Tough Nut To Crack

June 21, 1951 — The Evening Herald

The Mossadegh Project | October 21, 2021                      

This editorial on Iran in The Evening Herald newspaper of Shenandoah, Pennsylvania was not entirely original. It reworks a syndicated United Press column by Harry Ferguson from the same day, and sort of, vaguely acknowledges the agency as their source. Then it abruptly switches from their own wording to inexplicable, verbatim plagiarism (highlighted) for the remainder of the piece.


It is a statement of fact that the British have no equals in the delicate and complicated field of international diplomacy. They may lose the battles, but they make it a point to win the wars.

However, this seizure of the billion-dollar Anglo-Iranian Oil Company in Iran poses as thorny a problem as 10 Downing Street has encountered in many a moon. This really is a tough nut for the British to crack.

The British position at this writing amounts to this: They are in desperate need of Iranian oil for defense purposes and industrial needs. To fly British paratroopers, now stationed on the Island of Cyprus, to protect British interests in Iran is inviting Soviet intervention. There happens to be a treaty between Iran and the Soviet. And, worst of all, every possible move to negotiate the dispute has been rejected by the Iranians.

This background, culled from United Press sources, reveals the key figure to be Iranian Premier Mohammed Mossadegh. His refusal to compromise, from all best evidence, is because he fears for his life. He is afraid he will be shot. He has good reason to think so, too, because that is what happened to his predecessor, Ali Razmara. He was assassinated on March 7 because the Iranians didn’t think he was proceeding fast enough in taking the oil installations away from the British.

What brings this pressure on Mossadegh is that, while Iran’s various political parties and “fronts” quarrel about almost everything else in the world, they are in firm agreement on one issue — the British should get out and stay out. It has reached the point now where they are competing to see who can be the most violently anti-British. Tudeh, the Iranian Communist Party, technically is outlawed, but it hasn’t hesitated to take the lead openly in the anti-British campaign because it knows it is on safe ground.

The British have yielded ground slowly in Iran, but finally made an offer to pay Iran $28,000,000 at once and $8,400,000 a month until some agreement can be reached on the dispute. That offer was tossed in the wastebasket along with a last-minute appeal by United States Ambassador Henry F. Grady for moderation.

Foreign Secretary Herbert Morrison got up yesterday in London to try to explain his troubles to the House of Commons. A member of Morrison’s own Labor Party interjected this remark in an attempt to help him: “If precipitate action were taken we might find Iran was more dangerous than Korea.”

The man has something there.

[Harold Davies (1904-1985). His actual words were: “...if we precipitate action here, not only may we lose the oil but we may find that Persia is more dangerous than Korea...”]

Lessons of Korea | Republican Arraigns U.S. War (1951)
Lessons of Korea | Republican Arraigns U.S. War (Nov. 1951)


Related links:

U.S. In Middle East | Abilene Reporter-News (Texas), Oct. 12, 1951

Situation In Persia | Goulburn Evening Post, June 29, 1951

U.S. Oil Kings Air Iran Concerns With State Department (Oct. 10, 1951)

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

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