Iranian “National Inferiority” Blamed

October 17, 1952 — Oswego Palladium-Times

The Mossadegh Project | July 13, 2012                  

Editorial from the Oswego Palladium-Times, a New York state newspaper, on Friday, October 17, 1952.


Iran’s Premier Mossadegh has had the distinction of punching a lion in the nose while kicking himself at the same time. When the emotional, unpredictable leader of the Land of the Persians and the Medes in the Bible threw the British out and nationalized the Iranian oil fields just about a year ago, he cut off his own country’s main supply of income.

But slugging the British lion like that was hot stuff in Iran where the people had long suffered from a feeling of national inferiority.

That sense of inferiority is one of the bases for the extreme nationalism that has seized the Middle Eastern countries, now that the old colonial powers like Britain and France are on the wane.

The evidence of Iran’s plight is the extreme ignorance and poverty of most of the 18 million Iranians. In that sense they have nothing in common with the well-educated Mossadegh, one of Iran’s biggest landlords.

He became a national hero overnight, the Iranian strong man, although for a strong man he was strangely given to fits of weeping and fainting when the going got tough.

Still, with their emotions and attention fixed on the spectacle of Britain humiliated at last, the mass of Iranians were diverted from the truly reactionary nature of their own government which had been doing precious little for the betterment of the people.

There was a bit of a gamble in what Mossadegh did. He knew the West badly needed oil. So it must have seemed likely to him he could settle on his own terms.

But the British were able to set up a boycott against Iranian oil, and development of oil elsewhere was stepped up to offset the loss from Iran.

And, as time went on Iran began to suffer. The royalty paid by the British for the oil taken from the country had made up at least one third of the Iranian government’s total revenue.

At the same time the British wanted compensation for losses and damages to the industry they had developed in Iran. Mossadegh, for his part demanded millions for royalties he said were owed Iran.

Meanwhile, because of the loss of British revenue, Iran’s economic condition grew steadily worse, although Mossadegh retained popular support. As if to make sure he retained it, several months ago, at precisely the same time the new army regime in Egypt was doing it, he began land reforms in Iran.

This week stories from Iran indicated he may have started to lose some of his support. Yesterday he broke off relations with Britain. What now?

Ayatollah Kashani’s Threat to Mossadegh | CIA, Sept. 1952
The assassination of Iranian Premier Ali Razmara — March 1951


Related links:

Iran’s Break With Britain | The Binghamton Press, October 18, 1952

U.S. Is Reported Ready To Resume Arms Aid To Iran | The Associated Press, April 25, 1952

What’s Next In Persia? | Goulburn Evening Post, November 20, 1951

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

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