Nationalization of Oil Industry

Without religious scholars nationalization of oil wouldn't progress: Ayatollah Khamenei


How were the movement for nationalization of oil industry and the Islamic Revolution different?

One may compare the Islamic Revolution to the movement for nationalization of oil, which was a historic event in our country: the people stepped into the arena, the people were present, which is why it is known as a national movement among political activists. What were the demands of the movement for nationalization of oil? The demands were minimal. They were not after economic independence. They were not after political independence. They were not after total independence. Our oil was in the hands of the English. The demand of the movement for nationalization of the oil industry was to take away the privilege from the English. We wanted to have control over our own oil resources. This was not an extravagant demand. Of course, it was important, but it would not lead to total independence of the country.


During that movement, the people stepped into the arena just like they did during the Revolution and certain events took place, but the movement did not last more than two, three years. The movement was alive for only two, three years. The enemy managed to suppress the movement and put an end to it. After the movement had been suppressed, the terms of the contract with the English were made even worse for Iran. That is to say, the agreement that was reached after the events of the 28th of Mordad was much worse than the agreement that had been reached earlier. If the oil industry was in the hands of the English before the movement, afterwards it passed into the hands of the English as well as the Americans. Our oil resources were in the hands of our enemies and these conditions did not change until the victory of the Revolution. The goal of the Islamic Revolution was not just to nationalize the oil industry. The Islamic Revolution was after total independence: political independence, economic independence, cultural independence. The Islamic Revolution started with these slogans and it was not comparable with the movement for nationalization of the oil industry. The nationalization movement did not last long. In contrast, the Islamic Revolution achieved victory and permanence.


Statements made during an address to the people of Qom; January 9, 2016.


Ayatollah Kashani provided the introduction to the movement of the nationalization of oil industry 


What brought the people to the arena during the Constitutional Movement was the presence of first-tier scholars such as the late Sheikh Fazlollah Noori, the late Sayyid Mohammad Tabatabai, and the late Sayyid Abdullah Behbahani. These were great scholars. There were great scholars in Tehran, Tabriz and Isfahan. The same is true of other cities. The same is true of Fars. Great ulama (scholars) stepped forward and the people followed them. However, the English were cleverer than us in this regard. They created discord both among ulama and among the people.

In Tehran, they created discord between those great personalities and the great Shahid Sheikh Fazlollah Noori. Sheikh Fazlollah Noori, who was the first scholar trying to establish the Constitutional Movement, was hanged with the accusation that he was opposed to the Constitutional Movement! This was what they did. They drew the people towards the [English] embassy and some people offered the Constitutional Movement to the English in the easiest way possible! And the Constitutional Movement resulted in the emergence of Reza Khan and 50, 60 years of backwardness in our country. However, it was the beginning of religious movement in our country anyway.

Another example is the nationalization of oil industry. Notice that these events form history. The reason why I constantly say that you should read and deliberate on history is this. If it had not been for ulama and religious motivation, the nationalization of oil industry would certainly not have moved forward. Everyone should know this. Ayatollah Kashani provided the introduction to this movement. And his supporter was a marja taqlid like the late Sayyid Mohammad Taqi Khansari in Qom.

The promoters of this thought were a group of people in Qom and a religious scholar, a first-tier minbari, and an outstanding religious, eloquent and intellectual activisit in our Mashhad. These were the promoters of that national movement. And the people entered the arena because of religion. Later on, when they separated Ayatollah Kashani from the movement, isolated ulama and put religious personalities aside, Mosaddeq was defeated. As long as religion and religious faith were in the arena, the movement was progressing. However, when this element was taken away from it, the movement stopped, it was defeated and the opposite happened. An American with a suitcase full of money came to Tehran and disrupted everything.


Statements made during a public address to the people of Qom; January 8, 2017.