More Rim Shots From the Mossadegh Era (1950’s)

Arash Norouzi
The Mossadegh Project | January 21, 2021                               

In our continuing quest to become the #1 comedy web site on the internet, here’s an assortment of gags and jabs during the oil nationalization movement in Iran. Yuk it up!

May 2, 1951

Something new happened in Iran, where they struck oil by act of Parliament.

[Oil was nationalized on April 28, 1951.]

The Boston Globe (Boston, Massachusetts)

May 14, 1951

“The new premier of Iran has a habit of breaking into tears.” Overcome with poignant sorrow for the taxpayer, perhaps. Uncle Louis will doubtless note, and heave a heartfelt sigh.

[Refers to U.S. technical aid to Iran via Point Four.]

Once Over Lightly by T.D.F. (columnist Thomas D’Arcy Finn)

May 15, 1951

The bones of “three pinheaded men” who lived 75,000 years ago have been dug up in Iran. So there were “pinheads” back in those days too!

[Not necessarily a “dig” on Iranians, but maybe.]

Once Over Lightly by T.D.F. (columnist Thomas D’Arcy Finn)

May 22, 1951

Little Iran is making loud and belligerent noises at Britain and US. Could it be the vodka talking?

[Innuendo apparently implying oil nationalization was Soviet-backed or inspired, though Iran also had its own vodka industry.]

The Palm Beach Post (West Palm Beach, Florida)

June 26, 1951

Iran now has a big oil plant, all right, and the Iranians are as well equipped to run it as the Eskimoes are to handle atomic energy.

[A major British and American talking point.]

The Boston Globe (Boston, Massachusetts)

July 1951

Our ambassador to Iran, Henry F. Grady, would like to be relieved of his duties just as soon as possible. Perhaps he feels that entirely too much oil has been poured on the troubled water.

[Grady resigned that September, at odds with his own government’s handling of the crisis.]

The Kansas City Times (Kansas City, Missouri)

July 13-14, 1951

The grammarian who also reads the headlines wants to know whether Irate is the past tense of Iran.

The Old Paragrapher column as published in The Herald and Review (Decatur, Illinois) and The Southern Illinoisan (Carbondale, Illinois)

October 1, 1951

The Iranian press blasts the United States as the villain in its oil row. You stop to watch a fight, and look what happens.

The Southern Illinoisan (Carbondale, Illinois)

October 19, 1951

In this country a man with such prolific tear ducts as Premier Mossadegh almost inevitably would have become a great football coach.

The Globe-Gazette (Mason City, Iowa)

October 24, 1951


Had a bit of cat and dog trouble a few weeks ago. Both the family pets “went west” in the one week. Now I believe we are to have the company of a Persian Kitten. An immediate name has been chosen. It is “Mossadeq”—the Persian gent who is causing the British so much bother. Don’t you think that “Mossy” sounds “oil” right.

[The phrase “went west” here means either the pets ran away or died.]

The Kiama Independent (New South Wales, Australia)

April 26, 1952


“What makes Iran’s Premier Mohammed Mossadegh weep and faint in public?” asks Dr. C. H.

The American doctors who recently examined him in a New York hospital found nothing wrong except abnormally low blood pressure.

Some attribute, therefore, his tears and fainting to an almost insane hatred that gets the better of him every time he thinks about the British. Others believe that he is deliberately “hamming” in order to impress his extremely excitable compatriots. It is a fact that he did not weep or faint in public while in this country.

Edgar Ansel Mowrer (General Features Corp.) syndicated column

September 13, 1952


IT has been said that much good value has been lost to the industrial and commercial world by the devaluation of a man’s work because he is a bit over the usual employment age. Well, how about 75-year-old Hjalmar Schacht, who was Hitler’s financial genius. How much of a hand he had in making a mess of Hitler I couldn’t say, but he has served his term as a war criminal and is going to Persia to help Mossadeq square accounts with Persia and the rest of the world. Some people wouldn’t employ Schacht, but Mossadeq is looking for a magician.

From a column in The Examiner (Launceston, Tasmania, Australia)

August 15, 1953


PERSIAN police have arrested several people in Teheran alleged to have forged more than 1,000 false passports for Moslems wishing to make the pilgrimage to Mecca.

They said the passports, which cost 10,000 rials (£42), were perfect except for the letters “P” and “R” in “passport.”

“Odd Spots From the News” column in The Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners’ Advocate (New South Wales, Australia)

August 19, 1953

Rimes and Remnants

“Phaw!” said the Shah,
“Things look quite blue,”
Jumped in his plane
And flew the coup.

The Chicago Daily Tribune (Chicago, Illinois)

August 30, 1953

“We need Texas to win the next world war just as much as England. Mark my words, if the British succeed in doing us out of Texas, it will be only a matter of time until we wake up some morning and find that Brooklyn also is missing. It’s a shame, but a nation has to keep everything nailed down these days.

England may get back the Anglo-Arabian Oil Co. and maybe not. [sic—Anglo-Iranian Oil Company] But in case the Shah doesn’t do so good with the Nationalists in Iran, Texas would be an ace in the hole, and the hole brimful of that lovely black gold known poetically as oil.”

Syndicated columnist Inez Robb (INS)

November 11, 1953

It’s nice to think that Mossadeq
Is getting it right in the peg.

From the column DAY by DAY by Arthur Richards in The Courier-Mail (Brisbane, Australia)

Filling in the Gaps: How Newspaper Layouts Squeezed Every Last Inch
Filling in the Gaps: How Newspaper Layouts Squeezed Every Last Inch


Related links:

One Man’s Opinion: Radio/TV Personality Walter Kiernan on Iran

No Tears For Tearful Mossadeq | The Weekly Times, Sept. 2, 1953

Richard Murray’s Greatest Iran Quips | Sunday Times (Perth, Australia) column, 1951-54

MOSSADEGH t-shirts — “If I sit silently, I have sinned”

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