Hvorfor Vesten demoniserer Iran - av Stuart Littlewood
Why West is Demonizing Iran
They haven't learned from the past, and they won't lift their eyes to a better future.
When new recruits join British Petroleum (BP) they are fed romantic tales about how the company came into being.
William Knox D'Arcy, a Devon man, studied law and, after emigrating to Australia, made a fortune from the Mount Morgan gold-mining operations in the 1880s. Returning to England he agreed to fund a search for oil and minerals in Persia and negotiations with the Mozaffar al-Din Shah Qajar began in 1901. A sixty year concession to explore for oil gave D'Arcy the oil rights to the entire country except for five provinces in Northern Iran. The Iranian government would receive16% of the oil Company's annual profits.
Mozzafar ad-Din, seldom consulted on matters of state by his father, was naive in business matters and unprepared for kingship when the time came. He borrowed heavily from the Russians in order to finance his extravagant personal lifestyle and the costs of the state, and in order to pay off the debt he signed away control of many Iranian industries and markets to foreigners. The deal D'Arcy cut was too sharp by far and would eventually lead to trouble.
He sent an exploration team headed by geologist George B Reynolds. In 1903 a company was formed and D'Arcy had to spend much of his fortune to cover the costs. Further financial support came from Glasgow-based Burmah Oil in return for a large share of the stock.
Drilling in southern Persia at Shardin continued until 1907 when the search was switched to Masjid-i-Souleiman. By1908 D'Arcy was almost bankrupt. Reynolds received a last-chance instruction: "Drill to 1,600 feet and give up". On 26 May at 1,180 feet he struck oil.
It was indeed a triumph of guts and determination. The Anglo-Persian Oil Company was soon up and running and in 1911 completed a pipeline from the oilfield to its new refinery at Abadan. But the company was in trouble again by 1914. The golden age of motoring had not yet arrived and the industrial oil markets were sewn up by American and European interests. The sulphurous stench of the Persian oil, even after refining, ruled it out for domestic use, so D'Arcy had a marketing problem.
Luckily Winston Churchill, then First Lord of the Admiralty, was an enthusiast for oil and wanted to convert the British fleet from coal especially now that a reliable oil source was secured. He famously told Parliament: "Look out upon the wide expanse of the oil regions of the world!" Only the British-owned Anglo-Persian Oil Company, he said, could protect British interests. His resolution passed and the British Government took a major shareholding in the company. Just in time too, for World War One started a few weeks later.
During the war the government seized the assets of a German company calling itself British Petroleum in order to market its products in Britain. Anglo-Persian acquired the assets from the Public Trustee complete with a ready-made distribution network with hundreds of depots, railway tank wagons, road vehicles, barges and so forth. This enabled Anglo-Persian to rapidly expand sales in petroleum-hungry Britain and Europe after the war.