter | The Lewiston Daily Sun, Dec. 15, 1950

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

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