Oil Nationalization Day is a public holiday in Iran. It is a day off for the general population, and schools and most businesses are closed.
Nationalization of Oil Industry Day
Oil Nationalization Day, also known as the Nationalization of Oil Industry Day, is an important historical event that occurred in Iran on April 20, 1951. It was a momentous day for the Iranian people, as it marked the nationalization of the country’s oil industry and the transfer of control from foreign powers to the Iranian government.
Before the nationalization, Iran’s oil industry was controlled by a consortium of British oil companies, known as the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (AIOC), which had been granted exclusive rights to explore and exploit Iran’s oil reserves. The AIOC had been operating in Iran since the early 1900s and had grown into a powerful entity that controlled every aspect of Iran’s oil production, from exploration and extraction to refining and marketing.
However, the Iranian government and people were growing increasingly dissatisfied with the AIOC’s dominance over their country’s most valuable natural resource. In 1951, under the leadership of Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh, the Iranian parliament passed a bill to nationalize the country’s oil industry and take control of the AIOC’s assets.
The AIOC, backed by the British government, refused to accept the nationalization and imposed a blockade on Iran’s oil exports, which led to a severe economic crisis in the country. Mossadegh, however, remained steadfast in his commitment to the nationalization and refused to back down.
In response, the British government, with the support of the United States, orchestrated a coup against Mossadegh’s government in 1953, which resulted in his arrest and imprisonment. The coup installed a pro-Western government that reversed the nationalization and returned control of Iran’s oil industry to the AIOC, which later became known as British Petroleum (BP).
Despite the coup’s success in reversing the nationalization, Oil Nationalization Day remains an important event in Iran’s history, symbolizing the Iranian people’s struggle for independence and control over their country’s resources. The event is still commemorated annually in Iran, with public ceremonies and speeches honoring the courage and determination of those who fought for the nationalization of Iran’s oil industry.