Rally ‘Round the Shah

August 20, 1953 — The Buffalo Courier-Express

The Mossadegh Project | November 21, 2013                    

Buffalo, New York, where it is always cold, Thursday, August 20, 1953:

In a lead editorial, their first reaction to the 1953 coup, the anti-Mossadegh newspaper The Buffalo Courier-Express marked the event as a triumph for all.

If Mossadegh Is Out for Keeps,
the Free World Will Gain

If the Iranian Royalists succeed not only in chucking out the old dictator, Mossadegh, but also in re-establishing a constitutional monarchy under the Shah, the free world will be the winner. If the Iranian people rally around the Shah and remain rallied, he can use his power and prestige to set up a stable parliamentary government—and a stable parliamentary goverment in Tehran undoubtedly would welcome a settlement of the oil controversy and resumption of good relations with the West. This would remove the threat of Communist seizure of Iran and its rich oil reserves.

But the Royalist victory over Mossadegh could be followed by a Communist counter-offensive—and one cannot rule out completely the possibility of a comeback by the ancient Mossadegh himself.

In this connection, special interest attaches to what Kemal Baglum, a Turkish newspaperman visiting Buffalo, said to the Courier-Express in an interview day before yesterday. Mr. Baglum, who has visited Tehran and interviewed Mossadegh, described the aged premier as a “fanatic who would rather doom himself and his country than admit he was wrong.” Because between 92 and 95 per cent of the Iranian people cannot read or write, [not that high] the Turkish journalist said, “Mossadegh, an accomplished demagogue, has succeeded in holding Iran in an iron vise.”

Well, if the iron vise is broken, so much the better for Iran and for us. But before we begin to cheer, let us remember the mercurial qualities of mobs, such as those which hold the fate of Iran in their hands. This peril is stressed by Nate Polowetzky, former Associated Press correspondent in Tehran, who witnessed the July, 1952 rioting which put Mossadegh back in power after he had resigned in a dispute with the Shah and had been succeeded by the 82-year-old Ahmed Qavam. [Ahmad Ghavam] Polowetzky writes:

“Out of the sleazy bazars and slums the mobs came, shouting: ‘Death to Qavam!,’ ‘Death to the Shah!,’ ‘Mossadegh or death!’”

“All through the day and into the night the mobs roamed the streets—burning, pillaging, shouting — until finally Qavam resigned and the Shah recalled the troops.

“Then the crowds descended on Mossadegh’s home, their eyes burning with fanatical fire, and shouted hosannas for the old man.

“It happened then—and it could happen again.”

But, we are glad to say, dispatches from Tehran indicate that it will not happen again.

SAFER AT HOME: U.S. Implores Shah To Stay In Iran (Feb. 1953)
SAFER AT HOME: U.S. Implores Shah To Stay In Iran (Feb. 1953)

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Related links:

It Remains to Be Seen Whether the Reds Will Get Far in Iran | Washington Star, July 27, 1952

A “Crippling Blow” To Iran Coup Plotters | CIA, Aug. 17, 1953

Iran’s Counter Revolution | The Lewiston Evening Journal, August 21, 1953

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

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