Nothing’s Permanent

August 20, 1953 — The Glasgow Herald

The Mossadegh Project | October 5, 2015                     

“But if DR. MOSSADEQ, a man of courage and obstinacy, remains at liberty and does not feel it necessary to give up the struggle for power, then a very dangerous period may be before the country.”

An almost prosaic Scottish perspective on the overthrow of Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh in this lead editorial from The Glasgow Herald, one day after the 1953 coup.

Setback for Dr. Mossadeq

The quality of impermanence which seems to be characteristic of our contemporary world is startlingly revealed by the latest messages from Persia. On Tuesday, with the SHAH apparently a defeated fugitive in the West, DR. MOSSADEQ was seen to be as firmly entrenched in power as any recent ruler of Persia. To-day he himself is a fugitive with his place of refuge unknown, and the royalists triumphant in the Capital. The course of events is still obscure, but unless all the messages are completely misleading, DR. MOSSADEQ entirely underestimated both the resolution and the resources of his monarch. Under cover of what seemed like a royal abdication in fact if not in law, the royalists, so far from being crushed by the measures taken against them by the PRIME MINISTER (now called the usurper), staged the counter-attack in the usual Asiatic manner by getting control of the army—or enough of it to seize Teheran.

The position of the Capital is always of great importance in any country. In Persia, where it was regarded as the stronghold of the opponents of the SHAH, it is of supreme importance, for it is the headquarters of military and political power, and it was that power which DR. MOSSADEQ confidently believe he had at his disposal. It is, of course, not certain yet whether he has been absolutely wrong in his belief. The Premier, General ZAHEDI, [Fazlollah Zahedi] appointed by the SHAH to replace him, may be a good soldier and a strong man, but he is a rather unknown quantity, and it is by no means clear that he has the whole country with him.

If the GENERAL really has popular backing, and if DR. MOSSADEQ can no longer count on military support, the coup d’état, to which the SHAH clearly was no stranger, may be successful enough to prevent much further trouble. But if DR. MOSSADEQ, a man of courage and obstinacy, remains at liberty and does not feel it necessary to give up the struggle for power, then a very dangerous period may be before the country. Anything in the nature of civil war would play into the hands of the Communists, who, if not over numerous, have much clearer ideas of what they want than most of their compatriots have. Without committing themselves they have back to the DOCTOR against the SHAH; they are disciplined and they are armed, and behind them they feel they have the support of Moscow, which suffered DR. MOSSADEQ as a lesser evil rather than supported him, and which cannot but be tempted to use chaos on the southern frontier for Russian ends. The longer uncertainty lasts the more critical the situation will grow, and there will be much anxiety in the West until it is cleared up. The last thing the West wants is more troubled waters in Asia; it knows too well how many interests would be glad to fish in them.

Scotland: Edinburgh University Students Nominate Mossadegh (1951)
Edinburgh University Students Honor Mossadegh (1951)


Related links:

Lunatic or Buffoon | The Salt Lake Tribune, December 4, 1953

New Premier May Plunge Iran in Blood & Tears | The Indian Express, August 21, 1953

Wisconsin Columnist’s Humorous Treatment of 1953 Coup in The Racine Journal-Times

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

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