By: Mir M.Hosseini
Preceded by the Tehran Conference in 1943, the Big Three leaders of UK, US, and USSR held a conference in Yalta (Feb. 4-11, 1945) in order to discuss strategies and plans for the final months of WWII and postwar policies. Iran's issue was discussed although it was not in the agenda of the conference. The UK suggested to USSR to pull out troops from Tehran simultaneously in order to honor Iran's sovereignty as foreseen in the Tehran Declaration and to minimize common fear from a Soviet threat that arose after an ultimatum given by Russians when Iranians rejected to sign an agreement for the North Iranian Oil. Churchill who was aware of possible economic difficulties following the years of war and the risk associated with keeping exhausted soldiers in a far away land insisted on withdrawal even before the timetable.
On Dec, 11, 1944, Sir Reader Bullard, The British ambassador to Tehran asked his government to consider pulling out troops as soon as possible. Churchill was reluctant towards this proposal at first and London wanted to pursue a mild policy towards The Soviet Union. Britain wanted to keep the influence spheres which was a virtual border line actually dividing Iran between Britain and Russia in 1907. But the new player, the US wanted a share just as a reward for saving the Europeans against Hitler's army. Churchill informed Roosevelt about the proposal on Jan, 15 explaining that the Soviets were increasing pressure on Iran and that all evidences indicate that they were not willing to give up their claims on North Iranian Oil which indeed was an area covering 200,000 Square Kilometers including 5 main provinces bordering the Soviet Union. U.K. and U.S. had jointly protested Soviet tactics in Iran on Nov, 2, 1944. US agreed with this policy despite the fact that some American companies who sought opportunities in Iran were also deprived of the chances to enter the competition due to the law that later passed the Majlis on Dec, 12, 1944.
However, Stalin's reaction to this proposal was negative and they insisted on discussing the North Oil issue with Iranians. They also rejected the idea of a declaration at the end of the conference that included Iran. The Soviets apparently wanted to make the best of the situation and use their military might to impose any agreement possible before pulling out the Red army from the streets of Tehran. Indeed, their stance towards Iran during the conference was quite harsh and tyrannous. They denied imposing any pressure on Iran however, right after the Yalta Conference; the Toodeh Party intensified its campaigns against the Iranian government and criticized the decision taken by Majlis not to negotiate any agreements before the end of the war.