Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says the Iranian nation’s struggle to nationalize the country’s oil industry in 1951 is proof that the country will never allow others to decide its fate.
“This isn’t the first time that Iran has been targeted for exercising its right to decide its own destiny: 68 yrs ago today, parliament under democratically-elected PM [Mohammad] Mossadeq nationalized our oil industry. A coup followed. Iranians will never allow others to decide their fate,” he said in a tweet on Wednesday.
On March 20, 1951, members of the Iranian parliament voted unanimously to approve a bill that Mossadeq, the country’s then democratically-elected prime minister at the time, had introduced to nationalize Iran’s oil industry.
Mosaddeq’s nationalist party backed the initiative, which had won the support of the country’s religious figures as a result of efforts led by prominent cleric Ayatollah Abolqasem Kashani.
The movement ended Britain’s four-decade monopoly over Iran’s oil industry.
Before the nationalization, the British oil giant Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (AIOC) controlled all aspects of the industry and paid only fraction of the revenues to Iran.
In retaliation for Mosaddeq’s move, Britain and the United States subjected Iran’s oil sector to harsh economic sanctions.
When they realized that the sanctions were not effective, London and Washington colluded to stage a coup against the Iranian PM’s government in 1953 in order to reinstate Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the Western-backed monarch.
Declassified documents released by the he US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) six decades later confirmed Washington’s role in the coup d’état.
“The military coup that overthrew Mosaddeq and his National Front cabinet was carried out under CIA direction as an act of US foreign policy, conceived and approved at the highest levels of government,” read one of the documents, released in August 2013.
Today, Iran sits on some 10 percent of the world’s known oil reserves. The country joined the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in 1960 and remains one of the major oil producers.
The US has never stopped its hostile moves to curtail Iran’s thriving oil industry.
Zarif’s tweet came at a time that Washington, under President Donald Trump, has been trying to drive down Iranian oil exports to zero through imposing major sanctions.
Trump re-imposed what he called “toughest ever” sanctions on Iran’s energy industry last year, after abandoning the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers—the US, the UK, France, China, Russia and Germany.
Following the exit from the landmark agreement, Trump said he would maintain the economic pressure to the point that Iran’s oil exports would hit zero.
However, that strategy failed when major purchasers of Iranian energy failed to find viable replacement, forcing Washington to issue longtime waivers.