Anything But Him

August 20, 1953 — U.S. Editorial

The Mossadegh Project | July 17, 2018                      

Exit, Weeping -- Mossadegh

Some day, a historian will write the story of Iran during Premier Mossadegh’s rule—and a future generation will have great difficulty believing that it is fact, not fancy.

News dispatches now say that the thin, weeping, wily, slippery 78-year-old dictator is out, definitely. [He was 71, and no dictator] We will believe that he has lost his grip and is gone for good only when all the reports have been checked, double-checked and triple-checked.

If only the Iranian troubles had been less bloody and somber, they would have been excellent source material for a Gilbert and Sullivan libretto. Never before in the history of the world has a nation been administered so fantastically.

By and large, dictators are vicious creatures, but their goals are easily discernible. They lead from strength. Mossadegh led from weakness. When one considers that this man, by expropriating and nationalizing the Anglo-Iranian Oil Co., literally cut his country’s economic throat and left it dying and then played upon the public’s emotionalism and nationalistic fervor so shrewdly that they backed him up, then trying to clarify and explain simply defies reason.

For every crisis, Mossadegh found a scapegoat. But slowly, steadily, he ran out of both scapegoats and friends. Finally nothing was left but the powerful communistic Tudeh Party.

Only a few days ago, observers were worrying that Mossadegh had worked his way into the inescapable position of alliance with Russia. Now, through an army revolt, alliance with Russia seems the least likely of all upshots. This means that the smartest of observers were right on Tuesday and wrong on Wednesday. Maybe they will be right today and wrong tomorrow. This newspaper has no intention of hop-skipping back and forth with the “experts.”

Yet one comment seems a safe one to make, however brutal.

It is that come what may in Iran, anything would be better than more of Mossadegh. This man sat on a keg of Middle Eastern dynamite and threatened the world by scratching matches and blowing them out. Sooner or later a lighted match was bound to drop.

Newspapers that published this editorial included:

The Democrat and Chronicle (Rochester, New York) — Aug. 20, 1953 (lead ed.) (title: Exit, Weeping)
The Ithaca Journal (Ithaca, New York) — Aug. 21, 1953 (lead ed.) (title: Exit One Dictator)
The Ogdensburg Journal (Ogdensburg, New York) — August 22, 1953 (lead ed.) (title: Exit, Weeping -- Mossadegh)


Related links:

Iran Coup Vindicates Tough U.S. Policy | Edgar Ansel Mowrer, August 26, 1953

Mossadegh Gives Up | The Times Record, August 21, 1953

Whither Iran? | Detroit Free Press, August 21, 1953

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

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