Iran and Britain: The Politics of Oil and Coup D’état after the Fall of Reza Shah

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Mosaddeq’s preoccupation with the nationalization of Iran’s oil sector derived from his belief that such a venture, once realized, could bring economic prosperity, national autonomy and political sovereignty in its wake. The loss of Abadan Oil Refinery as a result of action by the Iranian nationalists also dealt Britain’s imperial prestige a stinging blow at a time when it was struggling to adapt itself to the disintegration of empire and come to terms with the ascendance of the United States in its stead in the Middle East. Either one acknowledges the socio-historical fickleness and inconsistency of the Iranian populace as a sociological catalyst for the overthrow of Mosaddeq or not, the UK-backed coup d’état against him was indeed the coup de grâce to the British identity-image in Iran; a coup which served to revive the declining monarchical autocracy and demoralize the emergent force for democracy in Iran.
Original languageEnglish
Specialist publicatione-International Relations (e-IR)
Publication statusPublished - 2010 Dec 2
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

The article has been published on the e-International Relations (e-IR) website (

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Political Science


  • Iran
  • Britain
  • oil
  • coup d’état
  • Mosaddeq
  • politics


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