Christopher de Bellaigue, a true Anglo-Iranian
Patriot of Persia Author on Mossadegh, 1953 Coup Legacy

Arash Norouzi
The Mossadegh Project | July 12, 2012                          
[Updated August 5, 2013]

Christopher de Bellaigue For British journalist and author Christopher de Bellaigue, exploring historical relations between his home country, England, and his adopted one, Iran, is an apt pursuit.

Born in London in 1971, de Bellaigue first visited Iran in 1999 during the Khatami phase, later becoming The Economist’s Tehran correspondent and author of two books on the country: In the Rose Garden of the Martyrs: A Memoir of Iran (2005) and The Struggle for Iran (2007).

In 2009 he led an hour long BBC documentary Iran and Britain, examining the countries’ uneasy past — a sound foundation for his third and latest book on Iran, the much awaited biography Patriot of Persia: Muhammad Mossadegh and a Tragic Anglo-American Coup (2012). His ability to speak and read Persian was a significant asset in researching the late Iranian Prime Minister, whom he has expressed admiration for.

Married with two children to Iranian artist Bita Ghezelayagh, de Bellaigue divides his time between homes in London and Tehran.

Stanford Iranian Studies Program: January 8th 2013


Harvard Kennedy School: April 23, 2013

Conversation with Nicholas Burns, Professor of International Relations and former Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs (2005-2008).

“For many people [Mossadegh] is living, bleeding history...”

WorldDenver Talks Interview: February 1, 2013

Interview with Kim K. Savit on PBS’ Denver, Colorado affiliate:

“...he has been romanticized no less than a Lincoln, or a Jefferson, or a George Washington, and like those great leaders, he had his faults, and he had his idiosyncracies, and he made his mistakes...”

Radio Koocheh Interview: Chicago, January 16, 2013

Interview at Northeastern Illinois University with Kian Amani (farsi only):

University of California, Irvine: January 9, 2013

Presentation and slideshow as part of Patriot of Persia’s North American book tour, introduced by UCI Prof. Touraj Daryaee.

“...his commitment to freedom of speech has rarely been equaled in the Middle East...”

Saturday Extra Interview: November 17, 2012

Interview with host Geraldine Doogue of ABC Radio National (Australian Broadcasting Corporation):

“He was a representative of the underdog...”


CBC Interview: October 24, 2012

The Sunday Edition with Michael Enright from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation:

“...he used hypochondria as a way of wrong-footing his opponents.”

Progressive Radio Network Interview: June 8, 2012

“...I can understand why the Brits would not particularly want to release those [classified MI6] papers, because, frankly, they wouldn’t show the Brits up in a very flattering light.”

National Public Radio Interview: May 17, 2012

NPR interview with Morning Edition’s Steve Inskeep.

“New history has to come in and occlude and obscure these old events for them to be forgotten.”

Asia Society: May 15, 2012

During his North American book tour for Patriot of Persia, de Bellaigue appeared at Asia Society in New York city. The 1953 coup is “still a raw event” for Iranians, he observed, making his historical book strangely relevant to current events. “...[A] book that is written about an event in 1953, and a man born in 1882, how could that possibly be topical?”, he asked rhetorically. “And it shows how just utterly dysfunctional this relationship is...”

For the first 15 of the 82 minute long event, de Bellaigue read from the chapter about Mossadegh’s unfortunate daughter, Khadijeh, followed by a moderated discussion and Q&A session.

America Abroad Media Interview: April 2012

“[Mossadegh] occupies an extremely important place in the Iranian consciousness.”


Related links:

TIME’s "Man of the Year" Article Examined, 60 Years Later

Christopher Hitchens on the 1953 Coup in Iran

British Scholar Fred Halliday on Revolution in Iran, 1979-2009

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

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