No “Emotional Pyrotechnics” Displayed

October 17, 1951 — The Knickerbocker News

The Mossadegh Project | March 27, 2013                   

Lead editorial in The Knickerbocker News of Albany, New York.

A Bad Break Is Feared

When it was announced that Premier Mohammed Mossadegh of Iran was flying to this country to address the U.N. Security Council, we wondered out loud about the kind of performance he would put on.

In his native Persia Mr. Mossadegh pulls out all the emotional stops in making a speech. He weeps. Often he faints. In short, he puts on a fine show, geared to an audience that responds to the emotional appeal.

We remarked that this same approach would inspire nothing but amusement before the sophisticated U.N. audience and speculated on whether Mr. Mossadegh would demonstrate that essential gift of the true politician—the flair for gauging his audience.

The answer came Monday. Mr. Mossadegh displayed none of the emotional pyrotechnics that have marked his speeches at home. He was quiet, restrained and intense—if at times something more belligerent than seemed necessary. In other words, the Persian premier did cut his performance to fit the occasion.

Coincidentally, the American ambassador to Iran, Henry F. Grady, granted an interview to U.S. News & World Report in which he is highly critical of the British methods in trying to settle the dispute. He believes the English, who called the signals, called them wrong.

One profound error of the British strategy, in his opinion, was the attempt to suppress Premier Mossadegh through internal political pressure. The effort backfired, and Mr. Mossadegh is more powerful than ever he would have been had not the British interfered.

Moreover, he thinks the British erred in taking the case before the United Nations, where a forum is provided for Persian complaints. He infers that there has been oppression by the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company, and that the past record tends to discredit the concessions the English are willing to make.

Mr. Grady believes the proper answer to the current impasse is establishment of an international company to exploit Iranian oil, but he has no great hope that such a plan will be adopted. He is, on the contrary, fearful that Persia faces financial collapse which will result in a Communist take-over.

The tone of both British and Persian delegates to the U.N., however, indicates that a renewal of negotiations is not beyond the realm of possibility. It is no secret that the United States has been a prime mover in trying to get the two nations together in some sort of compromise.

But the situation cannot remain in a state of suspension indefinitely. Something will crack, and soon—probably Iran’s economy, when there no longer are funds to pay the oil workers. It is to the self-interest of the United States to make sure that doesn’t happen.


Related links:

Iran Premier Tells Why Talks Failed | AP, November 14, 1951

Indecent Proposals: Oil, Iran and the Anglo-American Art of Non-Negotiation

Mossadegh Is First Problem UN Must Solve in Oil Crisis | Peter Edson, October 15, 1951

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

Facebook  Twitter  YouTube  Tumblr   Instagram