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The Lunatics of Havana and Tehran
1960 Cassandra Column Compared CASTRO & MOSSADEGH

Arash Norouzi
The Mossadegh Project
| December 19, 2014      


Will the counter-intuitive angle yield positive results in Cuba? Would a new approach to America’s bitterest foe in the Middle East prove conducive to the freedom movement in Iran? There’s only one way to find out...
Cuban dictator Fidel Castro December 17, 2014 is a historic day in the U.S.-Cuban timeline. After 54 years, the United States and Cuba commenced the normalization of relations for the first time since January 1961. The move includes a coordinated prisoner exchange, the cessation of sanctions, opening up of trade and financial ties, easing of traveling restrictions, the reestablishment of a U.S. embassy, and potential cooperation on other matters, where appropriate.

After over half a century of estrangement, bitterness, failed assassination attempts, and even the chilling taunt of nuclear war, this sudden new direction is seismic. What it will mean to the world remains to be seen, and there is obviously no guarantee that this will lead to regime change in Cuba anytime soon, but it will certainly be a compelling experiment.

The success or failure of this engagement strategy will be highly instructive either way, and is sure to have a significant impact on U.S. foreign policy theorems in general.

President Barack Obama “I do not believe we can keep doing the same thing for over five decades and expect a different result. Moreover, it does not serve America’s interests, or the Cuban people, to try to push Cuba towards collapse. Even if that worked—and it hasn’t for fifty years—we know from hard-earned experience that countries are more likely to enjoy lasting transformation if their people are not subjected to chaos.” — President Barack Obama, Dec. 17, 2014
The diaspora is, naturally, divided. Many Miami Cubans are skeptical, if not outraged, by this development, much the way a large contingent of Beverly Hills Persians are chafed by any degree of engagement with the Islamic Republic of Iran, which doesn’t seem on the verge of collapse either. Yet as President Barack Obama noted, when it comes to influencing regime change in these tyrannies, the undeniable fact is, “isolation has not worked”.




Cassandra (Sir William Neil Connor) Speaking of Cuba and Iran, here’s a lost Cold War relic from the British press about both countries. It was written by Cassandra, the pseudonymous columnist for London’s legendary tabloid The Daily Mirror (est. 1903), which at the time, enjoyed the largest daily circulation in the world. *

William Neil Connor (1909-1967), who took his pen-name from Greek mythology, was not only the “hardest-hitting and most-quoted columnist in Britain”, according to TIME, but could be so acerbic that even the gruff Winston Churchill found the “malevolent” commentator difficult to take. Nevertheless, despite Cassandra’s abrasive style and epic legal battle with entertainer Liberace (who won his 1959 libel suit), his extremely popular column lasted 32 years at the Mirror, ending prematurely due to ill health. In 1966, shortly before his death, he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II.
* The Press: Cassandra of the MirrorTIME, Oct. 11, 1954

Dr. Mohammad Mossadegh In this excerpt from an August 1960 column, which was also distributed in U.S. newspapers, Cassandra dared to equate Cuban Prime Minister Fidel Castro, whose young Communist government was consolidated the year prior, with Dr. Mohammad Mossadegh, the former democratically elected Prime Minister of Iran, who had been overthrown only seven years earlier.

In typical form, Cassandra was loose with the insults, depicting Mossadegh and Castro, who had virtually nothing in common, as brothers from another mother. The only remotely appropriate analogy here would have been CIA maneuvers like Operation Ajax, the covert overthrow of Mossadegh in 1953, its failed Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961, and Operation Northwoods, the CIA’s operational plan to frame Cuba for terrorist attacks in the U.S. in order to justify military intervention there. Yet the first was still basically a secret, and the others hadn’t happened yet.

In Greek mythology, Cassandra is a beautiful princess blessed with the power to foresee the future, yet cursed that no one will ever believe her. In 1960, Cassandra the columnist smugly predicted that Castro wouldn’t be around long. 55 years later, Castro is not only still alive, but the Castro dynasty, now headed by brother Raul Castro, is firmly intact.

One wonders what condition Iran and Cuba will be in half a century from now, and whether or not the policies of today will come back to haunt us—or vindicate us •




Cuban dictator Fidel Castro

Cassandra in The Daily Mirror — Aug. 1960

Castro Following Mossadegh Trail

THE preposterous Fidel Castro of Cuba becomes more and more like the lunatic Mossadegh of Abadan.

Mossadeq talked and talked.

Castro thinks nothing of a terse, monosyllabic address on television lasting four hours.

Mossadegh ran his Government from bed, in between fits of ill health and tears.

Castro seems irreparably sick and only rises from his couch to make lunatic menacing speeches.

Both in their time have been experts at the art of confiscation, which the less discreet call daylight robbery.

Castro has just stolen nearly a billion dollars of United States property in Cuba as well as pinching British and American oil refineries.

Mossadeq came to a ludicrous political end.

So will Castro.


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Related links:

Cuban Dictator Fidel Castro on Mossadegh, Iran, the U.S. and Israel

Students Protest Lack of Human Rights in IranThe Militant, March 30, 1964

Iowa Newspaper Says Elvis Presley Is Untalented (September 14, 1956)



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

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