The National Front of Iran

Russian Memo on Dr. Mossadegh, Et. Al (1949)

Arash Norouzi

The Mossadegh Project | March 4, 2022                    

“...Mossadegh is an opponent of truly friendly relations with the USSR and the democratic movement in Iran.”

The Soviet Ambassador to Iran, Mikhail Maksimov, composed this rather unfavorable memorandum on the Iranian National Front in Oct. 1949. (Translated from Russian)

Russian documents on Iran (Coming soon)

[October 29, 1949]




According to Tehran newspapers’ reports of 24 October a group of Iranian political figures headed by Dr. Mossadegh have decided to create a so-called “National Front.” A commission has been chosen to draw up a platform and a charter of this newly-organized political group which is opposed to the government. This fact was preceded by the struggle of a small group of Iranian political figures of various persuasions for deputy’s seats in the 16th convocation of the Majlis. For example, on 10 October Dr. Mossadegh organized a meeting at which editors and representatives of large liberal and reactionary Tehran newspapers were present: Dad, Bakhtare Emruz, Egdam, Setare, Jabhe, Keshvar, and also former deputies of the opposition minority of the 15th convocation of the Majlis. [Dad, Bakhtar-e Emrouz, Eghdam, Setareh, Jebhe, Keshavarz] Those who spoke at this meeting sharply criticized the lack of freedom of elections to the 16th convocation of the Majlis.

Dr. Mossadegh, the leader of the “National Front” being organized, is a well-known political figure of Iran. [Mohammad Mossadegh, Majles member] A 70-year-old large landowner, he also owns several houses in Tehran which he rents. [he was 67] Mossadegh, a person with a high opinion of himself, enjoys authority in Iranian bourgeois nationalist circles and some university youth. He had held a number of government posts in Iran (Minister of Finance in 1921, Minister of Foreign Affairs in 1924). He was opposed to Reza Shah and did not occupy government posts before 1941. [contradicting the previous sentence!]

After 1941, heading the opposition in the Majlis, Dr. Mossadegh spoke against Seyyed Ziaeddin, [Seyed Zia Tabatatai] Sadr’s government, [Premier Mohsen Sadr] against Qavam, [Ahmad Ghavam] and the American adviser Millspaugh. [Arthur C. Millspaugh]

At the same time, Mossadegh is an opponent of truly friendly relations with the USSR [CCCP] and the democratic movement in Iran. In 1927 together with Taghizade he introduced an amendment to the protocol of the Soviet-Persian Treaty of Neutrality and Non-aggression according to which Persia was to first meet not the obligations of the Soviet-Persian pact but obligations with respect to the League of Nations. [Hassan Taghizadeh]

Then the deputies rejected this amendment.

On 2 December 1944 he opposed granting an oil concession to the Soviet Union, and submitted a well-known bill essentially directed against the USSR which was adopted by the Majlis. It is characteristic that when Deputy Rakhimiyya offered his bill to revoke the British oil concession in Iran and suggested that Mossadegh, who called himself a patriot, be the first to sign this bill Mossadegh refused to do this. [Gholam-Hossein Rahimian]

Other people who pass themselves off as nationalists are also taking part in the creation of the “National Front” along with Mossadegh. They include: former deputy Dr. Begai, who sharply criticized the government in the Majlis; [Mozaffar Baghai] Nariman, famous in the past for his sympathies toward the Americans; [Mahmoud Nariman] Amir Alai, a relative of Qavam’s; Khalili and Senjabi, who are connected with the British and hostile to the USSR. [Abbas Khalili and Karim Sanjabi]

The makeup of the organizers of the “National Front” give reason to think that:

1. Mossadegh’s group primarily pursues the goal of getting deputy’s seats in the Majlis. The inclusion in the group of such people as Hasan Sadr, Khalili, and Senjabi, known for their pro-British orientation, gives reason to suppose that pro-British elements had a hand in the creation of the “National Front.” [Did he actually believe this?]

2. Judging from press reports, the Iranian government is not yet hindering the measures of Mossadegh’s group. This can be explained by a desire of the ruling clique of Iran to create at least the appearance of “democratic” elections to the 16th convocation of the Majlis.


M. Maksimov
[Mikhail Maksimov, USSR Ambassador to Iran]

Two copies printed ag
1 - to Cde. V. M. Molotov [Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov]
2. to the OBSV file
28 October 1949

outgoing 1692-odsv
28 October 1949

• Source: The Wilson Center (Cold War International History Project) via Russian State Archive of Socio-Political History (RGASPI)

"M. Maksimov, 'The National Front in Iran'," October 28, 1949, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, RGASPI, f. 82, op. 2, d. 1220, ll. 30-32. Contributed by Jamil Hasanli and translated by Gary Goldberg. [Link]

[Annotations by Arash Norouzi] Underlined text was done by hand in original.

• Wilson Center: “handwritten at the bottom left of the first page: 5373s/29 October 1949”


Related links:

Soviets Object to U.S. Military Aid To Iran (May 1952 Letter)

Australian House of Representatives debate Iran, oil (1952)

More Than Oil Involved | April 9, 1946 editorial + cartoon on Iran & Russia

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

Facebook  Twitter  YouTube  Tumblr   Instagram