At the Gates of Tehran
The possibility that — by purchasing Iranian crude — Israel could some day evade the grip of the Arab blockade and still take advantage of its proximity to the largest source of Middle Eastern oil, had long been entertained by Israeli policy-makers. In early 1950, Israel and Iran established unofficial political relations based on de facto recognition which enabled both sides to engage in economic diplomacy. A year later the possibility of Israeli purchases of Persian crude oil was first mentioned by Iranian officials.1 1951 was a starting point for two reasons. First, in March of that year the Majlis in Tehran passed a law nationalizing Iran’s oil industry.2 The ensuing crisis in relations between Britain and Iran culminated in the expulsion of British oil experts late in September and the consequent interruption of petroleum production. This explains Iran’s frantic efforts to export its oil despite the determined attempts by British Petroleum to prevent it.3 Second, as shown earlier, it was just then that Israel established its own oil importing and distributing company, thus a convergence of interests emerged.
KeywordsBritish Company Suez Canal British Petroleum Diplomatic Relation Economic Diplomacy
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- 1.See Bialer, ‘The Iranian Connection in Israel’s Foreign Policy’, loc. cit. On Israeli-Iranian relations, see R. Reppa, Israel and Iran: Bilateral Relationships and Effects on the Indian Ocean Basin (New York, 1974); G. Weinbaum, ‘Iran and Israel: The Discreet Entente’, Orbis, XVIII, 4, 1975, pp. 1070–87Google Scholar
- R. Ramazani, ‘Iran and the Arab-Israeli Conflict’, Middle East Journal, 32, 1978, pp. 413–28Google Scholar