Lil’ Orphan Mossy

November 17, 1951 — The Decatur Herald

The Mossadegh Project | June 26, 2015                       

This commentary ran the same day in the “Editorials: These Are Our Opinions” section of two Illinois newspapers: The Herald and Review (Decatur) and The Southern Illinoisan (Carbondale). The “blackmail” charge had been raised with some frequency at the time, just not quite as tenderly.

Mossadegh Uses Mild Blackmail

PREMIER Mossadegh of Iran exerts a kind of gentle blackmail upon the United States when he says that unless his government gets a loan of at least 120 million dollars it surely will succumb to communistic threats. [a false claim] Having tossed out British influence in a surge of nationalism, Iran finds itself an orphan.

Mossadegh is appealing to the U.S. to act as silent partner and financial advisor. Mossadegh says the reason Iran is so wide open to Communist influences is because of the general poverty and dissatisfaction of the people produced under British supervision. Under the British thumb, the nation was not allowed to express itself economically, the prime minister says in his Washington, D.C. speech.

Now, our first inclination might be to let Iran lie in its own bed, since it was so fanatically insistent upon making it. Mossadegh was aware of the economies of Iran before the rash of nationalism broke out. He could have warned his people of the dangers inherent in revolt against British influence, and also against British assistance. So we need have little pity for Iran’s plight.

But we, of course, will not be so cold-hearted. Mossadegh is wise enough to realize that we are committed to suppress communism wherever it threatens, and he poses this gentle blackmail to enlist our aid. We have never knowingly left stray lambs to the wolves, and we will not do it in the case of Iran.

It is possible that Iran will not need much aid from the United States. The premier is confident that his country will eventually, with financial help and revenues from its self-operated oil industry, regain its economic strength and carry out a large-scale program of development and reform. But Iran will need considerable aid, possibly as much as 120 million dollars, in the beginning.

Perhaps Mossadegh had this plan in mind when he permitted his nation to shake off British influence. He knew, from his observations of the U.S. role in world affairs, that it would offer aid because of our pledge to combat communism. Even though we see through Mossadegh’s little scheme, we doubtless will go along to the extent of giving some sort of help. We cannot help but be a willing victim of the exchange, particularly if it turns out to be another blow at communism.


Related links:

Too Bad For You | The Cornell Daily Sun, December 13, 1951

New Approach To Iran Is Needed | Walter Lippmann, May 24, 1951

Message To Mossadegh: Blackmail Does Not Pay | Bruce Biossat, November 19, 1951

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

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