Ray O. Evans, Jr.
In 1941, the Soviet Union and Great Britain invaded Iran in an attempt to expel Axis troops during World War II. This opened a route, called the “bridge of victory,” for Americans to supply Russian troops. On January 29, 1942, a treaty formalized the occupation of Iran by the British, Russians, and, eventually, Americans. The treaty assured that the occupiers would leave Iran within six months after a cessation of hostilities.
Iran recognized the end of hostilities as V. E. Day, March 8, 1945. However, Soviet troops were still in Iran in January of 1946. Josef Stalin, in his quest to continue occupying Iran, cited an earlier doctrine, the Russo-Iranian Treaty, which allowed “temporary Russian occupation in the event of other Powers using Iran as a base for attack on Russia.” Stalin had declared capitalism to be a threat to Russia.
Iran protested the procrastination of Russian withdrawal. With western powers gone, American and British diplomats backed the Iranian protest. According to the New York Times, this occupation was the United Nations’ first serious test. The New York Times reported that there was continued antagonism between Britain and Russia over the Iran issue through the remainder of the 1940s.