Mexican Standoff

March 27, 1953 — The Herald Statesman

The Mossadegh Project | December 25, 2012                      

The Herald Statesman newspaper of Yonkers, New York published this editorial comparing the Iranian oil nationalization drive with Mexico’s.

Time Favors Mossadegh On Oil

Weepy old Mossadegh appears to be winning his battle to control Iran’s oil.

Perhaps he remembers that Mexico won by sitting tight after expropriating foreign oil holdings.

Time favors Mossadegh. A victory in an Italian court may have strengthened his hand to turn down a British settlement of the oil controversy. He even expressed hope Britain and Iran would renew diplomatic relations.

This country is put in the embarrassing position of having to support the present Iranian regime because of Russian pressures in the Middle East.

The Italian court decision permitting Iran to sell oil abroad led Mossadegh to hope that he can run the great Abadan refinery at capacity—17.5 million gallons daily—and dispose of all its products.

Mossadegh took over the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company in 1951 on the ground of sovereignty. When Mexico formally expropriated foreign oil holdings in 1938, the United States had to admit her right to do so, under the Mexican constitution. However, we insisted on compensation—which the British hope to be talking with Mossadegh.

In Mexico, eleven American-owned companies put the value of their seized properties at $200 million. Mexico said they were worth $22 million. Finally, in 1941 an agreement was reached. The following year experts settled on $24 million as the value of the expropriated companies, to be paid by 1947—nine and one-half years after seizure.

So old Mossadegh may feel he has several years yet to go before agreeing on the value of the British holdings.

If he can run the refinery and sell the oil products, he has less to worry about while he waits.


Related links:

Mossadegh: No Again | The New York Times, March 22, 1953

Oil Pact Insults Iran, Mossadegh Says in Jail | AP, September 9, 1954,

Iran’s Break With Britain | The Binghamton Press, October 18, 1952

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

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