Iran Claims WWII Compensations from USSR, Britain and USA
On December 1st, Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad sent a letter to Esfandiar Rahim Mashai, the head of Iran administration, requesting him to create a special group of experts dealing with legal, economic, historical and political issues. The group would estimate the sum of damages caused to Iran during World War II and the occupation by the former Soviet Union, the United States and Britain and demand compensation for these damages from the world community.
He said that World War II was unleashed deliberately to re-divide the world and enslave Iran. At the start of World War II, Iran declared its neutrality, but was soon invaded by Britain and the Soviet Union.
The USSR indeed participated in the invasion of Iran in 1941-46. The occupation was undertaken on the proposal of the English government, rightfully concerned that Teheran was inclined to help Germany with oil supplies. There was also a real threat to the anti-Hitler coalition and English colonies from the Iranian Army.
Earlier, Iran declined the offer of Great Britain and the USSR to locate British and Soviet troops on its territory. The raging world war strengthened the concerns about the intentions of the Iranian government. In 1941, the country was invaded under Operation Countenance.
The Soviet Union had to bring from its front a large group consisting of three armies. As a result, Soviet and British troops occupied the northern and southern parts of the country nearly without losses. Soon they were joined by the Americans.
England and the USA managed to sign beneficial contracts with the Iranian government regarding oil. American and English companies received significant preferences in the development of the country’s oil market. The USSR had nothing to do with it.
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad does not seem to care who is to blame exactly and for what. In his letter, he stated that the damage caused to the nations by the world super powers was hard to estimate. He said that those who blamed Iran for violation of human rights have committed serious crimes themselves, forcing their dictatorship, war, occupation, and murder on others.
“This was a period of the colonial division of the world when powerful countries divided smaller ones into spheres of influence at their own discretion. Theoretically, many countries can file similar claims, including China, “Sergey Demidenko, an expert of the Institute for Strategic Evaluation and Analysis, told Pravda.ru.
However, history is not the main point here. Historical claims appear when the relations between two countries cool off significantly. This is exactly what is going on between Russia and Iran.
Today, Russia has to change its policy towards Iran. Iran used to feel very secure behind Russia’s back. Now the situation has changed. Russia used to reject all anti-Iran sanctions proposed by the West, but it can no longer do it without ruining its reputation. Iran has refused to accept Russia’s proposal regarding the nuclear issue and it would have been surprising if Russia continued to have Iran’s back.
Obviously, the Iranian government is annoyed that Russia cooperated with the US and Israel and refused to supply them with C-300 missile system. The never-ending construction project of Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant and other issues also add to Iran’s frustrations. The Iranian government believes that Russia hampers these projects and does not fulfill its obligations.
Many believe that Iran is not a Russian ally. It observes its own interests only, including in its relations with Russia.
Filing claim against Russia would be a short-sighted act. If the Iranian government decides to follow through with it, it will lose the investments for the development of its oil and gas market. Today, Russia is the only county that provides these investments. China currently does not have required technology for gas production and is not willing to take risks investing money in the country that is fighting the rest of the world.
Ahmadinejad to seek UN compensation for WWII
Iran's president says he will soon write to the UN Secretary-General asking for his country to be compensated for World War II damages.
"We will seek compensation for World War II damages. I have assigned a team to calculate the costs," Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said at a Friday press conference in the Danish capital.
"I will write a letter to the UN Secretary-General [Ban Ki-moon] asking for Iran to be compensated for the damages," he added, pointing out that such a move was necessary to ensure that justice was served.
Ahmadinejad told the reporters the countries that won the Second World War had inflicted a lot of damage on Iran by invading the country and using its resources.
The president added that while the former Soviet Union, the United States and Britain received compensation after the conflict, Iran had been given nothing to make up for the suffering its people had endured.
"During this period, the Iranian people were subjected to a great deal of pressure and the country suffered a great deal of damages but Iran was not paid any compensation," Ahmadinejad explained.
Iran's refusal to give into Allied demands and expel all German nationals from the country was the excuse they needed to occupy the country. Within months of the invasion Iran became known as "The Bridge of Victory" to the Allies.
When invading the Soviet Union in 1941, the Allies urgently needed to transport war materiel across Iran to the Soviet Union.
The effects of the war, however, were very catastrophic for Iran. Food and other essential items were scarce and severe inflation imposed great hardship on the lower and middle classes as the needs of foreign troops were prioritized.
"Not only was Iran deprived of any compensation for World War II, but 10 years later, the Americans even went as far as arranging a coup to reverse a popular uprising that had led to the nationalization of oil," said Ahmadinejad.
In 1953, Washington orchestrated a coup against the popular and democratically-elected Iranian prime minister of the time, Mohammad Mosaddeq, whose efforts led to the nationalization of the country's oil industry.
Almost half a century later, former US secretary of state Madeleine Albright acknowledged the pivotal role that the US played in the coup, coming closer than any other American diplomat to apologizing for the intervention.
"The Eisenhower administration believed its actions were justified for strategic reasons... But the coup was clearly a setback for Iran's political development. And it is easy to see now why many Iranians continue to resent this intervention by America," she said in March 2000.
Ahmadinejad, who had travelled to Copenhagen to take part in the Climate Change Summit, returned to Iran on Saturday morning.