An Explosive Situation

October 18, 1951 — The Citizen-Advertiser

The Mossadegh Project | July 19, 2013                       

The Citizen-Advertiser (Auburn, New York) newspaper editorial.


Not since the ancient days, when warriors poured boiling oil on the storming besiegers, has so gruesome a fate been planned as was for the British at Tehran.

Now that the threat of violence there has, temporarily at least, passed, the plot is revealed. The Iranians planned to dump two and a half million gallons of gasoline from the refineries into the river where the British warships lay. Then “with one match we would have melted all the British warships and cruisers in that river.”

Such is the claim of Premier Mossadegh’s righthand man, Hussein Maki [sic — Hossein Makki], who is also secretary of the National Front party.

And that wasn’t all. Said Maki: “Five air force officers pledged to dive their bomb-laden planes into the enemy craft.”

That was what the British had in store for them if they had taken what the Iranians consider “aggressive” action in the oil dispute.

The whole fantastic plan is indicative of the temper in Iran and other fiercely nationalistic countries of the Near East today. Such hysterical reprisals reflect the immature thinking of nations suddenly caught for the first time with the bit between their teeth.

Gradually, it is hoped, the dust in Iran, Egypt, and elsewhere will settle, but in the meantime, it is feared, blood will be shed. The changes sought are too violent to have it otherwise.

For the British, with their defense commitments and rocky economy at home, this will be almost too much to bear—even though they have just about written off an empire on which the sun once never set.


Related links:

They Make an Empty Threat | The Vancouver Sun, June 11, 1951

Crisis Looms In Persia | The News (Adelaide), Sept. 28, 1951

Exercise In Futility | The Evening Sun (Baltimore), July 6, 1951

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

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