Niagara Falls

June 18, 1951 — The Calgary Herald

The Mossadegh Project | November 17, 2022                 

A biting lead editorial on Iran in The Calgary Herald newspaper (Calgary, Alberta, Canada).

Dry Those Big Tears, Mr. Mossadegh

We are getting pretty sick of the Persian prime minister’s crocodile tears. If the Persian government wants to go around breaking solemn contracts, expropriating oilfields right and left, and generally taking advantage of Britain’s other preoccupations, that is one thing; but let us have done with maudlin weeping.

Mr. Mossadegh is alleged to be feeling the strain of the present crisis. That is indeed too bad; but he started the crisis; not the British. Any trouble that results from his government’s mad desire to seize the oil fields—built up by British capital and British enterprise over a great many years—is his own responsibility. Weeping floods of tears over the negotiating table isn’t going to help matters any.

It is reported that the British delegation now in Tehran was taken on its arrival there for a conducted tour of the city’s slums. The purpose behind this is supposed to have been to show the delegation how badly Persia’s poor need the money obtained from the oilfields. All very pretty; but why doesn’t the Persian government take the right people on these tours—the millionaire landlords, grafters and exploiters who have battened on Persian society for centuries and who are the real oppressors of the nation’s poor?

Anglo-Iranian [AIOC] has been paying a 25 per cent royalty on all the oil it recovers. Some months ago it offered to increase this to 33 per cent, and on the eve of nationalization boosted its offer to 50 per cent. The province of Alberta is getting rich—and indirectly, giving assistance to its poor—with a royalty hitherto averaging about 10 per cent and now increased to 13 per cent—and on an annual output of oil which is very much smaller than the annual output in Persia. A 50 per cent royalty is beyond the wildest dreams of anybody in this province; and if the poor of Persia have not benefitted from oil money so far, then it is the government of Persia (which gets the royalties) and not Anglo-Iranian, which needs to do some explaining.

In any event, who is going to benefit from nationalization? Not the poor, who will never see the profits by the time the Persian exploiters have taken their cut. Perhaps not even the exploiters, since without Anglo-Iranian’s expert knowledge the efficiency of the Persian fields will rapidly deteriorate. Persia’s politicians, for a while, will be able to boast how they put one over on the mighty British (while Britain was looking the other way), and the Kremlin will see the dream of getting its hands on Persian oil brought a little closer to reality. All this we must concede; but at least let us be spared Mr. Mossadegh’s canting humbug.

70th Anniversary of TIME’s Man of the Year Article
Challenge of the East: TIME's 1951 Man of the Year Mohammad Mossadegh


Related links:

Will Mossadegh Find A Fellow Weeper? | Montreal Gazette, Nov. 15, 1951

Mr. Mossadegh Is In Tough Spot | Financial Post, Sept. 15, 1951

Emoter From the East | Buffalo Courier-Express, Oct. 5, 1951

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

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