Not Worth the Gamble

September 28, 1951 — Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The Mossadegh Project | March 8, 2022                     

An editorial in The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on avoiding war over Iran.

Last Card in Iran

THE BRITISH have but one card left to play in the Iran oil dispute. But that card, armed intervention, is one the United States cannot let them play.

As many foresaw months ago, Britainís stiff-necked policy with regard to Iranís nationalization has ended in complete failure. Now our Government ought to do more than extend its offices as mediator. It is long past time that we should make it clear to the British that we arenít going to worsen our already bad reputation in the Arab world by continuing to let them handle the oil dispute their way.

Premier Mossadegh, he of the dramatic faints and hysterical tears, has ordered the British technicians out of the nationalized Anglo-Iranian Companyís Abadan refinery. He has given them one week to go.

That leaves the British three alternatives:

1) Get out; 2) Intervene with force; 3) Come round to Iranís terms for staying on. Itís unlikely the British would voluntarily do the first. President Truman reportedly has advised the British against the second, as well he might. So thereís the third alternative, which the British should have taken long ago. Mr. Truman has asked Dr. Mossadegh to cancel the expulsion order. But even if the latter does so, the British alternatives will remain substantially the same.

No matter what legalisms the British can offer, the plain fact remains that if Iran wants to nationalize her oil industry and in her own way, nothing, short of war, can prevent it. Britain has been puting [sic] the economic screws to Iran, but that hasnít made Mossadegh knuckle under. Indeed, it probably has served to increase the nationalist fever which led to the oil seizure in the first place.

The United States can no longer afford to fumble this issue, which at the present rate can only benefit the Soviet Union, Iranís powerful and covetous neighbor. Washington should tell the British more than to refrain from force. It should tell them that if they donít make an acceptable offer to Iran and thus keep their own technicians on in that country, weíll send Americans over there to help the Iranians run their oil industry.


Related links:

A Proposition for Iran | The Muncie Star, Nov. 25, 1951

Australian House of Representatives debate Iran (1951)

Mossadegh Acts Like A Madman | The Times Record, October 2, 1951

MOSSADEGH t-shirts — ďIf I sit silently, I have sinnedĒ

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