The Complex and Troubled Relationship Between England and Iran

TLDR The relationship between England and Iran has a long and complex history, with England initially becoming interested in Iran due to its dominance in India and shared cultural similarities. However, over time, the relationship has been characterized by admiration, disappointment, exploitation, and resentment, leading to a sense of betrayal among both Iranians and British diplomats.

Timestamped Summary

00:00 The podcast episode discusses the long and troubled relationship between England and Iran, including the cultural differences and the history of their awareness of each other.
04:49 The relationship between England and Iran is complex and historically rooted, with England's initial interest in Iran stemming from its dominance in India and the shared cultural idioms between the two countries.
08:56 Iran emerges from a period of political turmoil in the 18th century and becomes a traditional pre-modern state facing the modernizing powers of Britain and Russia, with the Iranians being fascinated by the British and their Enlightenment ideals, leading to a complex relationship between Iran and England.
13:06 Visitors from Iran in the early 19th century are impressed by the concepts of liberty, freedom, newspapers, economic development, and industry in England, as well as the political system of Tories and Whigs, leading them to see the British model as attractive and a potential guide for their own modernization efforts.
17:24 The relationship between Iran and Britain in the 19th century is characterized by admiration and disappointment, with Iranians looking to Britain as a model for modernization and democracy but feeling let down when the English fail to deliver on their expectations.
21:34 In the 20th century, Britain's relationship with Iran takes a downturn as the discovery of oil in Iran leads to the country becoming a strategically important asset for the British, despite the ongoing constitutional revolution in Iran.
26:05 Britain's economic concessions and exploitation of Iran's oil resources, coupled with their late entry into World War I and occupation of the country during World War II, create a legacy of resentment and political turbulence among ordinary Iranians.
30:27 The end of World War II and the rise of America as a dominant power leads to Iranians realizing that America is the "great Satan" and Britain is demoted to the "little Satan," which sets the stage for the oil nationalization crisis of 1951-53.
34:49 The 1953 coup in Iran was as much British-inspired as it was American-inspired, with the British playing a significant role in devising and planning the coup, and the critical factor being that the Eisenhower government gave the go ahead for the operation.
39:07 The Iranian revolutionaries view Britain as the source of evil and still talk about it as the evil state, believing that Britain controls America today.
43:25 The general public in Iran has a more nuanced appreciation of Britain, with less adherence to the official narrative, and Iranian footballers have openly supported protests against the government, causing difficulty for the government due to their immense popularity.
47:38 The British have historically been seen as an eternal enemy of Iran, with Iranians viewing them as cunning and disappointed by their policies, leading to a sense of betrayal among Iranians and British diplomats alike.
Categories: History

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