Mossadegh Evokes Liberty
In Philadelphia

October 22, 1951 — The Associated Press

Arash Norouzi

The Mossadegh Project | May 14, 2012                    

During a visit to the historic city of Philadelphia in October 1951, Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh took the opportunity to draw parallels between America’s emancipation from the British in 1776 and Iran’s vital oil nationalization movement.

These AP news items contain some interesting quotes from Mossadegh, who emphasized the points that while Russia had not offered to purchase Iranian oil, Iran pledged to give first priority to its Western buyers.

October 22, 1951


AP (The Associated Press) PHILADELPHIA —(AP)— In the same hallowed hall where the United States proclaimed its independence from Great Britain, Premier Mohammed Mossadegh of Iran said today “in my country liberty is still to be won.”

The Iranian premier, in a special visit to Philadelphia’s Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell, asserted in a brief address that the quest for freedom is “the simple explanation” of why his country seeks to gain control of its oil resources.

Mossadegh spoke in Persian in a voice barely audible to persons sitting right next to him on the platform at Independence Square. Some 400 persons listened quietly and applauded vigorously when Mossadegh had finished speaking.

Premier Mossadegh views the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (1951)

October 23, 1951


AP (The Associated Press) PHILADELPHIA, Oct. 22 (AP)— Premier Mohammed Mossadegh of Iran said today his country’s fight for possession of all its oil resources is more than a quest for profits: it’s a fight for liberty.

In two separate speeches, one outside Independence Hall in the very shadow of America’s Liberty Bell, the frail premier insisted that Iran “has every right to achieve its political and economic freedom.”

AGAIN AND AGAIN Mossadegh spoke bitterly of Great Britain’s motives and once he warned, in an emotionless voice barely audible as he spoke his native Persian, that the British “cannot expect us to refrain much longer” in resuming oil production.

Mossadegh, who came to the U.S. to plead Iran’s oil case before the United Nations security council last week, was the guest here of Mayor Bernard Samuel and the World Affairs Council of Philadelphia. Tomorrow he’ll visit President Truman in Washington.

At Independence Hall the Premier, leaning heavily on the arms of two fellow countrymen, placed great emphasis on national liberty.

“If my contrast of your own abundant freedom with our shackled liberties is touched by envy,” he declared, “it is because we share with you a love of liberty and because we have been less fortunate than you in wresting our prized freedom from that country which in 1776 had to yield it to you.”

“The creed of national independence is a universal one and is held by all peoples.”

HIS WORDS were translated to a crowd of 400 by Dr. Nasrollah S. Fatemi, a professor of Oriental languages at Princeton University and brother of Dr. Hussein Fatemi, Iran’s Deputy Premier. [Hossein Fatemi]

At a World Affairs Council luncheon later at the Barclay Hotel—where he will spend the night before entraining tomorrow at 9:12 a.m. (EST) for Washington—Mossadegh asserted Iran’s oil nationalization demands are “just.”

And he said without emphasis: “An unfortunate situation exists in Iran as the result of interference in our domestic affairs and of exploitation of our natural resources . . .”

“Iran has done only what many other countries, including Great Britain, have done at different times without challenge.”

“If the British are sincere in their acceptance of the principle of nationalization . . . then the way lies open to negotiate for the purchase of oil from Iran.”

In questions from the luncheon guests, asked through an interpreter, the Premier pointed out that “Russia has not offered to buy any Iranian oil, nor offered to put us into the oil business.”

HE ADDED: “Our nationalization law provides that all of our oil, when we start producing again, and I hope it will be soon, will go to our former customers.”

“The west has the priority and will always have the priority.”

A party of 16 accompanied Mossadegh to this historic city. They included his son, Dr. Gholam-Hossein Mossadegh, who acts as his personal physician, and his daughter, Madame Zia Achraf Bayat-Mossadegh. [Zia Ashraf]

Deputy Premier Fatemi, together with other members of the delegation, drove to Princeton, NJ, tonight to hear Senator Matin Daftari, former Iranian Premier and now a member of the Iranian UN delegation, speak at Princeton University on the oil crisis.

Alternate headlines:

Iran Fighting For Liberty, Says Premier — Our Stand Is Just, Mossadegh Declares


Related links:

Pres. Truman, Dean Acheson and Premier Mossadegh Talk at Blair House (Oct. 23, 1951)

Indecent Proposals : 1951 | Oil, Iran and the Anglo-American Art of Non-Negotiation

Thousands Hail Mossadegh As Anti-Imperialist Hero | AP, November 23, 1951

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

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