My Fairy King
July 20, 1962 — The New York Post

The Mossadegh Project | May 12, 2021                      

Ali Amini (1905-1992), Prime Minister of Iran

A 1962 editorial on Iran in The New York Post, a tabloid-format newspaper based in New York city. The Editor-In-Chief and publisher was Dorothy Schiff. Founded by Alexander Hamilton in 1801, it is now owned by Rupert Murdoch, who bought the paper in 1976.

Guns and Peasants

To most Americans, Iran probably conjures up the image of a handsome Shah with a penchant for beautiful queens.

The resignation of Premier Ali Amini suggests something much more serious than these royal fairy tales. It may well signal a major defeat for an American foreign policy too often obsessed by guns and unmindful of peasants.

The Shah was overthrown some years ago and restored to his throne with CIA help. [He fled Iran after the coup he cooperated with initially failed] At that time, everyone understood that rural peonage, urban unemployment and student unrest required action.

There were periodic announcements from the Shah about reform, and the Iranian ruler even distributed some of the royal lands. But even at best, these decrees had the effect of concentrating the holdings of the big landowners and creating a new stratum of middlemen who profited from the “reformed” exploitation of peasant misery.

As a result, discontent increased. The name of Mossadegh, the aging architect of the coup which originally overthrew the Shah, again became a potent political factor. [He did not coup the Shah] Premier Amini was to be the answer to all of these problems, a man of integrity and social vision. With modest changes, he managed to win the hostility of the very rich, but not to deal decisively with the agonizing problems of his nation. Despite his shortcomings, one of the reasons for his departure deserves comment.

American aid, Amini said, could not meet “the real expense of military equipment the U.S. is giving Iran under military assistance.”

The Kennedy Administration has taken some welcome steps to alter the balance of American aid and to give priority to funds for social and economic construction. [President John F. Kennedy] But in this case, the U.S. has apparently continued along the old lines of guns first, peasants second. Laos and Indo-China have made it clear that this is a tragic, self-defeating approach, that shining military equipment is next to useless in the face of an outraged, aroused populace. [Vietnam]

What Went Wrong in Iran? | Amb. Henry Grady Tells All (1952)
What Went Wrong in Iran? | Saturday Evening Post, Jan. 5, 1952


Related links:

Saving Ali Amini | Bob Komer To JFK: “Lay Down the Law” In Iran (1962)

Iranian Glamor | The Statesman Journal (Oregon), April 30, 1962

Iran Police, Pupils Clash; 180 Injured | January 22, 1962 (Associated Press)

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

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