Iran: A “Perilously Unstable” Trouble Spot

March 5, 1953 — The Morning Herald

The Mossadegh Project | April 23, 2021                    

Lead editorial in The Morning Herald (1897-1955) newspaper of Gloversville, New York. It referred to the recent events of No’he Esfand, where a violent mob attacked Premier Mossadegh’s residence, intent on killing him.


It is difficult to predict the outcome of the test of strength now going on in Iran. Late cable dispatches suggest that the forces supporting Premier Mohammed Mossadegh have established themselves, at least temporarily, in control.

But the situation is still fluid, and counter measures by Mossadegh’s political enemies could succeed ultimately. The dispatches are confusing and even conflicting. What is clear is that we are not getting the whole story. We cannot be sure that this uprising is Communist-fomented or whether it is just that the Communists, who always grow on upheaval, are only encouraging the mobs.

That much is certain: Mossadegh’s life was threatened and he was forced to flee, pajama-clad, to sanctuary in an American building. The Shah, who had previously planned to leave the country, decided to stay. And the mobs which chased Mossadegh from his home ran through the streets calling for his death or for the shah.

Ostensibly, these rioters were out to protect the Shah against the scheming premier, but whether this was their real purpose is hard to determine.

Momentarily anyway, Mossadegh is full of fight. He has fired the army chief of staff and has arrested 70 retired and active army officers. Violent demonstrations continue, but there is this difference: Today’s mobs seem to be Mossadegh’s rather than the Shah's.

Iran is perilously unstable. It is indeed a trouble spot where civil war could have worldwide consequences too terrible to contemplate.

70th Anniversary of TIME’s 1951 Man of the Year


Related links:

Breakdown of Iran Oil Talks Stirred Riots Against Mossy | AP, March 3, 1953

Deadlock in Iran | U.S. editorial, September 17, 1951

New Complications in Iran | The Brooklyn Eagle, April 8, 1953

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

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