Nationalization of the Iranian oil industry

NIOC directorate enters the AIOC building in Abadan, June 20, 1951.

The nationalization of the Iranian oil industry (Persian: ملی شدن صنعت نفت‎) resulted from a movement in the Iranian parliament (Majlis) to seize control of Iran's oil industry, which had been run by private companies, largely controlled by foreign interests. The legislation was passed on March 15, 1951, and was verified by the Majlis on March 17, 1951. The legislation led to the nationalization of the Anglo-Persian Oil Company (AIOC). The movement was led by Mohammad Mosaddegh, a member of the Majlis for the National Front and future prime minister of Iran. The movement to nationalize the oil industry was the reaction to the following concessions made by Iran to foreign powers: the Reuter concession of 1872, proceeding letter,D'Arcy Concession?] the 1933 agreement between the Iranian government and AIOC, and the Gas-golshaian[?] contract. According to the political scientist Mark J. Gasiorowski, the oil nationalization movement had two major consequences: the establishment of a democratic government and the pursuit of Iranian national sovereignty.[1]


From the time of the discovery of oil in Iran, foreign powers used force and exploited the weakness of the Iranian state to coerce it into concessions which allowed foreign companies to control oil extraction. The nationalization of the oil industry was the response to these foreign interventions. Particularly the following concessions:

  1. Reuter concession
  2. Proceeding letter[D'Arcy Concession?]
  3. 1933 Agreement
  4. Gas-golshaian[?] contact

The competition to gain more control of the Iranian oil industry increased during World War II when the United Kingdom, the Soviet Union and the United States all became involved in Iranian affairs. When faced with demands from the oil companies of these three countries, the Iranian government announced that the issue would be decided after the war as the economic conditions of the countries were not clear. The government refused all these demands after the war ended.[2]

Rahimiyan[Full Name?], the member from Quchan in the 14th Majlis was the first who introduced a plan to nationalize the oil industry. However, this plan was never discussed.[2] On October 23, 1949, at home of Mohammad Mosaddegh and in the presence of twelve experts[who?] the National Front (political party) was established. It consisted of various political efforts whose joint objective was the protection of the rights of Iranian oil industry.[2]