Land of the Lost

July 20, 1953 — The Honolulu Advertiser

The Mossadegh Project | June 25, 2022                    

An editorial on Iran in The Honolulu Advertiser newspaper of Honolulu, Hawaii.

Omar Wouldn’t Know Iran

A United Press background dispatch calls attention to the critical turn of United States relations with Iran. President Eisenhower has taken a calculated risk and has informed Premier Mohammed Mossadegh that Iran can expect no more help from America until it has settled its oil dispute with Great Britain.

The dispatch mentions that Mossadegh at home is in a battle with the young Shah, primarily as a result of the latter program to give land to the peasant. The Iranian situation is seen more critical than the background story implies.

Communist Russia would welcome and is working for a revolution in Iran, which is across its southern border and contains an oil pool which is rated as the largest in the world. Mosadegh obviously is a psycho-neurotic and unpredictable. But some hope lies in the fact that he is opposed by the Shah, weak but with potential backing by the peasants, by the parliament, which is jealous of Mossadegh’s power, and by an outstanding and unscrupulous Moslem leader. [Ayatollah Kashani] Much of the power of the Shah already has been reduced by Mossadegh, although it was by “royal decree”. [?]

For several years the Shah sold royal land, on easy terms, to the peasants who worked them. He hoped that other large landowners would follow his example, putting much of the peasantry on their own land and thus stabilizing them. But Mossadegh, also a landlord, objected to the reform. He said it was an interference with landlord-tenant relationships and he came up with a plan of his own.

Iran, which lies south of the Caspian Sea and east of Iraq is bounded on the south by the Persian Gulf and on the east by Afghanistan and Pakistan. It is a wild land, a backward land, once known a Persia, famed as the home of Omar, the tent-maker, poet and mathematician. [Omar Khayyam] Until recently the whole country was owned by about 100 large landowners, making the need for land reform rather obvious. And under its soil lies enough oil to run a third world war.

What Went Wrong in Iran? | Amb. Henry Grady Tells All (1952)
What Went Wrong in Iran? | Saturday Evening Post, Jan. 5, 1952


Related links:

Iranian Prime Minister Faces Growing Opposition | CIA Memo, Feb. 21, 1953

Shah Has His Hand Out | New York Daily News, August 25, 1953

Winthrop W. Aldrich on Meeting With British Re Iran Oil (Nov. 1953)

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

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