International Discourtesy

February 1, 1952 — Oakland Tribune

The Mossadegh Project | October 18, 2015                       

This lead editorial in an Oakland, California newspaper was highly critical of Iran’s foreign policy vis-a-vis America. The main focus of their ire was a reinstituted 1949 law, which, they neglected to mention, also shuttered Russian centers.

Closing of American Offices in Iran
Is Pay-Off on State Department Blunders

It is unfortunate that just as the Anglo-Egyptian crisis shows some sign of being eased, the Iranian Premier has taken another of his xenophobic steps. This time it is the order to close down all American information and educational centers in Iran except the one in Tehran.

The action is based on a 1949 decree which never had been enforced. Neutral observers believe that the action was aimed primarily at the British Council (a similar organization). However, it is hard to believe that Mossadegh would suddenly become legalistic right after he had taken such steps as his refusal to receive a British note protesting his threatened rupture of diplomatic relations, the closing of nine British consular offices in Persia, and the forcing of the British Bank of Iran and the Middle East to close its doors. These acts of international discourtesy are calculated to inflame an already highly combustible situation.

On top of this intransigent and recalcitrant behavior, and adding insult to injury, comes the report that Iran and communist Hungary have just signed a barter trade agreement which includes provision for export of Iranian oil to Hungary. Iran has about two million tons of oil stored at Abadan, which is the great refinery built by the British and recently closed down in the nationalization of Persian oil resources.

It is difficult to understand what our State Department is up to. We may well ask why we should continue to support the Iranian Government to the tune of 23 million dollars in American aid, [$24 million] under the Point Four program, while at the same time excluding Iran from further assistance under the Mutual Security plan. It is just this kind of shilly-shallying that has the whole world wondering if we have any consistent policy toward the Middle East, or whether we simply resort to stop-gap expedients at the last moment.

We were under the impression that our primary goal in the Middle East was to keep the area free from domination by the Soviet Union. In order to accomplish this, it was necessary to work out a co-ordinated policy with Great Britain. We seem to be trying for Anglo-American unity in our approach to Egypt, but the half-hearted approach to Iran at the beginning of the Anglo-Iranian oil dispute was a dismal failure. Our Iranian chickens now are coming home to roost, having left behind them some quite addled eggs.


Related links:

Iran Suppresses U.S. Centers as Thanks for U.S. AidBuffalo Courier-Express, Feb. 5, 1952

Anyone Surprised? — U.S. editorial, April 29, 1952

Iran Votes For MossadeghThe Times Record, February 1, 1952

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

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