First Shot

September 27, 1951 — The Brooklyn Eagle

The Mossadegh Project | February 18, 2023                        

Editorial on Iran in The Brooklyn Eagle newspaper (Brooklyn, New York).

Prudence Needed in Iranian Oil Crisis

If a little wisdom had been displayed by Great Britain and by Iran months ago the crisis which now brings danger to both nations could have been averted. But Britain was slow to recognize and respond to the rising spirit of nationalism in the Middle East and Iran missed the moment when a reasonable and advantageous compromise could have been effected.

The result is an impasse which is now drawing dangerously close to armed conflict. Yesterday’s developments were along lines leading logically, if not inevitably, to violence. Iran has ordered several hundred British technicians out of Abadan, center of the oil fields and refinery of the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company, and Great Britain has ordered them to remain there.

Britain has determined to hold Abadan and has warned Iran in the “strongest possible terms” that any effort to remove the workers will have “grave effects.” The warning can mean only armed resistance in the event that Iran determines that the workers must be cleared out regardless of consequences.

In this situation, according to London reports, both Great Britain and Iran have appealed to President Truman and Secretary of State Acheson to use their good offices to find a way out of the crisis. [Harry Truman and Dean Acheson] What do they have in mind? The United States has gone far in its efforts to work out terms of agreement, only to meet with an attitude of persistent intransigence on the part of Prime Minister Mossadegh, who seems to have overplayed his nationalistic hand.

After having made the initial mistake of misjudging Iranian sentiment and offering terms which fell far short of being generous or even just, the British have made all of the concessions that can reasonably be expected of them. British warships are standing by but the first shot might set the Middle East aflame. Britain cannot afford to take this chance and neither can Iran afford to turn unbridled nationalism into disaster. Prudence is still in order.

Divvying Up the Loot: The Iran Oil Consortium Agreement of 1954
Divvying Up the Loot: The Iran Oil Consortium Agreement of 


Related links:

Deadly ‘Chess’ Game | The Palm Beach Post, October 23, 1952

Iran’s Folly in Oil Row Leaves It Fertile Field for Red Exploitation | August 24, 1951

Oil Question Must Be Settled | Dorothy Thompson, May 1951

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

Facebook  Twitter  YouTube  Tumblr   Instagram