Mossadegh Gets Quiet Iran Burial
March 6, 1967 — The Associated Press

Arash Norouzi
The Mossadegh Project | March 5, 2013                     

Remembering Dr. Mohammad Mossadegh (born June 16, 1882, died March 5, 1967)

Even in death, Mohammad Mossadegh couldn’t catch a break. Following his passing on Sunday, March 5, 1967, this Associated Press write-up went to great pains to stress that Mossadegh’s death stirred no emotion among Iranians, who blithely “ignored” his unassuming funeral procession.

Their Tehran correspondent neglected to mention that the family was barred from having any death announcement printed in the newspapers.

Predictably, AP’s highly slanderous, factually flawed obituary hits all the familiar marks — “Dictator?” — check. Communist stooge? — check. Fainting, weeping, pajama-clad loon? — check, check, check.

Besides its editorial nature, there’s the glaring factual errors. For example, Mossadegh’s will specifically requested burial alongside his compatriots who were killed during the July 1952 uprising which returned him to power following his resignation as Premier. This piece claims that he wished to be buried in Iraq.

A lifelong public servant of great distinction, Mossadegh is described here as a “minor agitator” whose star rose “overnight”. Such dismissive propaganda pieces differ sharply with the assessment of Mossadegh’s historical significance by numerous leading scholars.

Mossadegh Funeral Is Ignored

By Parvis Raein

AP (The Associated Press) press clipping TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — The body of Dr. Mohammed Mossadegh was taken in a hospital ambulance Sunday to a temporary burial site in Ahmedabad, [sic — Ahmadabad] a village he once owned, 60 miles north of Tehran.

His death at the age of 86 [84] Saturday night stirred no emotion in Tehran’s bazaar where 15 years ago he set off wild street demonstrations that brought him the premiership of Iran.

Death was due to internal bleeding, an announcement said. Mossadegh, whose emotional weeping in public helped make him one of the Middle East’s most colorful and controversial figures in the postwar years, lost power in 1953 after his nationalization of Iran’s oil industry plunged the nation into near bankruptcy.

Mossadegh left a will requesting his two sons, Dr. Gholam Hussein Mossadegh [sic — Gholam-Hossein] and road engineer Ahmed Mossadegh “not to hold a funeral ceremony” and to transfer his body to the Shiite religious city of Najaf in neighboring Iraq, next to his mother’s grave. Under Shiite Moslem law a coffin can be buried temporarily in one place for later transfer to the final resting place in the holy shrine.

A group of Mossadegh relatives including his two sons and his son-in-law, Sen. Matin Daftari, and a handful of weeping sympathizers, followed the ambulance carrying his body. The ambulance and half a dozen cars wound through the city en route to Ahmedabad almost unnoticed. In the downtown bazaar, crowds went about their shopping for the Persian new year. [Norouz]

Ailing for many years, Mossadegh ruled Iran in pajamas and from his bed. He was wearing pajamas when arrested after his government fell.

An iron-willed but frail-looking nationalist who spiced his political speeches with emotional fits of weeping, Mossadegh was premier of Iran in one of the fantastic and mob-ruled pages of recent Middle East history.

From obscurity as a minor agitator, he sprang almost overnight to the premiership in April 1951 and forced through the nationalization of the billion-dollar, British-owned Anglo-Iranian Oil Co. The company had in half a century built up one of the Middle East’s greatest enterprises and lined the Iranian treasury with royalties.

AP (The Associated Press) press clipping His policies brought the country to economic chaos and near to bankruptcy but Mossadegh ruled with an iron dictatorship compounded of terrorism of his enemies and demagogic appeals to mobs in the bazaars.

The free rein given to the Tudeh — Communist — party and Mossadegh’s flirtations with the Soviet Union to ease his economic position alarmed Western powers, which feared the oil rich country would fall to Soviet domination.

After nearly 2½ years of rule, Mossadegh was overthrown when other street mobs turned against him. He was tried on treason charges and sentenced to three years solitary imprisonment.

He was released from his Tehran prison Aug. 4, 1956 and whisked to Ahmedabad to spend the rest of his days in a small white-walled house. There he lived out his long life.

The Agonizing Death of Dr. Mossadegh | by Ebrahim Norouzi, MD
The Agonizing Death of Dr. Mossadegh | by Ebrahim Norouzi, MD


Related links:

A final goodbye: Shirin Samii on the death of Dr. Mossadegh

Did Death Threats Compel Mossadegh to Carry a Gun?

If Mossadegh hadn’t been overthrown... | Siegmund Ginzberg (1987)

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

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