The 1950s were a turbulent time on both sides of the Iron Curtain. With the Second World War over and the star role played by crude oil in its outcome, British and U.S. intelligence agencies wasted no time working out scenarios should the Soviets invade the Middle East.
In hindsight, especially to younger generations, this might seem eccentric, but not to those who remember the Cold War and the paranoia that raged on both sides. In the 50s, the British and U.S. intelligence services were genuinely concerned about a further Soviet expansion, into the Middle East, which at the time was the main source of crude oil for both countries. No wonder the region was a priority security issue for both countries.
The plans were first hatched by U.S. President Truman in 1949, Russian Sputnik writes, citing a number of recently declassified documents from both the UK and the United States.
There were discussions with U.S. intelligence and military authorities on the joint use of nuclear strikes on government-controlled refineries in Iraq and Iran, but there are no documents declassified that state which nuclear plan was eventually approved. In any case, American nuclear strikes on Iranian oil facilities were deemed “the only feasible means of oil denial” for Iran, despite the pro-Western shah.