WHAT is going on in the Persian Gulf? In case your favorite news channel hasn’t reported this morning’s British/Iranian clash, let me take a moment to get you up to speed. At 10:30 local time, while on patrol in a disputed region of the Persian Gulf, 15 British sailors were captured by Iranian forces. So far, the sailors are reported to be unharmed, and the British government is demanding their immediate release.
Now, assuming you have heard any of this in your local newscasts, I’m betting you didn’t hear this next part. The so-called ‘incident’ took place near the city of Abadan (an interesting name to say the least — see Revelation 9:11). While I won’t go into the entire history behind the British government and the nation of Iran, let me center on the important dots to connect regarding today’s incident. Abadan is a very small coastal city whose main – some might say only — function is serving as home to the British built Abadan oil refinery.BP Oil (British Petroleum) grew out of several ‘root’ companies. One of those companies started in 1909 with the discovery of a huge oil field in Masjed Soleiman, Iran. The D’Arcy Concession was a 60-year oil lease between the Shah of Iran (Mozzafar al-Din Shah Qajar, a leader said to be of Turkish descent and hated by Iranians) and William Knox D’Arcy This concession formed one root of today’s BP Oil company in the form of the Anglo-Persian Oil Company (APOC).
Through the ensuing decades, oil rights became a tug-of-war rope between Britain and Iran. Disagreements over percentages, pricing, and property came and went with each new set of politicians. The Brits built a massive oil refinery at the pipeline terminus, in the small city of Abadan. This refinery continues to operate today despite a number of attacks throughout the decades.
Following World War II, interference by the Soviet Union in Iranian politics (despite Iran’s stance of remaining neutral at all times) along with rising anti-Shah sentiments culminated in the Abadan Crisis in 1951, when Iranian rebels toppled the monarchy and nationalized the oil fields. Though Truman refused to assist Britain in regaining the fields and the precious oil, Dwight Eisenhower agreed, and in 1953, Operation Ajax restored the Shah to power, and oil revenues once again flowed into western pockets.
Do you think Iranians still remember British intervention in local politics? Is it possible the ‘incident’ in the Persian Gulf near Abadan was meant as a warning to both UK and US oil companies?Keep an eye on the gas pump. Oil will soon be heading up again.