1941-1945 History of Iran Iran 1953-1979

Post-War Years, 1945-1953

Separatism and Territorial Integrity, 1945-1946 . In 1946, British and Soviet troops had entered Iranian territory, and forced the Iranian government to pursue a pro-Allies policy. Under Soviet tutelage, the Tudeh Party (Communist Party) had been established in 1941. In 1945, the Tudeh party took control of the Iranian province of Azerbaijan, and proclaimed the People's Republic of (Iranian) Azerbaijan, with capital in Tabriz. Early in 1946, a (Iranian) Kurdish Republic with capital Mahabad was proclaimed; both were perceived as Soviet satellites. In Khuzestan (Arabistan), the desire for the province (with a majority Arab-speaking population) to be annexed into Iraq was articulated.
In 1946 the USSR and Iran signed an agreement, according to which the USSR withdrew her forces from Iranian territory, in return for Iran granting oil concessions. Iranian troops moved into the secessionist areas; (Iranian) Azerbaijan and Kurdistan were reintegrated into the Iranian state, separatist leaders, insofar they had not fled, were tried, sentenced and executed.

Constitution . In 1949 Iran adopted a constitution which defined the country as a constitutional monarchy. An attempt to assassinate the Shah in 1949 failed; in October and November 1949 elections for the Majlis were held (BBoY 1950). The office of prime minister saw a frequent change of occupants until the tenure of Mohammad Mosaddeq (1951-1953).

Foreign Policy . Iran was a founder member of the United Nations.
During the war, the Iranian government was limited in her freedom to make decisions by the presence of British, Soviet, and later also American troops in the country. When the Natural Alliance disintegrated in 1945, the Iranian government, in her dealings with the USSR, enjoyed the support of the U.K. and the U.S., both of which wanted to see the USSR contained. While the USSR stuck to her side of the agreement of 1946, the Iranian revoked the oil concessions granted to the Soviets.
In the years following World War II, the Iranian government was suspicious of the motives of the USSR, the U.K. and the U.S. In 1949 Iran and the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company according to which the Iranian government would receive 25 to 30 % of the profits. From 1950 on Iranian administrations pushed for renegotiation of the agreement; in 1951 Iranian PM Mossadeq refused an offer by AIOC for a 50 % to 50 % profit sharing. In November, the Majlis passed a law, nationalizing the oil industry (BBoY 1952). The U.K. and the U.S. responded by imposing an embargo on Iranian oil.
Deteriorating conditions in Iran resulted in street protests, which first were directed against the opponents of PM Mosaddeq. Then, in Operation Ajax, the MI6 and CIA managed to turn the street protests against PM Mosaddeq, who was forced to resign.
In the UN general assembly session of 1947, Iran voted against the partition of Palestine. When Israel declared independence in 1948, Iran's Jewish community suffered abuse; about one third emigrated in the following years.

Social History . Secessionist tendencies in Azerbaijan, Kurdestan, Khuzestan were countered in 1946. From 1948 onward there was an exodus of Iranian Jews. The economic boycott, under which Iran found herself in 1951-1953, resulted in the decline of the standard of living, in hardship (unemployment, inflation, shortage of certain goods etc.). The census of 1956 counted 18.9 million Iranians.

The Economy . The Iranian Oil Industry was largely controlled by Anglo-Iranian Oil Company; when Iran challenged this control in 1950-1951, it suffered an economic boycott, which resulted in inflation and shortages of consumer goods.
In 1945, Iran produced 17.1 million metric tons of crude oil, in 1950 32.2 million, in 1952 1.3 million, in 1953 1.4 million (IHS p.362).
In 1946, Iran produced 2.0 million metric tons of wheat, in 1953 2.2 million (IHS pp.192, 199).

Cultural History . The Iranian Football Federation joined FIFA in 1945. The National Olympic Committee of Iran was established in 1947, and recognized by the IOC the same year. An Iranian team participated in the Summer Games in London 1948 and those in Helsinki in 1952; an Iranian wrestler, J.M. Salmassi, won a bronze medal in London 1948.

History of Iran, from Persian Outpost
Timeline of Iranian History, from Encyclopedia of the Orient
Entry Azerbaijan, Mahabad, from Footnotes to History, by James L. Erwin
Kurdish Mahabad Republic 1945-1946, from ACED
Iran 1953. Making it safe for the king of kings, from William Blum, Killing Hope, posted by Third World Traveller
CASCON Case SOI : Soviet-Iran 1945-1946, by L.P. Bloomfield, A. Moulton
The "Iran Crises" of 1945-1946. A View from the Russian Archives, by N.I. Yegorova
Soviet Foreign Policy in Iran 1945-1979, by Christopher Feld
Strange Menagerie. The Eagle, the Peacock, the Lion and the Bear. The Atlantic Charter as the Root of American Entanglement in Iran & its Influence upon the Development of the Policy of Containment, 1941-1946, by G.C. Rosmaita
Article Iran Crisis (1946), Azerbaijan People's Republic, Republic of Mahabad, Persian Jews : Pahlavi Dynasty, Iran at the 1948 Summer Olympics, Iran at the 1952 Summer Olympics, National Olympic Committee, from Wikipedia
Oil Nationalization, from Iran Chamber Society
Politics, Power and U.S. Policy in Iran 1950-1953, by Francis J. Gavin
Iran : The Party System in 1950-1956 and 1957-1962, in : Kenneth Janda, Political Parties : A Cross-National Survey
DOCUMENTS Iranian Statesmen, from World Statesmen (B. Cahoon)
Historical Population Statistics : Iran, from Population Statistics (J. Lahmeyer)
Iran Banknotes : Iranian Azerbaijan 1945, from Iran Banknotes
Documents 1945-1946 Iran Crisis, from CWIHP Virtual Archive
Flag of the Mahabad Republic, from FOTW
REFERENCE IHS : International Historical Statistics : Africa, Asia & Oceania 1750-2000, edited by B.R. Mitchell, Basingstoke : Palgrave MacMillan 4th ed. 2003
Article : Iran, in : Britannica Book of the Year 1946 pp.403-404, 1947 p.422, 1948 pp.408-409, 1949 pp.357-358, 1950 pp.378-379, 1951 pp.383-384, 1952 pp.376-378, 1953 pp.377-378, 1954 pp.376-379 [G]
Article : Iran, in : Funk & Wagnall's New Standard Encyclopedia Year Book 1946 pp.223-226, 1952 pp.215-216 [G]
Article : Iran, in : Americana Annual 1947 pp.357-359 [G]

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted on May 28th 2002, last revised on September 28th 2007

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