On December 1st, Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad sent a letter to Esfandiar Rahim Mashai, the head of Iran administration, requesting him to create a special group of experts dealing with legal, economic, historical and political issues. The group would estimate the sum of damages caused to Iran during World War II and the occupation by the former Soviet Union, the United States and Britain and demand compensation for these damages from the world community.
He said that World War II was unleashed deliberately to re-divide the world and enslave Iran. At the start of World War II, Iran declared its neutrality, but was soon invaded by Britain and the Soviet Union.
The USSR indeed participated in the invasion of Iran in 1941-46. The occupation was undertaken on the proposal of the English government, rightfully concerned that Teheran was inclined to help Germany with oil supplies. There was also a real threat to the anti-Hitler coalition and English colonies from the Iranian Army.
Earlier, Iran declined the offer of Great Britain and the USSR to locate British and Soviet troops on its territory. The raging world war strengthened the concerns about the intentions of the Iranian government. In 1941, the country was invaded under Operation Countenance.
The Soviet Union had to bring from its front a large group consisting of three armies. As a result, Soviet and British troops occupied the northern and southern parts of the country nearly without losses. Soon they were joined by the Americans.
England and the USA managed to sign beneficial contracts with the Iranian government regarding oil. American and English companies received significant preferences in the development of the country’s oil market. The USSR had nothing to do with it.
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad does not seem to care who is to blame exactly and for what. In his letter, he stated that the damage caused to the nations by the world super powers was hard to estimate. He said that those who blamed Iran for violation of human rights have committed serious crimes themselves, forcing their dictatorship, war, occupation, and murder on others.
“This was a period of the colonial division of the world when powerful countries divided smaller ones into spheres of influence at their own discretion. Theoretically, many countries can file similar claims, including China, “Sergey Demidenko, an expert of the Institute for Strategic Evaluation and Analysis, told Pravda.ru.
However, history is not the main point here. Historical claims appear when the relations between two countries cool off significantly. This is exactly what is going on between Russia and Iran.
Today, Russia has to change its policy towards Iran. Iran used to feel very secure behind Russia’s back. Now the situation has changed. Russia used to reject all anti-Iran sanctions proposed by the West, but it can no longer do it without ruining its reputation. Iran has refused to accept Russia’s proposal regarding the nuclear issue and it would have been surprising if Russia continued to have Iran’s back.
Obviously, the Iranian government is annoyed that Russia cooperated with the US and Israel and refused to supply them with C-300 missile system. The never-ending construction project of Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant and other issues also add to Iran’s frustrations. The Iranian government believes that Russia hampers these projects and does not fulfill its obligations.
Many believe that Iran is not a Russian ally. It observes its own interests only, including in its relations with Russia.
Filing claim against Russia would be a short-sighted act. If the Iranian government decides to follow through with it, it will lose the investments for the development of its oil and gas market. Today, Russia is the only county that provides these investments. China currently does not have required technology for gas production and is not willing to take risks investing money in the country that is fighting the rest of the world.