Sat Mar 19, 2016 9:15AM
Mohammad Mosaddeq, Iran’s democratically-elected prime minister from 1951 to 1953
Mohammad Mosaddeq, Iran’s democratically-elected prime minister from 1951 to 1953

Iran marks the 65th anniversary of the nationalization of its oil industry, which is viewed as a momentous breakthrough in the country’s independence from the West, PressTV reports.

On March 20, 1951, members of the Iranian parliament voted unanimously in favor of a bill introduced by the country’s then democratically-elected prime minister, Mohammad Mosaddeq, to nationalize Iran’s oil industry.

Mosaddeq garnered the support of his nationalist party and religious figures led by prominent cleric, Ayatollah Abolqasem Kashani, for the initiative.

The initiative put an end to Britain’s four-decade monopoly over Iran’s oil industry. Before the bill was passed, the British oil giant, known as the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (AIOC), enjoyed monopolistic control over the industry and used to pay only a small share of the revenues to the Iranian government.

“Nationalization of Iran’s oil industry caused positive effects in Iran’s economic growth and also produced effects in Iran’s development,” Mojtaba Babai, an Iranian political analyst, told Press TV.

Iran had to pay a tough price for claiming its oil resources because Britain was not ready to easily give up its dominance over the Iranian crude.

In retaliation for Mosaddeq’s revolutionary move, Britain and the United States imposed sanctions against Iran’s oil sector and later colluded to stage a coup against the ex-premier’s government in 1953 in a bid to reinstate the Western-back monarch, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, in power after the bans failed to bear result.

Six decades after the notorious coup, the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) for the first time published a document in August 2013 which 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,” reads a brief segment from an internal CIA history.

Iran possesses some 10 percent of the world’s oil reserves. The country joined the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in 1960 and has been among the major oil producers in the body.