Iran II: Nationalization


Here we are at Episode 7. Like I say in the cast, I thought we’d get farther down the road with this one, but podcasts are long and history’s longer, and we’ll have to wait until Episode 8 to get all the way to the coup. In the meanwhile, though, we’ve got the rise of Mohammad Mossadegh, struggles over nationalization, the battle between the Anglo Iranian and the National Iranian, and a trip to the World Court in the Hague.

Next time around, we’ll hit Operation AJAX and Kermit Roosevelt and all the rest, but for now sit tight and enjoy.

Some principal players now. Mossadegh himself’s up there at the top. His Time cover for Man of the Year is even less complimentary (and has a terrible pun to boot).

I couldn’t for the life of me find a bigger version, but it reads, “He oiled the wheels of chaos.” Har.

Then we’ve got his primary adversary in Iran, the young Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi.


Those medals are for, as far as I have read, murdering a very great number of his own people in Azerbaijan or for nothing at all.

On the American side, you’ve got Truman:

Along with his Secretary of State, Dean Acheson, who was determined to bring the Iranians and the British to the table and to resolve the oil crisis peacefully.

And then George McGhee, Dean Acheson’s point-man on Iran, a guy who’d made enough running his own oil business to hump for the government pro-bono. Here he’s in talks with Mossadegh himself.

And then the British characters. Clement Attlee and Herbert Morrison are still held in pretty rosy memory in Britain, but whatever their domestic accomplishments, on Iran they were wily and unscrupulous.

The Prime Minister Attlee:

And Foreign Secretary Morrison striking a pose:


And a couple old Pathe videos of Iran. They’re too old and too new, respectively, for this period, but they give you an idea.

Relevant maps and things can be found in the last episode’s show notes.

And last but never least, references.

Abrahamian, Ervand. The Coup: 1953, the CIA, and the Roots of Modern U.S.-Iranian Relations New Press, 2013.

Abrahamian, Ervand. A History of Modern Iran. Cambridge, GB: Cambridge University Press, 2008.

Abrahamian, Ervand. Iran: Between Two Revolutions.  Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1982.

Byrne, Malcolm. “The Secret CIA History of the Iran Coup.” The National Security Archive, last modified 29 November 2000,

The Cambridge History of Iran: From Nadir Shah to the Islamic Republic. Edited by Peter Avery, Gavin Hambly and Charles Melville. Vol. VII. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1991.

Fatemi, N. S. 1985. “The Anglo Persian Agreement of 1919.” Encyclopaedia Iranica Vol II: 59.

Katouzian, Homa. The Political Economy of Modern Iran: Despotism and Pseudo-Modernism, 1926-1979. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 1981.

Kinzer, Stephen. All the Shah’s Men: An American Coup and the Roots of Middle East Terror. Wiley, 2003.

Roosevelt, Kermit. Countercoup: The Struggle for Control of Iran. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill, 1979.

Audio Acknowledgements

Doctor Turtle. “Thought Soup”

Metastaz. “The Prince of Persia”

More News Pictures from Iran. 1941. British Pathé. (YouTube).

Mossadeq Meets the Press. 1951. British Pathé. (YouTube).

Oil Delegates Back from Iran. 1951. British Pathé. (YouTube).

Oil Men Return from Abadan. 1951. British Pathé. (YouTube)

Persian Folk Music. Traditional Music Channel. (YouTube).


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