All the Libel That’s Fit To Print
NY Times Called Out On ‘Terrorist’ Smear (1952)

Arash Norouzi
The Mossadegh Project | January 11, 2018                     

A newspaper of record, The New York Times made a habit of casting baseless “terrorism” aspersions against Dr. Mossadegh’s government. One of their reporters, in fact, was kicked out of Iran for just this reason.

In this instance, shortly following the Iranian Premier’s short-lived resignation, an Iranian-American radiologist responded immediately in a letter to the editor. It was printed one day after Mossadegh returned to power (known as 30 Tir).

Though the Times published the letter, they were unmoved by the sentiment. In their July 23rd editorial Grave Turn In Iran, they wrote that Mossadegh was “both the creature and the prisoner of the terroristic and fascist elements which...swept him back to office on a wave of revolutionary violence.”

July 18, 1952

The New York Times The resignation of Premier Mossadegh of Iran at this stage will be no loss to his country. He is reported to have stepped out because the Shah refused to give him the concurrent posts of War Minister and Premier and at the same time confirm his demand for six months of dictatorial powers. These reports do credit to the Shah.

The Iranian Premier has been a controversial figure, but he is in no sense a popular leader. He does not enjoy a parliamentary majority and it has frequently been charged, with plausible evidence, that he has been able to hold his post only because of the will of a tight knot of professional terrorists. His personal histrionics have made him something of a legend, but they certainly do not add to his stature.

His conduct of the seizure of the property of the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company and the presentation of Iran’s case both here and at The Hague have been open to grave question on the ground both of legality and of good common sense. Iranian nationalism has had a platform, but Iran has been needlessly impoverished and an equitable solution, which was possible all along, has been ruled out.

It is earnestly to be hoped that Iran can get back to a more stable and more perspicacious government with a change in leadership. The present state of affairs profits no one except the Communist enemies of freedom, and profits Iran least of all.

July 22, 1952

Terrorist Ties in Iran Denied


Your editorial "Mossadegh Quits" in your issue of July 18 prompted me to write this letter.

The intimation that Dr. Mossadegh’s Government had ties with professional terrorists is deplorable, especially when it comes from your paper, which is generally believed to reflect the most sober opinion in the United States. Let me inform you that no Government in Iran has ties with terrorists—professional or amateur. I cannot believe in such irresponsible utterance, because if I do it would imply that the basic honesty of American Government could be questioned on the basis of findings by the recent Senate Crime Investigation Committee, the Brooklyn grand jury, and the wrongdoings of such citizens as Al Capone.


Boston, July 18, 1952.

“If I sit silently, I have sinned”: A guiding principle
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Related links:

Mossadegh on the Way Out? | Dr. Mossadegh and the Iranians (Nov. 1951)

After Ali Razmara’s Death, CIA Probes “The Current Crisis In Iran” (1951)

“The Highest Compliment...” — Who’s Behind This Nervy Iran Letter? (1953)

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

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