16th March, 1951 : Troops and tanks were patrolling the streets of Teheran after martial law was proclaimed to deal with “gangster elements” threatening the security of the Iranian capital. The move came after an attempt to assassinate Dr Zanganeh, Minister of Education in the cabinet of General Razmara, shot dead himself by a religious fanatic eight days ago. Dr Zanganeh was shot in the back, but survived.

Teheran political life has been in turmoil since the lower house of Parliament, the Majlis, unanimously voted to nationalise the oil industry, run by Anglo-Iranian Oil Co. The upper house, the Senate, approved the Nationalisation Bill, but only 27 out of 60 senators were present.

The bid to seize the oilfields, which Britain has been developing since 1909, is seen in London as a surrender to extreme nationalists and Islamic fundamentalists, who regularly bring out the street mobs to put pressure on more moderate politicians.

[ Religious fanatics in Iran – who would have thought of that? ]

About Avadoro Worden

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