MOHAMMED REZA SHAH'S recent good-will visit to the United States has again drawn American attention to his strategically important country. Iran is due to receive a small amount of aid under the Foreign Arms Aid Bill passed in the last session of Congress; and the initiation of a Seven-Year Plan of Iranian self-development and improvement in coöperation with western, especially American, technical aid and advice has recently been announced. These events call for an appraisal of the present situation and future possibilities in Iran, and of American foreign policy there.
The first skirmish in the struggle between Russia and the west in the Security Council of the United Nations took place over Iran. The Soviet Union failed to withdraw Soviet troops from Iran by March 2, 1946, as she was pledged to do under the Tripartite Treaty of 1942, and when Iran, with a notable display of nerve and coolness carried the matter to the Council, the pressure of western diplomacy and of world opinion focused in the United Nations forced the Soviets to climb down. It was not until the close of 1946, however, that the Azerbaijan rebellion was liquidated and the integrity of Iranian territory reëstablished. Iranian independence of choice and action was proved in practice in the fall of 1947 when the Iranian Parliament rejected the Soviet-backed oil agreement between the two countries. This was possible because Iran received the diplomatic support of the Western Powers, under vigorous American leadership, and felt confident that the United Nations would support her if the U.S.S.R. resorted to aggression.
Iran is accustomed to the policy of adroitly balancing opposing Powers against each other, but during the last two years she has been increasingly forced into open alliance with the west by the Kremlin's machinations. The Soviets have continued to create tension and friction within the country, have perpetrated annoying border incidents and persisted in radio and press attacks upon the government. Most serious of all is the constant attempt by the
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