Caught In a Mighty Vice
August 21, 1953 — The Indian Express

Arash Norouzi
The Mossadegh Project | November 5, 2021                      

After the successful overthrow of Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh, India’s English language daily newspaper issued this lead editorial, a reversal of their prior Dr. Mossadeq’s Victory on Aug. 18th.


FEW, IF ANY, AMONG EVEN his worst enemies, could have anticipated Dr. Mossadeq’s downfall so soon after his Pyrrhic victory. But Dr. Mossadeq had quarrelled with almost everybody in Iran except the communist Tudeh Party so that his personal following could hardly withstand the fury of popular feeling ignited by the Shah’s flight from Iran. Dr. Mossadeq had scotched the coup d’etat of August 16, but a second attempt by the Royal Guards, in which both the Army and the Police openly took sides, was too much even for him. And the fate that has befallen his Foreign Minister Hussein Fatemi, who only two days ago had demanded the Shah’s head on a charger, a measure of the mass fury unleashed in the process. [Contrary to reports, Hossein Fatemi was still alive] Indeed, Dr. Mossadeq had been riding for a tail and Nemesis, long-delayed, has over-taken him. Iran is for the present in the hands of his opponents. But whether his opponents would dare deal with Dr. Mossadeq in the same manner in which he has dealt with them in the past is a matter for speculation. He may still prove a power to reckon with.

This is not the first time that the Shah has intervened with apparent success. It will be recalled that last year about this time he pitchforked Qawami-es-Sultaneh, an old guard politician, into the position of Iran’s Prime Minister after refusing certain special powers demand by Dr. Mossadeq and then accepting his resignation offered in protest. [Ahmad Ghavam] Within four days the latter staged a comeback, on the crest of widespread riots in the capital. [30 Tir] Whether history will repeat itself is more than one can tell, especially, after Dr. Mossadeq has further dissipated his immense popularity. But it seems safe to wonder whether the present lull will prove deceptive. No doubt, both the Shah on his return from voluntary exile and his new nominee to the Prime Ministership, Gen. Fazlollah Zahedi, on emerging front his mountain stronghold in Azerbaijan, will seek to weather the storm. Already, certain measures have been announced by the latter to assuage popular suffering in the economic sphere. And the Iranian public who have suffered Dr. Mossadeq’s experiments for two years may feel inclined to react favourably.

One thing which emerges from the shake-up is that the Iranians are predominantly loyal to the institution of Monarchy. But Iran today is caught in a mighty vice, and the American Ambassador’s description of the “holiday mood” seems far-fetched, at a time when the streets of the capital were strewn with hundreds of corpses, the Tudeh Party had not exhausted its resources and the entire countryside was being regaled with contradictory radio appeals. [Loy Henderson] The new Government has in any case to proceed cautiously if its economic and political programme is to take the edge off popular unrest. No wonder that in the matter of all interests the Shah has found it necessary to underline Iran’s differences with Britain. They change of regime may naturally make a resumption of negotiations possible, provided, as the Shah again takes care to point out, Iran’s supreme interest and sovereignty are recognised. It follows that the Anglo-American interests must resist any temptation to utilise the opportunity to get even with Russia. They have to live down an ancient grudge and, incidentally, sustain Iran’s independence. If they do not have to deal with Dr. Mossadeq, they still have to tackle Mullah Kashani and Hussain Makki who both have figured prominently in the oil nationalisation phase. [Ayatollah Kashani and Hossein Makki, former Mossadegh allies who turned on him] Iran has been for far too long political gamblers’ paradise, but Dr. Mossadeq’s reputation for incorruptibility has been his biggest asset in a land where corruption is rampant among politicians.

The U.S.-Britain Alliance To Erase Mossadegh Was Not Inevitable
The U.S.-Britain Alliance To Erase Mossadegh Was Not Inevitable


Related links:

New Premier May Plunge Iran in Blood & Tears | Norman D. Cliff, Aug. 21, 1953

Things Move Fast | Daily Press (St. Marys, PA), Aug. 22, 1953

One Down | Tyrone Daily Herald (Pennsylvania), Aug. 21, 1953

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

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