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Occupation and Sovereignty: Britain and Iran’s Road to the United Nations, 1941–1946

November 4, 2022 @ 1:00 pm - 5:00 pm EDT

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University of Toronto

Elahé Omidyar Mir-Djalali Institute of Iranian Studies
The Elahé Omidyar Mir-Djalali Lecture Series

in collaboration with
The Encyclopaedia Iranica Foundation


Occupation and Sovereignty:

Britain and Iran’s Road to the United Nations, 1941–1946

Dr. Rowena Abdul Razak

London School of Economics and Political Science

Friday, 4 November 2022, 1:00 P.M. Eastern Time (Canada and the US)

Zoom Registration:



Rowena Abdul Razak received her DPhil in Oriental Studies from the University of Oxford where she looked at the Tudeh Party in British policy during the Second World War and early Cold War. She is currently a Guest Teacher at the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Abstract: During the Second World War, Britain was the key member of an alliance fighting for democracy and a free world from the occupying forces of Germany in Europe and of Japan in the Far East. At the same time, somewhat ironically, Britain had the uncomfortable position of being an occupying force in Iran. A few months after the invasion of Iran, the concept of the United Nations was sketched out by President Franklin D Roosevelt and Prime Minister Winston Churchill in December 1941. While notions of inter-governmental cooperation and the protection of liberty were the cornerstones of this international organisation, Britain actively and deliberately intervened in a neutral country and bypassed Iran’s national sovereignty in order to prioritise its needs. By keeping to the timeframe of Britain’s occupation of Iran, “Occupation and Sovereignty” examines not only this uncomfortable dichotomy, but also the implications of British governmental attitude towards Iran’s eventual membership to the United Nations in 1945.



November 4, 2022
1:00 pm - 5:00 pm EDT