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3 examples of Britain's crimes in the history of Iran as narrated by Imam Khamenei

The British came to Iran to sit over this treasure (oil). They extracted this treasure and used it up for years. They usurped the Iranian nation’s resources apathetically!

February 3, 1995

My dear people, my brothers and sisters, lack of independence will make a country suffer as such. It will take their national identity away from them. It will take their honours away. It will take their historical background away. It will plunder their financial interests. It will take their language and cultural identity away from them. This is the situation of a country when a power dominates over it. This was the case during colonialism. During the era after colonialism--which is referred to as the era of exploitation—the situation was different. Our country was never colonized, though. Foreign powers were not able to establish a non-Iranian government, for instance, an English government--because the English dominated Iran. The Iranian nation never let this happen. Nevertheless, they expanded their infiltration in Iran, as far as they could, and in places and eras, they could. I will mention four examples of our recent history-- since a hundred years ago. The four examples will show that when a foreign power dominates the political and cultural entities of a country, what the situation of that country and nation would be like.


An example is the case of the Constitutional Revolution. As you know, the autocratic Qajar rule had frustrated the people. The people, the patriots, rose up; and their leaders were religious scholars. The leaders of the Constitutional Revolution included Marja's like late Ayatollah Akhound Khorasani in Najaf, and three eminent scholars in Tehran; namely late Sheikh Fazlollah Nouri, late Sayyid Abdullah Behbahani and late Sayyid Muhammad Tabatabaee. They were backed by the seminary school of Najaf. What did they seek? They sought to establish justice in Iran, by eliminating autocracy. Noticing the enthusiasm of the people, the British government which exercised extensive infiltration in Iran at that time and had agents among the intellectuals, started to give them its own guidelines. Of course, among the true patriots were also some intellectuals; they should be paid due credit. Yet, there were some intellectuals who were mercenaries and agents of Britain. So the Constitutional revolution's form and composition were modified by the British government. Therefore, instead of seeking to apply a system of justice and creating an Iranian composition and formula for establishing justice, these intellectuals brought about the Constitutional Revolution. What was the result? The result was that after a short while, this great popular movement—which was originally formed by following the religious scholars, under the name of the religion and by religion-seeking slogans—ended up in the hanging of Sheikh Fazlullah Nouri in Tehran; this honorable martyr is buried here. Shortly thereafter, Sayyid Abdullah Behbahani was assassinated in his home. After that, Sayyid Muhammad Tabatabaee died in isolation and loneliness. Then they changed the Constitutional revolution into what they wanted: a constitutional revolution that ultimately led to Reza Khan's rule!

The second example is Reza Khan's government. The British had signed a deal with the Qajar government, according to which all the financial and military affairs of Iran were in the hands of the British. The late Sayyid Hassan Modarress, a vigilant scholar, opposed the agreement and did not allow the bill to be approved by the National Consultative Assembly of that day. When the British were deprived of this and saw that they could not reach their goals in this manner, they thought of a new plot. They realized that they had to bring a dictator into power in Iran so he would eliminate individuals like Modarress. He would treat the people with extreme violence; he would comply with the demands of the British. So they brought Reza Khan to power. The story of how Reza Khan became the king in Iran is one of the most important lessons of our history. It's a story that all the youth of this country should know today. The chaos before Reza Khan was eliminated by the coercive methods Reza Khan employed and with the help of the British government, and an imposed and authoritarian order was put in place in the country, which lasted for fifty-five years. Britain’s influence in the political and cultural institutions of our country pressured the people.

The third example is September 16, 1941, when Reza Khan was dismissed by his former patrons and left Iran. Mohammad Reza was brought to power, on the condition that he would be completely submissive to the British! He did whatever they wanted; so there was no need for colonialism! When an Iranian traitor accepts to reign and rule over the Iranian nation with the support of foreign power, and to implement the demands of that foreign power in Iran, why should they [the British] undergo the difficulties of colonialism? instead, they opted for this strategy[...].

October 5, 2000


  • Colonization
  • Crude oil
  • Exploitation
  • Iran's Oil Tanker
  • the UK