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(VICTORS against the DEFEATED – continued)

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VICTORS against the DEFEATED (5 of 7)

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The Soviet Union in East Europe and Iran

In addition to occupying its zone in Germany, and half of Austria, Russian troops were in Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary and Czecho-Slovakia. (A summary of Anne Applebaum's 2012 book, Iron Curtain, is here.)

Slovakia's wartime leader, Tiso, was among those to whom the Soviet occupation was unkind. He was charged as a war criminal and hanged. Tiso, a Catholic priest, had not been in charge of a victorious army. Stalin had more tanks than had Tiso.

The Soviet Union and Great Britain had agreed in 1942 that they would evacuate Iran within six months from the end of the war. Soviet troops had been in Iran with British troops supposedly to keep oil from falling into German hands. At the end of the war the Soviet Union maneuvered for control of the oil in Iran's north, near the Soviet border. Kurdistan and Azerbaijan had been provinces of northern Iran and were occupied by the Russians, and in September 1945 some Azerbaijanis rebelled against their Iranian overlords and gained Russian support, and there was rebellion in Kurdistan. The British were out of Iran by March 1946, but the Russians remained.

In 1946 Iran complained to the United Nations about the presence of Soviet troops and Soviet interference in internal Iranian matters. On the Security Council in the United Nations the Soviet Union failed to get a postponement of a debate on the issue. The Soviet UN Ambassador walked out. The Security Council kept the issue alive and the issue was resolved by the Soviet Union talking directly with Iran and agreeing to withdraw.

The Russians and Iranians agreed to the creation of an Iran-Soviet oil company – the Iranians happy to deal with the Russians rather than the British. Iran was to have 51 percent share of the company, the Soviet Union 49 percent. A part of agreement was that Russia was to return the provinces of Azerbaijan and Turkestan to Iran. And Stalin readily let the revolutions in those places slide for the sake of access to oil. On May 9, 1946, the Soviet Union pulled out of Iran, and Iran moved into Azerbaijan and Kurdistan and severely punished its rebels.

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