Extending A Hand

August 24, 1953 — The Lewiston Evening Journal

Arash Norouzi

The Mossadegh Project | December 28, 2013                    

Like everyone else, The Lewiston Evening Journal in Maine encouraged the U.S. to deliver speedy economic aid to the new coup regime. This lead editorial was published Monday, August 24, 1953, just four days after the military coup in Iran. One of their front page headlines that day read, "Shah of Iran Returns Home Today – Welcome Is Contrast To Flight Last Sunday – Treason Trial, Death Likely For Mossadegh".

Assistance to Iran

The new Iranian government is plagued by a serious financial problem. Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlevi has disclosed there is no money in the treasury. Obviously the administration of the Shah and his prime minister, Fazollah Zahedi [sic — Fazlollah Zahedi], cannot stand for long unless it affords affirmative proof it will succeed where ex-Premier Mossadegh failed.

Iran’s plight is the direct result of Mossadegh’s fiery nationalism. The deposed premier was so fanatical that he left no hope of compromise between Britain and Iran over the oil issue. Consequently the revenue from oil export has been cut off the past two years. Iran benefitted from the expert of oil to the extent of some 100 million and more dollars a year. This revenue enabled the nation to meet expenses. In fact it is believed by economic experts that Iran can get along with as little as five million dollars a month or around 60 millions [sic] a year.

Indications are that the United States will seek to ease the present situation for Iran. It may be possible for this country to give the Middle East country a few million dollars from its foreign aid program at the present time. This would allow Zahedi to establish his administration on firmer foundation.

It certainly would be folly for the United States to spend great sums in aiding Iran at this time. There still remains some question regarding the stability of the new regime, and there is uncertainty as to how far it is willing to go in seeking to reach an agreement with Britain over the oil issue. At present Iranian nationalism is so strong Zahedi hardly can be expected to take any steps toward reconciliation with Britain for sometime yet.

A moderate assistance program, however, seems desirable. If through it the United States is able to consolidate Zahedi’s position and help Iran maintain its economic balance, the cost might be worthwhile. Zahedi is viewed generally as a responsible sort of individual, and he might be able to straighten out Iran’s tangled internal affairs and troubled relationship with Britain.

Divvying Up the Loot: The Iran Oil Consortium Agreement of 1954
Divvying Up the Loot: The Iran Oil Consortium Agreement of 

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Related links:

Iran’s Counter Revolution | The Lewiston Evening Journal, August 21, 1953

No Lack of Nerve in Mossadegh Bid for U.S. Loan | Buffalo Courier-Express, August 3, 1952

In Defense Of Mossadegh | Letter to Detroit Free Press (Dec. 11, 1953)

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

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