Iran Tension Seems Eased

June 29, 1951 — Kingsbury Smith (INS)

Arash Norouzi

The Mossadegh Project | July 24, 2022                    

Joseph Kingsbury-Smith (1908-1999) Joseph Kingsbury-Smith (1908-1999) was the head of the European bureau for International News Service when he wrote this piece while reporting from Tehran in May-July 1951. A distinguished journalist, editor and publisher, he later earned a Pulitzer prize.

Tension In Iran Eased By
Dropping Of Sabotage Law

Ambassador Grady Persuades Premier To Make Concession


TEHRAN, June 29 — (INS) — The tense situation arising from nationalization of the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company appeared eased today when the U.S. envoy to Tehran persuaded the government to abandon an “anti-sabotage” law endangering the lives of 2,000 British employes.

U.S. Ambassador Henry F. Grady announced that Premier Mohammed Mossadegh agreed to drop the proposed legislation. The American envoy is interceding with the British government for the return to work of the 2,000 technicians who walked off their jobs yesterday.

The proposed law would have provided penalties up to death for any interference with nationalization. Mossadegh had placed in this category the refusal of AIOC employes and tanker captains to acknowledge oil receipts which identified petroleum as sole property of the nationalized Iranian Oil Company. [National Iranian Oil Company]

Meanwhile, twenty thousand Communists demonstrated in Tehran today against what they called American interference in Iranian affairs.

The demonstrators shouted “Down with Truman!” and “Down With Grady!”

British Defense Minister Emanuel Shinwell, on his arrival in Paris for a conference with Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, emphasized the firmness of Britain’s attitude in the dispute. “We have made our decision,” he said, “and we British don’t give up easily ... I believe that sanity will prevail.”

The general picture improved when aged and ailing Mossadegh saw Grady in a new personal meeting in which the envoy expressed the hope for some compromise solution that will permit continued AIOC operations for from 60 to 90 days more at least.

Summarized, the situation stands as follows:

1. The anti-sabotage law has been dropped for the present.

2. Great Britain will not close down the Abadan refineries as previously reported while there is any hope of a settlement.

3. Mossadegh stands on his contention that receipts must be acknowledged in the name of the nationalized oil company only.

4. President Truman is expected to send a message to Mossadegh in reply to the Iranian Premier’s letter asking for continued friendship of the U.S. in the disputes.

5. Mossadegh claims that the anti-sabotage law actually was directed against the Communists and has reiterated his desire to see a continued flow of oil to the west.

Following his latest meeting with Mossadegh, Grady said:

“The Premier took the position that the AIOC has been nationalized, and that all property of the oil company belongs to the Iranian government.”

“He maintains that no one is entitled to sell oil except the government company. I told him it was so important to keep the plant going, that I hoped he would authorize his people to work out something with the AIOC for at least 60 to 90 days.”

There was one slight outbreak of violence today at Shiraz south of Abadan when a crowd attacked a British bank and smashed windows. Local police dispersed the mob and promised they would not permit a recurrence of disorder.

Alternate titles:

Tension In Iran Eased — Scraps Sabotage Law

Alternate text:

“The American envoy is interceding with the British government to urge Britons to remain at their jobs in the Iranian oil fields and continue the flow of fuel to the West. Grady said he was making the appeal in view of Iran’s decision not to go through with enactment of an anti sabotage law under which Britons might to prosecuted. The Iranian decision was deemed a diplomatic victory for the United states since it was Grady who personally urged Premier Mohammed Mossadegh yesterday to bail action on the proposed law.”


Related links:

Mossadegh Holds Match To World Power Fuse | Kingsbury Smith, June 10, 1951

Is There a Chance Iran May Be Planning a Real Bargain? | Ludwell Denny, Nov. 1, 1951

New Approach To Iran Is Needed | Walter Lippmann, May 24, 1951

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

Facebook  Twitter  YouTube  Tumblr   Instagram