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Oil, Autocracy, and the Cold War, 1951-1954

In May 1951, the nationalist prime minister of Iran Mohammed Mosaddeq nationalized the country's British-owned oil industry, challenging decades of imperial power and corporate domination of Iran's natural resources.

The nationalization set off an international crisis, with the United States stepping in to negotiate a settlement that would assuage Iranian nationalism while leaving Iranian oil in Western hands. The crisis culminated in the infamous coup d'etat of August 1953, when Iran's first (and last) popular democratic government was overthrown, with CIA assistance. 

The Struggle for Iran incorporates thirty-years of archival research and provides the firs comprehensive international account of the pivotal chapter in the Cold War.

Publication: JANUARY 2023


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Oil flows through a vast, interconnected system, linking crude from scattered, isolated oil fields to markets throughout the world. The result is energy, economic growth--and wealth. But who gets to share in oil's bounty? Where do the rights of companies end and those of nation-states begin? And when national governments finally wrest control from the hands of private corporations, what then can be done to turn petroleum into progress?

Petroleum and Progress in Iran: Oil, Development, and the Cold War grapples with these questions. The book explores the birth of the Pahlavi "petro-state," and the links connecting the international oil industry, global development movement, U.S. Cold War strategy, and Iranian modernization politics. Control of oil, and the transformation of inert crude deposits into oil power dominated a struggle fought over budgets, boardrooms, and blood that engaged a host of actors—development NGOs, foreign oil companies, Pahlavi “developmentalists,” the U.S. government, and the shah himself—each with their own distinct agenda.

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اگر ساکت بنشینم گناه کرده ام
"If I sit silently, I have sinned"

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