Each year when that historic day arrives; i.e. Esfand 29 on the Persian Calendar which corresponds to March 19 on the Gregorian Calendar, the date when in 1951 the Iranian oil was nationalized by a bill passed through the Iranian Parliament under the auspices of Mohammad Mosaddeq (1882-1967) and with the support of the people; the Iranian sociopolitical sphere becomes submerged with all sorts of analyses that attempt to either uphold that event or refute it, usually on a strictly “economic” basis. The pros, typically composed of disparate civic-nationalist, Islamic-civic-nationalist and leftist factions, state that nationalization which had been meant to return the major share – if not all – of the oil revenues to Iran would have largely benefited the country. On the other hand, the cons, rightists majorly composed of monarchists and ultranationalists, retort that nationalization, by antagonizing the powerful British Empire, not even did not improve the Iranian economy but also deteriorated it.
As this eternal debate between the two sides goes on, the pros and the cons, in light of historical events, both seem to have a point. However, in my opinion, by solely sticking to the economic aspect of that event, these parties are both likely to miss by a wide range the most fundamental point to it; for the nationalization of the Iranian oil first and foremost constituted an assertion of national identity and national sovereignty by a people whose pride had been trampled by the colonial powers of Russia and Britain and their imperialist designs for Persia for a considerable stretch of time. In order to understand that point, we must read the history of that event in a rather different light than we usually do; going back to more than a century before it happened, and faring beyond the exclusive domain of “petroliterature” – as Tracy Lassiter would put it – and into such a wider frame as that of the concern over national identity in the face of both foreign colonialism and domestic despotism, a concern either directly or indirectly predicated upon the nationalization of the Iranian oil in contemporary times. (Read the entire article via this link)