In May 1929 the operations of the Anglo-Persian Oil Company in Abadan in south-western Iran were shaken by a series of demonstrations and strikes. This sudden eruption of industrial militancy, and the rudimentary workers’ organization which tried to give it shape and leadership, was rapidly suppressed by the combined and coordinated action of the oil company and the local Iranian authorities. Yet this episode, the first major industrial unrest which Iran had ever experienced, has come to be regarded as a landmark both in Iran’s domestic political history and in the history of its relationship with the British-owned oil concession, the Abadan protests dramatically announcing the arrival of a new factor in Iranian politics, an organized working class, and the potency of a new type of protest, the industrial strike…

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