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History of BP
Ted Rudow III,MA, On e-mailThe history of the company we now call BP over the last hundred years has really traced the arc of global transactional capitalism. The Anglo-Persian oil company, guaranteed itself, or won the right to own, all of Iran's oil. So, nobody in Iran had any right to drill for oil or extract oil or sell oil.
Then, the British government decided to buy the company. So, Parliament passed a law and bought 51 percent of that company. And all during the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s, the entire standard of living that people in England enjoyed was supported by oil from Iran. So, that became a fundamental foundation of British life.
After World War II, when the winds of nationalism and anti-colonialism were blowing throughout the developing world, Iranians developed this idea: “we've got to take our oil back.” It was Mosaddegh's desire, supported by a unanimous vote of the democratically elected parliament of Iran, to nationalise what was then the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company.
The British and their partners in the United States fiercely resisted this. And when they were unable to prevent it from happening, they organised the overthrow of Mosaddegh in 1953. So that overthrow not only produced the end of the Mosaddegh government, but the end of democracy in Iran, and that set off all these other following consequences.