Diplomatic History of Persia, 1917-1923: Anglo-Russian Power Politics in Iran

Diplomatic History of Persia, 1917-1923: Anglo-Russian Power Politics in Iran

Diplomatic History of Persia, 1917-1923: Anglo-Russian Power Politics in Iran

Diplomatic History of Persia, 1917-1923: Anglo-Russian Power Politics in Iran

Excerpt

This book is another solid contribution which a member of the Department of Oriental Languages and Literatures at Princeton has made to an understanding of the problems of the Middle East. The period of Persian history covered is a short one. It includes less than a decade ending in 1925. But this period, so limited as to include only a tiny segment of modern history, nevertheless is a faithful mirror of the stresses and strains that have made Iran a critical area in the 1950's.

Soviet imperialism and British imperialism have long made Iran the staging grounds for political, economic, and military operations. The prize has been more than oil; it has been the victorious eastward sweep of empire. Those machinations started long before World War I and continue unabated after World War II. This volume gives a detailed annotation of the main events in that struggle. It is a faithful account and invaluable to those who want to understand the nature of the conflict.

But the value of this book is much greater. Those who read carefully can find here the shape of things to come and the key to problems that often seem insoluble both to American laymen and to American diplomats.

Iran has long been treated by the great powers as a pawn. They have considered Iran a second or third rate state, not an equal member of the family of nations. They have largely observed the protocol in their formal dealings; but they have aimed at making Persia in essence a colony. The great powers played largely a divisive role in Iran. They hoped to keep the country weak enough for their own manipulation. They never backed programs nor evinced attitudes which encouraged a strong and independent Iran. And that has largely been true even to this day. It is an open secret that when Mohammed Mossadegh came to power in 1951 and took steps to nationalize the oil concession, the British gave him three months to rule and held in reserve a prime minister of their own choice who would be more docile to the British program.

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