The Ethical Case
July 21, 1954 — The West Australian

The Mossadegh Project | November 19, 2017                                                          

Lead editorial in The West Australian newspaper, based in Perth.

Iran Oil Consortium | Archive of Documents (1953-1954)


A negotiated settlement of the Persian oil dispute has been in sight for some time. A statement that it is now imminent was made by Dr. Ali Amini in Teheran at the weekend. His optimism may be well-founded despite the absence, up to this point, of non-Persian confirmation. Since it took control last year, in the chaotic conditions of the overthrow of the Mossadeq regime, General Zahedi’s Government (in which Dr. Amini is Finance Minister) has re-consolidated the constitutional position of the Shah and has moved a long way towards achieving internal security and political and economic stability.

The Zahedi Government [Premier Fazlollah Zahedi] has been able to work with increasing confidence for an equitable oil agreement within the terms of the Persian nationalisation law. The ultimate course of the negotiations produced two issues for decision. One was a mutually acceptable agreement between the Persian Government and an international consortium of oil companies for the production, refining and marketing of oil under nationalisation and the amount of the proceeds to be retained by Persia. In this consortium 40 percent of interest is held by the Anglo-Iranian company.

The other issue, which has been the subject of separate negotiation, is the amount of compensation to be paid to the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company for the confiscation of its Abadan refinery and other assets in southern Persia by the Mossadeq Government. So far as is known, agreements on both questions are still interdependent and must be ratified for any settlement which will restart the flow of Persian oil to international markets and the flow of oil revenues into the empty Persian Treasury.

Were it not for international political reasons, and the ethical case for some compensation to the Anglo-Iranian company for its losses, it is doubtful whether such patient negotiations would have been continued. The free world has been able to do without Persian oil since 1951. With increasing production in many fields it is at present abundantly supplied and the problem of reintroducing Persian oil to the international markets following a settlement of the dispute has its difficulties. The Western Powers however, want to save Persia from further economic deterioration which would make her an easier prey of the Communist Tudeh Party and, ultimately, of Russia. A notable indication of an improving political situation, which may fairly be linked with progress in the oil negotiations, is the Zahedi Government’s rejection of the Russian protest against Persia’s possible membership of a regional defence alliance in the Middle East.

Divvying Up the Loot: The Iran Oil Consortium Agreement of 1954
Divvying Up the Loot: The Iran Oil Consortium Agreement of 1954


Related links:

Proud Brit Hails Iran Oil Deal As English Victory (1954)

Iran Oil Dispute Ends | The San Bernardino County Sun, Aug. 5, 1954

Mossadeq | The South Coast Bulletin, November 18, 1953

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

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