August 4, 1953 — The Jamestown Post-Journal

The Mossadegh Project | November 5, 2015                    

An editorial in The Jamestown Post-Journal (Jamestown, New York), not to be confused with their Sept. 27, 1951 editorial, also titled Playing With Fire, or an editorial published days later in The New York Times, Mossadegh Plays With Fire.

Playing With Fire

Blocked in his effort to deprive the Shah of all real power, Premier Mossadegh of Iran dissolved the Senate, upper house of the Parliament, and ordered his supporters in the Majlis, the lower house, to resign. That left only an Opposition of 23 deputies, not enough to constitute a quorum. Mossadegh then ordered the holding of a plebiscite on the question of dissolving all that remained of the Majlis.

Only Tehran and neighboring cities voted on Sunday. The rest of the country will vote later this week, but first reports forecast a victory for the aged Premier. But it will have been won by the abstention of orthodox Moslems, obeying the orders of their spiritual leader, Ayatullah Kashani, [Ayatollah Seyed Abolghassem Kashani] and by the votes of the Communists, 50,000 of whom are reported to have marched to the polls to support the demand for dissolution. Only a week ago a Communist demonstration in the Iranian capital assembled four times as many marchers as did a demonstration by Mossadegh’s party.

A very old proverb is recalled by the situation. It runs: “He needs a long spoon who would sup with the Devil.” The Premier, thirsting for more power, would do well to recall it. Many reports from Tehran in the last months, have indicated plainly that the Iranian Communist party, the Tudeh, is very strong and growing stronger. The Premier’s ambition is likely to over leap itself and fall on the other side.

Conduct of the plebiscite was not secret. Voters cast their ballots either in the Yes or the No booths, signed them and were thumbprinted. One person, a leading opponent of Mossadegh, was killed and more than 50 persons were injured in rioting in Tehran. Foreign embassies were shut and “most foreigners stayed off the streets.” Communists and nationalists have made repeated demands that all British and Americans leave Iran. The outlook is plainly for more trouble.

At First, the U.S. Was Optimistic About New Premier Mossadegh
Estimate of the Political Strength of the Mosadeq Government (U.S. Embassy in Iran, May 1951)


Related links:

Democracy In Eclipse | The Christian Science Monitor, August 3, 1953

Premier’s Supporters Angered by Remarks Of U.S. President | AP, August 8, 1953

Dictatorship For Iran? | Amsterdam Evening Recorder & Daily Democrat, August 5, 1953

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

Facebook  Twitter  YouTube  Tumblr   Instagram