Plum Out Of Luck

August 24, 1953 — The Santa Cruz Sentinel

The Mossadegh Project | September 24, 2016                   

The week Premier Mossadegh was overthrown, this Northern California newspaper smeared the fallen leader as a Soviet agent (without a shred of evidence), and tossed in yet another inane Nazi reference.

Santa Cruz Sentinel-News (Santa Cruz, California) newspaper

Curtain For The Comedian

The performance of Mossadegh in Iran, which has now ended, at least for the time being, was far less funny than many newspaper readers might think. The cavortings and fits of an elderly man who would drop into a dead faint at the slightest provocation made amusing reading, all right. So did the rainbow-hued pajamas that invariably were mentioned as the premier’s attire. One should not forget, though, that the fainting spells always came at the strategically right moment, and that the pajamas were no less an instrument of publicity than were Hermann Goering’s neon-lighted uniforms. [Nazi leader Hermann Göring]

Mossadegh played a dangerous game. He played it anti-British and attempted at the same time to offend neither America nor Russia. That is an attitude quite anachronistic to 1953 politics, particularly when Russia is one’s neighbor. In defense of Mossadegh, it must be said that the Shah has always been a nice boy without apparent energy or influence. He is not as obnoxious as Egypt’s hardly lamented Farouk, [King Farouk] but through all these past years, he has been a figurehead of royalty who either could not or would not assert himself.

For the son of Reza Shah Pahlevi, a man who asserted himself most conspicuously and with a great amount of success, such demeanor was not very becoming. Today, the Shah has a chance. It remains to be seen whether he is man enough to grasp it and live up to it. In his absence on short-lived but nevertheless inglorious exile, the army took care of Mossadegh and the people at least from what one reads liked it. Today, the Shah is back home, a hero by virtue of the army’s coup. [There’s much more to the story!] Many a Roman emperor gained the throne because the Pretorian guard put him there. Many proved themselves incapable of being more than the temporary puppets of the generals. Some overcame the handicap and made great records for themselves.

What will it be in Iran? By whipping up Anglophobia in Iran, Mossadegh earned the delighted tacit cooperation of the Soviets. Although he was successful in keeping the Tudeh party out of office, this was probably due to instructions from the Kremlin to the Tudeh leader to stay out. Mossadegh did a lot of work for Moscow even if he professed to hate the Russians as much as the British. The army’s coup changes that picture. If the Shah can assert himself and swing Persia into pro-Western waters, the Tudeh will be forced to become more active, and the rift will become greater. But no longer will Persia be a ripe plum to be picked at Moscow’s pleasure whenever the time comes.

Richard Stokes’ Second Thoughts on Iranian Oil (1951 Letter)
Richard Stokes' Letter to Clement Attlee, Aga Khan Concurs (1951)


Related links:

Mossadegh Out | Daily Press (St. Marys, PA), August 20, 1953

Iranian Tragicomedy | The Santa Cruz Sentinel, March 2, 1953

Nemesis In Iran | The Indian Express, August 21, 1953

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

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