By: Mir M.Hosseini
During the WWII, Iranians tried their best to use the U.S. as a third option against U.K. and U.S.S.R. Early in February 1943, Iranian officials in Washington entered negotiations with the Standard Vacuum oil company. On Nov, 15, 1943, the Iranian PM Soheili officially asked the American Plenipotentiary minister to convey his majesty's willingness to grant oil concessions to the American companies. Stakes were high and the Royal Dutch Shell company wanted to secure her share of the rich oil fields. Behind the doors, the U.S. and U.K. representatives started negotiations on sharing the oil resources in the Middle East on March, 7, 1944. The two states had already agreed to respect British interests in Southern Persia and Iraq, in return for recognizing U.S. interests in Saudi Arabia.
Iranians were willing to engage Americans in the South East region somehow. The British were not willing to lose their shares while Sinclair, another American company entered competition thus reinforcing Iran's negotiation power.
Saed's cabinet founded a commission and hired two American experts named Curtice and Hoover to study the case and investigate opportunities under Millspaugh's supervision. Operations of this commission were to be kept secret. In August 1944, negotiations between this commission and oil companies had reached a level that the U.S. Ambassador to Tehran publicly announced that a deal would be made soon and a draft would be presented to the parliament for ratification on September, 1st.
Public opinion was generally in favor of such a deal as Iran needed the currency to import necessities. The Soviet Toodeh Party however was discontent with the situation and insisted that no agreement was to be signed before occupation forces left Iran. As the issue heated up in the media, Saed's government was called to the Majlis in June and most of representatives expressed their unhappiness with the situation. Meanwhile, the Soviet government sent a mission to Iran in order to discuss such oil concessions. In the end, no new agreements could be made but this event somehow marked the beginning of the U.S. active policy in Iran.