Profiles In Courage
July 21, 1954 — The Sydney Morning Herald

The Mossadegh Project | April 25, 2021                           

Lead editorial centered on Iran and Vietnam, as well as Egypt, Iraq and Pakistan in The Sydney Morning Herald of Sydney, Australia.

Australian media archive
Iran Oil Consortium | Archive of Documents (1953-1954)


Prospects are now bright for the stabilisation of dangerous situations in the two world areas in which Australia is most immediately interested. In South-East Asia, an end to the long war in Indo-China and the establishment of a multi-national security pact are both in sight. A regional defence arrangement, backed by Britain and the United States, which protected the approach route to Australia, would provide the guarantee of national safety that successive Canberra Governments have sought. At the same time, the changed attitudes of Persia and Iraq, together with the Turco-Pakistani treaty, have radically altered the strategical position in the Middle East.

Despite Australia’s present preoccupation with South East Asia, her concern with the security of the Middle East and her responsibility for a share in its defence in an emergency remain as factors vitally affecting military planning. So long as planning for Middle Eastern defence depended on Egyptian goodwill, Australia had every reason to be deeply disturbed. Now, however, an effective alternative is taking shape. Pakistan’s skilful and persistent diplomacy, aimed ultimately at challenging Egyptian leadership in the Moslem is bearing better fruit than most observers expected.

Iraq has already indicated her interest in the mutual security pact negotiated between Karachi and Istanbul, and has further defied Egyptian-inspired Arab League policy by accepting American aid. Now Persia in her turn seems to be showing interest in a revival of the Saadabad Pact, and Karachi even has hopes—although they are no more than that at this stage—of enlisting Afghan co-operation. It is, of course, possible to read too much into Teheran’s sharp reply to Russian inquiries about the Persian attitude towards regional defence. Persia’s fear and suspicion of Russia were a potent political influence even when, under the Mussadiq regime, anti-Western feeling was at its height.

Nevertheless, when the Persian Note is read in conjunction with the Finance Minister’s [Ali Amini] announcement that agreement in principle has been reached on the Anglo-Iranian dispute, the conclusion may fairly be drawn that the Zahedi Government is moving closer to active cooperation with the democracies. [Premier Fazlollah Zahedi] Precisely what this may mean in terms of area security arrangements remains, of course, to be seen. The importance of Persian participation in a regional defence pact needs no stressing, and it must be hoped that Teheran will see its practical advantages.

The end of the long drawn-out oil dispute certainly suggests a new and much more realistic attitude on the part of Persia’s leaders. It also indicates the extent to which General Zahedi has been able to attract public confidence and to reduce the bitterness against the West sedulously and successfully fostered by his predecessor in office. If the oil agreement is ratified by the Majlis—and the Ministry appears confident of this—then at least the Western Powers will be able to feel that stable and responsible government has been restored in Persia.

That in itself would be a substantial gain. So long as the oil problem remained unsolved and Persia’s economy consequently disrupted, so long was there the danger that Russia would seek to profit from Persia’s difficulties by using the ready-made fifth column of the Tudeh Party and exploiting distrust of the West. Restoration of the oil revenues would revitalise the Persian economy, put an end to government by shift and expediency, and, in the broader view, reduce the danger of a spark in a powder barrel.

Divvying Up the Loot: The Iran Oil Consortium Agreement of 1954
Divvying Up the Loot: The Iran Oil Consortium Agreement of 1954


Related links:

Politics And Oil In Persia | The Sydney Morning Herald, Dec. 7, 1953

Persia Awaits Reform | The Mercury, August 24, 1953

Persian Oil | The West Australian (Perth) editorial, July 21, 1954

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

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