Iranian Communists Expected To
Make Harriman Task Difficult

Constantine Brown — July 16, 1951

The Mossadegh Project | October 3, 2015                    

Constantine Brown, the conservative syndicated columnist, wrote about foreign affairs for The Washington Evening Star. In this column, alternatively titled Masses May Block Harriman’s Bid To Mediate Iranian Oil Dispute, Brown discussed his suspicions of the ‘hidden hand’ of the USSR.

Background on Iran Dispute;
Dollars May Be Big Issue

By Constantine Brown

Columnist Constantine Brown Washington, D.C.—The mission of W. Averell Harriman, President Truman’s special ambassador to mediate the troublesome Iranian oil question, will not be easy.

Premier Mohammed Mossadegh is willing enough to negotiate, particularly if such negotiations provide an American loan for the rapidly declining Iranian treasury. But observers on the spot warn that Harriman may stumble into great difficulties from the “masses”, inspired by the Soviet embassy in Teheran and led by the Tudeh (communist) Party.

The Azerbaijan “democratic” radio transmitter already is warning the prime minister against yielding to the American “wolf in sheep’s clothing”. And to give more substance to this warning, it says that the people of Iran do not want to have anything to do with Harriman, who should not interfere in a matter which concerns the Iranian people alone. The broadcast is coupled with under ground agitation in Teheran to give President Truman’s personal representative a very “hot” reception.

Big Financial Problem

Insofar as Dr. Mossadegh’s government is concerned, the present problem involves only the nationalization of the Anglo-Iranian oil company. This has been irrevocably, though unilaterally, decided. The second step now is to continue the exploitation of the oil fields with the assistance of the British oil experts, if possible. At the same time, the Teheran government is faced with a very serious financial problem which cannot be solved by any internal measures.

Thus, it would appear that if the United States would offer some financial relief to the Mossadegh government, some compromise might be expected. And even a temporary agreement is better than permitting the crisis to develop in a manner which might create complete confusion in the Middle East.

This, however, is not the aim of the nationalists, the fanatics and the Tudeh party. The government was driven into an uncompromising position by the extremists, who used all known terroristic methods ranging from assassination and threats of murder against the highest officials, to mass demonstrations against the American and British “imperialists”.

The nationalization of the Anglo-Iranian Oil Co. was regarded by these extremists as the means to expel all remaining Western influence in Iran and to replace it with Soviet influence.

Extremists in Minority

The extremists are a minority, but are extremely well organized and active. They are not interested in the economic welfare of their fellow Iranians. Their interest is in creating conditions in the country to eliminate completely the present weakened ties with the West and to permit the USSR to take over. The oil question is a mere lever to bring about this situation. And the greater economic difficulties the Mossadegh government encounters the better will the purposes of the Soviet puppets be served.

Harriman has been instructed to serve as a good-will ambassador and to convince the Iranian government that it is to its best interest, now that it has achieved its objective of nationalizing its oil resources, to reach a compromise and restore order in the country.

However the problem which President Truman’s ambassador will encounter in Teheran is more complex than offering loans and American good-will. In fact, we are faced in that country with another East-West conflict in which Russia, as in the case of the Korean conflict, is not directly seen. But its guiding hand is strongly felt.

It is now evident that the North Korean aggression and the intervention of the Chinese in the conflict was ordered by the Kremlin. It was also the Kremlin which started the present phony armistice negotiations. But at no time did the Muscovite [Moscow-based] diplomats show their hand openly. They acted, they say, merely as “amicus curiae” (friends of the court). The same thing applies to Iran.

70th Anniversary of TIME’s Man of the Year Article


Related links:

U.S. Prepared To Bargain in Mid-East | Constantine Brown, September 8, 1952

Harriman Mission Stirs Hope In Iran Oil Crisis | The Brooklyn Eagle, July 12, 1951

A Confused Leader: Persia’s Future at the Cross Roads | The Age, June 23, 1951

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

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