Little Triggers
September 2, 1952 — The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The Mossadegh Project | June 15, 2016                         

A ponderous editorial on Iran in The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in Pennsylvania from 1952.

Mossy and the Pistol

The settlement of the oil crisis in Iran now seems as far off as ever. Premier Mossadegh has flatly turned down the offer backed by both President Truman and prime Minister Churchill that would get Iranís oil flowing again and meantime tide over his country with an American cash grant. Curiously, most of the terms of that offer are said to have been proposed by Mossadegh himself in private talks with British and American officials last week. But now when they are down on paper he says Iran can never accept them.

The American interest in this matter, which to some may only seem a hassle between the Iranians and a British oil company, is one of compelling security. Iran has been drowning in its own oil ever since Mossadegh expropriated the fields and refineries and kicked out the British last year. Iran has not been able to run the oil industry and the British have been putting the economic squeeze on the country to make it come to terms. [A World Bank team discovered otherwise during a tour of the oil facilities in January] Meanwhile, the native Communist party, whose Soviet master borders Iran to the north, has become the likely heir to power if Mossadegh falls. Given the strategic importance of Iran, a Communist victory there might well be the most disastrous defeat we have yet suffered in the cold war.

The British, partly because Mossadegh has managed to stay in the saddle, and partly because the United States got them to see the strategic issue was more important than the financial one, have backed down a lot from their original stand. They donít contest nationalization and are willing to have the World Court arbitrate on compensation for their former oil properties. But this does not seem enough for Mossadegh.

Perhaps he is so hemmed in by the anti-British sentiment he raised among his followers that he canít risk a compromise. Perhaps he is playing for time so as to get the Iranian Parliament to help him save face on a compromise. Perhaps he figures he can get a better deal from the British, and, incidentally, more cash from the American Government. Perhaps he still figures on making a deal with an American oil company to run his industry, though this would involve a great strain on Anglo-American relations.

Whether his conduct springs from any or some of this motives, he still continues to hold a pistol to his, and Iranís, head. And, as the West has for so long, we can only wait and hope that it doesnít go off.

Truman and Mossadeghís First Messages on Iran Oil Dispute (1951)
President Truman and Premier Mossadegh's First Messages on Iran Oil Dispute (1951)


Related links:

Open To Bribery | Daily Press (St. Marys, PA), Sept. 26, 1952

Boiling Point Near In Iran | Alsop Brothers, July 30, 1952

The Iranian Dictator | Pittsburgh Press, August 5, 1952

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

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