Iran Indicts Mossadegh As Traitor
October 4, 1953 — The Associated Press

The Mossadegh Project | February 18, 2013                    

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

AP report covering Mossadegh’s arraignment on the falsified charges of attempting to oust the Shah.


Formal Indictment Carries Death Penalty

AP (The Associated Press) TEHRAN, Iran, Oct. 4 (AP)—Iran’s deposed nationalist Premier, Mohammed Mossadegh, was formally charged yesterday with trying to overthrow Iranian monarchy and sparking the ill-fated uprising against the Shah which brought about his own downfall Aug. 19.

CONVICTION COULD RESULT in a sentence of death by hanging for the wealthy 73-year-old lawyer and landowner whose wily tactics behind a facade of weeping and fainting brought him almost dictatorial powers over this Middle East nation, once rich because of its oil.

The long indictment was signed by an army prosecutor following an intensive investigation of the jailed ex-Premier. A military court martial will read the charges to Mossadegh and instruct him to choose a defense attorney for his trial, for which no date has yet been set.

The hawk-nosed Mossadegh faces another possible trial before a civil court on charges connected with his activities as head of the government before the fateful mid-August events which led to his downfall.

Government spokesmen have promised Mossadegh would be tried for leading the nation to bankruptcy. Premier Gen. Fazollah Zahedi [sic —Fazlollah], named by the Shah to replace Mossadegh, has charged that his predecessor's inflexible maneuvers in nationalizing the vast British-owned Iranian installations of the billion-dollar Anglo-Iranian Oil Co., threw the nation deep into debt.

THE EX-PREMIER HAS BEEN ACCUSED by his opponents also of flirting with the Communists and with Iran’s big neighbor to the north, the Soviet Union, to push through his program.

Yesterday’s formal charges accused Mossadegh of illegally dissolving Parliament's lower house, the Majlis, which had balked at handing him more powers, and of disobeying Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi’s order ousting him from the premiership and naming Zahedi In his place.

Refusing to obey the Shah’s ouster decree, the charges said, Mossadegh then encouraged the anti-Shah street riots of Aug. 17—heavily supported by Communists—which forced the Shah and Queen Soraya to flee to Rome front a vacation in the north of Iran.

Those bloody riots were turned against Mossadegh two days later by pro-Shah forces. The ailing premier was arrested soon after fleeing in his pajamas from the shelled ruins of his heavily-fortified home in Tehran. Some 300 persons were killed in the turbulent disorders before calm was restored and the Shah and his queen returned triumphantly.

MOSSADEGH WAS QUOTED by the indictment as telling investigators he had doubted the authenticity of the decree bearing the shah’s signature demanding he give up his post to Zahedi. The order was delivered late on the night of Aug. 16 by officers of the palace guard. Mossadegh’s own guard promptly arrested the bearers of the decree, touching off the anti-shah demonstrations in which security police ignored the demolition of statues of the shah’s father, the late Reza Shah. The indictment said Mossadegh himself issued the orders to the security police to ignore these acts.

“The way the decree was written was doubtful to me,” Mossadegh was quoted as saying. “It looked as though the decree sheet was signed first, then the decree written by the shah’s private secretary. Why was the decree brought to my house at midnight during curfew hours? I had doubts about the decree and was certain this was issued without the shah’s knowledge.” Mossadegh was accused of having “golden dreams” of turning the nation into a republic, with himself as president and with his powerful right hand man and foreign minister, Hossein Fatemi, as vice-president.

FATEMI FLED when the tide turned against Mossadegh and has not been seen since. A nationwide dragnet, with offers of large rewards, has failed to turn up a clue to his whereabouts. The government has warned Fatemi to give himself up or be tried in absentia on charges that could bring a death sentence.

The indictment against Mossadegh said Fatemi sent cabled instructions to the Iranian ambassadors in Rome and in Baghdad, where the shah stopped off on his way to the Italian capital during his brief exile ordering the envoys not to see the monarch or discuss the affairs going on in this country at the time. Those envoys were recalled with out delay when the shah returned to Tehran.

Mossadegh was said in the indictment to have asserted that after he achieved his aim of dissolving the majlis “I realized there was only one power that could overthrow my government—the shah’s court.” This apparently was intended to imply that Mossadegh’s next goal was dissolution of that court.

The former premier also was accused of trying to weaken Iran’s army. Accused with him is former Army Chief of Staff General Taghi Riahi, charged with failing to do his duty and with ordering troops to fire on the people during the Aug. 19 riots.

Alternate headlines:

Mossadegh Charged With Attempt to End Monarchy
Iran Arraigns Ex-Dictator


Related links:

Mossadegh Denies Authority of Court | AP, November 11, 1953

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

The CIA Scheme To Have the Shah ‘Dismiss’ Mossadegh | August 16, 1953

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

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