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August 18, 1953 — The Evening Citizen

The Mossadegh Project | July 11, 2017                      

The Evening Citizen in Ottawa, Canada published this editorial about a day after the first, failed coup attempt in Iran, and the day before its successful recovery.

Canadian media archive

The Shah In Flight

The Shah of Iran’s flight over the weekend removes from Tehran a moderating influence on the extreme nationalist policies pursued by the government of Dr. Mossadegh, Iran’s Prime Minister. As a constitutional monarch, the Shah could not himself make public policy. [Making Mossadegh’s point!] But he could influence it by example. In recent years, he has undoubtedly been a thorn in Dr. Mossadegh’s side. On the issue of oil nationalization, he would have preferred a compromise solution to the outright seizure of the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company’s properties. Equally important, perhaps, the Shah has earned the enmity of his country’s large landowners by initiating a private land reform program, giving away part of his own property.

In a country as rent by social cleavages as Iran, the government faces two alternatives. It must institute broad reforms, or it must try to establish a dictatorship. Dr. Mossadegh evidently prefers the second course. Certainly, he has done nothing to give Iranians an economic stake in their society, with opportunities to improve their lot. Nationalization of oil properties, or at least the manner in which it was carried out, has proved illusory as a means to creating new economic opportunities for the Iranians. Moreover, most Iranians on the land remain tenants; the benefits of any technical improvements introduced into Iranian agriculture are reaped by a few landowners, while the bulk of the population remains dispossessed and discontented, without much hope of making any gains except through social reforms.

The situation appears ready-made for the strengthening of the Communist appeal in Iran. Ironically enough, the first to suffer from a Communist revolution would likely be the short-sighted men responsible for these circumstances, namely, the fanatical nationalists, who refuse to let Iran realize quick oil earnings by dealing with the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company, and the large landowners, who deny fresh economic and social hope to the peasants by opposing all efforts at land reform. The Shah’s removal does nothing to lighten a pessimistic outlook.

The 1953 Coup in Iran Was An Act of War | by Arash Norouzi
The 1953 Coup in Iran Was An Act of War | by Arash Norouzi

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Related links:

Revolt In Persia | The Advertiser, August 21, 1953

Communist Mobs Battle Iran Troops | United Press, Aug. 18, 1953

Flight of the Shah | The New York Herald Tribune, August 18, 1953

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

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