Green Years ...

Friday, December 17, 2004

Oil, Democracy: Struggle

Iran is the OPEC's second largest oil producer and holds 10% of the world's proven oil reserves after Saudi Arabia. It also has the world's second largest natural gas reserves after Russia.

Should an Iranian be happy? .... Let's briefly look into this chronology:

January 1906: There was first semi-revolutionary demand for people's right in kingdom government of Iran, which was kind of successful and led to a mixture of elected parliament along with non-elected leader (the king that time). This situation lasted essentially with lots of ups and downs till today. Most of the time non-elected part had some superiority on elected part.

1908: Discovery of oil in Iran after seven years of search, then founding Anglo-Persian oil company by Britain with >80% of benefit for Britain. Since then, oil became a very important issue there.

1951: An elected government came to the power with real democratic power. He nationalized oil through a successfully lawful process in World Court against Britain.

1953: The second coup against the elected government led by Britain and US brought the king back into the power along with oil for Britain.

1970’s: OPEC was founded. Oil price increased too much

1979: Revolution in Iran: The king again escaped from the country. Iran held oil for a while, oil price went up again.

1980-88: War between Iran and Iraq

1990-91: Persian Gulf War (south and south west Iran): Because Iraq had occupied oil reservoirs of the country of Kuwait

Late 1990's: Discovery of huge reservoirs of oil in Caspian sea area (north of Iran). The most economic pathway to transfer this oil to the industrial countries besides pathway through Iran was through Afghanistan.

2001: War in Afghanistan (east of Iran)

2003: War in Iraq (west of Iran) .......and the story goes on ...

So as you can see, oil has become a very unfortunate reservoir for Iranian people, because always there was kind of conflict (coup, war, revolution, ...) that was somehow related to oil/big oil company's need which finally prevented politically open society.

History shows that the tendency for having a real democracy has been in people, and lots of them had been killed, arrested or... Since 1906, but there was a very small bit of progress over a century!

I am sure that if there was no oil in Iran, democracy would be established a long long time ago. Oil has just helped the anti-democracy dictatorships (from super religious to anti-religious) stay in the power.


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