Oil, Labour and Empire: Abadan in WWII Occupied Iran

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

By uncovering and scrutinizing the politics of labour during the Second World War in the world’s biggest oil refinery – located in the city of Abadan in Iran’s southwestern province of Khuzistan – this article aims to strengthen our understanding of the Second World War in the Middle East generally and our understanding of the role of oil company power in Iran specifically. By analysing changes in and around the urban oil industry complex at Abadan, the present article will thus provide new insights into British imperial strategy in the context of the 1941–1946 British–Soviet occupation of Iran. We argue that the Anglo–Iranian Oil Company, in partial concert with British state and military actors and institutions, managed to turn threats and challenges arising from the war into opportunities for expanding power and experimenting with a new security regime that was designed to curb rising socialist and anti-colonial nationalist activism. This overlapping history of the Second World War, oil, labour and empire, then, is not only key to a fuller understanding of Iran, the Middle East and the world on the cusp of the Cold War but can also contribute to the historical analysis of energy imperialism.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBritish Journal of Middle Eastern Studies
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)142-159
Publication statusPublished - 2023

ID: 235072245