By: Mir M.Hosseini
At the Arlington cemetery in Texas, U.S.A. lies Robert Whitney Imbrie who became victim of a mob attack in Tehran. The unfortunate event created a scar in the face of the Iranian history. It was the time of a transition from Qajar to Pahlavi dynasty after the collapse of the republican movement in March.
The Bolshevik Russians waived from their disputed rights on northern Iran and Standard Oil had been granted the oil drilling rights in the area. But soon it was clear that Standard Oil was sharing the oil field with British Petroleum against Iran's will. These two companies had formed an alliance with the Dutch Royal Shell that was indeed a petroleum mafia before becoming a legitimate cartel. Soon after Standard Oil refused Iran's demand to share the income, Major Robert W. Imbrie, U. S. Vice Consul at Tehran also representing Sinclair started negotiations with Ghavamossaltaneh government to make a deal for Iran's northern oil fields. Sinclair accepted all conditions putting forward by Iran including a ten million dollar loan. However, behind the scenes, a conspiracy was forming.
On a Friday morning July, 24 Major Imbrie and Seymour, his companion, visited a place in Sheikh Hadi district; said to be a sacred well in order to take some photographs. Suddenly, their carriage was attacked by a mob crowd with sticks and stones shouting they were Bahais who had poisoned the well. The carriage conductor was killed and a soldier swiftly replaced him to reach Imbrie to a nearby hospital. Even after his unconscious body reached the police hospital, the mob forced its way into the operating room and continued to attack him. Imbrie had received more than forty wounds when he died. Court martial got busy and Private Morteza was found guilty of having incited the mob to kill Vice Consul Imbrie. The day preceding the execution of Private Morteza, the Persian Government handed the U. S. Charge d'Affaires at Tehran, a check for $60,000; the sum fixed by U.S. Government for payment by the Persian Government to Mrs. Imbrie as reparation for the loss sustained by the death of her husband. Sinclair left Iran for good and Iranian opposition entered a period of silence until 1951 when oil industry was nationalized.
On August 10, 1924, in a secret and strictly confidential report to the U.S. Secretary of State by the American Consular Service in Tehran, a detailed analysis of the murder and the British direct and indirect role in the misfortunate event had been verified.
73 years after the first revolution in 1906, Iran became the scene of general strikes, protests and public uprisings in 1979 that led to a change of regime but the mafia never left the state of Iran , as declared by the president of what is now called the Islamic Republic. Iran and the U.S. have no formal diplomatic relations.