November 15, 1953 — Associated Press (AP)

The Mossadegh Project | November 17, 2018                     

Highlights of the Mossadeq Trial | CIA Memo (Nov. 1953)

Iran Merchants Vow No More Riots on Behalf of Mossadegh


TEHRAN, Iran, Nov. 14 (AP) — Premier Gen. Fazollah Zahedi [sic—Fazlollah Zahedi] raised the roof today about pro-Mossadegh sentiment among Bazaar merchants. He quickly won a pledge they will refrain from further demonstrations in behalf of the jailed ex-premier.

While troops stood guard, pick and crowbar squads ripped up nearly 500 feet of masonry covering the giant Sabz Mehdaz Bazaar, exposing the shops and booths below to the elements and to thievery.

About 80 per cent of the shops closed Thursday during a one-day strike called by Communists and extreme Nationalists in support of Mossadegh. They had remained closed since by government order. [Communists were not involved in the demonstrations, they were in hiding or laying low. The shop owners in the bazaar were generally religious and pro-Mossadegh.]

A few hours of the roof demolition work, combined with brusque activity by military patrols to keep people from congregating in the Bazaar’s labyrinth of alleys, brought the merchants around.

A delegation of Bazaaris, one of the strongest organized groups in Iran, called on Zahedi and—raising their hands—promised to avoid a recurrence of the incident.

“We surrender,” the delegation’s leader said. “We will not do it again.”

Zahedi instructed the Tehran military governor to permit the merchants to reopen their shops. An order to the demolition squads to resume work was canceled.

The Bazaar is far more than just a group of businessmen. It has long formed what is in effect a business political party built around a number of rich, powerful merchants. It has exerted considerable political strength.

While troops with bayoneted rifles were posted every 10 feet through the Bazaar this morning under orders to “get tough” in controlling traffic, hundreds of riot police waited in trucks in the courtyards. But authorities said nobody was arrested.

Mossadegh, accused of treason, is challenging the competence of a five-man military court to try him. The court is reported split, with three officers disagreeing and two agreeing with his arguments.

Ousted as Premier in the royalist uprising led by Zahedi Aug. 19, Mossadegh is charged specifically with defiance of Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlevi, trying to overthrow the monarchy and illegal dissolution of the Majlis, the lower house of Parliament.

Alternate headlines:

Zahedi Promised Demonstrations Will Be Ended
Action Quells Iran’s Merchants
Iran’s Bazaars Pledge to Stop Disturbances
Shah ‘Raises Roof’ About Iran Rebels
Bazaar Ban Lifted in Iran After Riots
Iranian Premier Raises Roof
Premier Cracks Down on Iran Demonstrations


Related links:

Demonstrations in Favor of Mossadegh Break Out in Tehran | UPI, December 21, 1953

Court Martial Rules Itself Legal To Try Mossadegh | AP, November 15, 1953

Terror In Persia | TRIBUNE (Sydney, Australia), October 28, 1953

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

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