- This northernmost region of Iran was occupied by the Soviet Union during World War II. The Russians had indicated, both at the Tehran Conference and the Potsdam Conference, that they would withdraw at war’s end. However, in response to growing U.S. interest in the Iranian oilfields and separatist movements in the region, in December 1945 they established pro-Soviet provincial governments in Azerbaijan and neighboring Kurdistan. The crisis helped to convince President Harry S. Truman that the Soviets were intent on a policy of expansionism that should be resisted. Accordingly, the United States exerted diplomatic pressure both directly and through the United Nations and also increased the U.S. naval presence in the eastern Mediterranean. Faced with this opposition and promised oil concessions in Iran, Soviet forces withdrew in April 1946. Following this crisis, the policy of containment was extended to the Near East, and aid given to the Iranian government enabled them to regain control of the northern provinces.
Historical Dictionary of the Roosevelt–Truman Era . Neil A. Wynn . 2015.
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