By: Mir M.Hosseini
Prime Minister Haj Ali Razmara came closer than any other politician to ratifying the Supplemental Oil Agreement between Iran and the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (AIOC). The Supplemental Agreement drew the ire of most Iranians and Majlis.
The new draft provided far less favorable terms compared to the agreement between the Standard Oil of New Jersey and the Venezuelan government, and the agreement between the Arabian-American Oil Company(ARAMCO) and the Saudi Arabian government. In addition, it gave continuous control of Iran's oil industry to a foreign company and country; the living and working conditions of its Iranian workers were extremely poor; AIOC refused to allow Iranians managerial jobs; and it denied them the right to audit its revenues.
Despite rising Anglophobia among public, the colonist attitude lingered on with AIOC offering minor improvements such as: a minimum royalty payment of 4 million pounds; reducing the area where it would be allowed to drill; and promising to train more Iranians for administrative jobs. Razmara asked AIOC to revise some of the agreement terms, the British refused and lost the golden opportunity.
The very reason General Razmara was in office was a direct result of the urgings of the British Foreign Office and the AIOC to the Shah who wanted a stronger figure than his predecessor, Prime Minister Hasanali Mansour, to ensure the success of the Supplemental Agreement. Only a military man with iron fist, they believed, would be strong enough to face down Mosaddegh and the National Front Party.
On March 7, 1951, Razmara went to a memorial service at Sepahsalar Mosque. The police opened a corridor through the inner courtyard for the Prime Minister. Khalil Tahmasebi , the assassin was waiting in the crowd. As soon as he got the chance, he fired three shots, fatally wounding Razmara. Razmara was announced dead at the hospital, he became the third Iranian Prime Minister to be assassinated.
Khalil Tahmasebi, a member of the militant Islamic group Fadayian Eslam, was arrested at the scene. Fadayian Eslam supported the demands of the National Front, which held a minority of seats in Parliament, to nationalize the assets of the British AIOC. As Prime Minister, Razmara was trying to convince the Majlis that nationalization would be unwise, and for that reason he was silenced.
At a public demonstration the following day attended by more than 8,000 Toodeh Party and National Front supporters, Fadayian Eslam distributed leaflets carrying a threat to assassinate the Shah and other government officials if the assassin, Khalil Tahmasebi, was not set free immediately. Threats were also issued against any Majlis member who opposed Nationalization of Oil.
In November 1952, the Parliament voted a full pardon for Tahmasebi. He was hailed as a hero and was granted an audience with Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh. Mosaddegh barred photographers from the meeting.
Mohammad Reza Shah appointed Hossein Ala to succeed Razmara as Prime Minister. This move was met by further assassinations, riots, and demonstrations throughout the country. Ala ultimately resigned his post as Prime Minister. Shah opted to go with Anglophile Seyyed Ziaoddin Tabatabayi but the Majlis, led by the National Front, voted on a referendum naming Mohammad Mosaddegh to the post.
On March 12, 1951, Majlis unanimously passed the bill of Nationalization of Oil industry. A spectator at the gallery is reported to have shouted "Eight grains of gunpowder have brought this about." This was followed by a vote on March 28 to expropriate the AIOC properties at Abadan.
The Nationalization of Oil Industry was supported by the vast majority of the Iranian public. Prime Minister Mosaddegh and the National Front successfully led the charge to nationalize the oil and expel the AIOC. As this move dealt a severe blow to British interests in Iran, the US and Britain orchestrated the now well-known coup d'état in 1953, code-named Operation TP-AJAX, removing Mosaddegh from power and reinstating the dictator. Mohammad Reza Shah was in power until the 1979 revolution, which led to the establishment of the Islamic Republic.
Iranians have a great historical memory and because of their hostilities, most Iranians regard US and UK as enemies.