Mohammad Mossadegh — Born June 16, 1882

Birthdate of the Iranian Prime Minister

Ebrahim Norouzi, MD

The Mossadegh Project | May 24, 2005                     

Mossadegh's hand written note The actual birthdate of Dr. Mossadegh is the subject of some speculation. The most common date cited in published materials is May 20, 1882 — the date that Dr. Mossadegh himself believed to be true. May 19, 1882 also appears in different writings. Yet our conclusion is that Mossadegh was actually born nearly a month later.

In his handwritten note shown here, Mossadegh writes the Islamic Lunar Calendar date of 29 Rajab 1299 or May 20, 1882 and the Iranian Solar Calendar date of 29 Ordibehesht 1261 as his birth date. These numbers, however, do not correspond with today’s digital calendar converters. In this case, the date for the Iranian and Gregorian calendars match, but not the date for the Islamic calendar.

In his book Mohammad Mossadegh: A Political Biography, Mossadegh’s nephew Farhad Diba arrives at a more divergent date: 26 Khordad 1261 (June 16, 1882). Diba attributes the source of the discrepancy to the following:

“When he decided to leave for Europe, he was obliged to register his date of birth and obtain an identity card as a prerequisite for a passport. The usual tradition was for parents to write the date of birth of their children on the inside cover of the family Koran. Since this Koran was not on hand, Mossadegh registered with section (Precinct) 3 of Tehran police, and there was confusion in converting the Arabic (Ghamari) year into the Iranian (Shamsi) calendar effectively making him older than he really was... In any case, the family Koran was eventually found in the last decade of his life, proving his age beyond doubt.”

Although the Koran page Diba refers to is either lost or unavailable, Diba adds, “...equivalence of the dates is at variance with Mossadegh’s own handwritten version, because the base date of 29 Rajab 1299 (Ghamari / lunar year), when correctly calculated, gives the Gregorian and Iranian (solar) calendar dates given here”, meaning Friday June 16, 1882 or the date of 26 Khordad 1261 (Iranian Solar Calendar).

Since 29 Rajab 1299 appears in both Mossadegh’s note and Diba’s discussion of the issue, one can determine that this is the correct date. The Islamic calendar was probably used more commonly in Iran during that period, and the date written in the Koran could have only been of this nature.

We conclude that by all accounts the correct date of birth for Dr. Mohammad Mossadegh is 29th of Rajab 1299 (Islamic Lunar Calendar) corresponding to 26 Khordad 1261 (Iranian Solar Calendar), or Friday June 16, 1882.


Related links:

Mossadegh’s Handwritten Will from 1965

August 19, 1953: The Day Iran’s Democracy Died

Mossadegh’s Final Hours as Prime Minister (interview)

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

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