If At First You Misfire...
August 21, 1953 — The Advertiser

The Mossadegh Project | July 7, 2017                                                          

The Advertiser (Adelaide, South Australia) published this editorial two days after the 1953 coup in Iran. The newspaper folded the following year.

The Advertiser (Adelaide, South Australia) newspaper


The events of the past few days in Persia can perhaps be best explained by using an analogy borrowed from artillery practice. In gunnery when a misfire occurs the practice is for all members of the gun’s crew to retire to a safe distance. After an interval the man in charge of the gun returns and ejects the faulty cartridge. The gun is then reloaded and fired.

When the royalist gun aimed at Dr. Mossadeq misfired, the No. 1 gunner, General Zahedi, took to the hills for safety. [Fazlollah Zahedi] The Shah, his commanding officer, fled first to Iraq and thence to Rome. It seemed at the time as though there was no one left brave enough to see if the gun could be refired. But refired it has been and the explosion, while sparing Dr. Mossadeq’s life, has brought down his Government and caused heavy loss of life among his followers.

We do not yet know who was directly responsible. General Zahedi apparently kept out of Tehran until the army, preceded by a mob of rioters, had swept through the capital into Dr. Mossadeq’s fortified house. Even the rioters have still not been identified in reports coming out of Tehran, but it looks very much as though the white-clad Moslem followers of the Mullah Kashani were not only among them but made up the vanguard. [Ayatollah Seyed Abolghasem Kashani]

The Shah entrusted the coup to the army, and it is to General Zahedi that he is looking for the maintenance of order and the leadership of a new Government. On neither ground can he feel altogether confident. Dr. Mossadeq must still be reckoned a power in a land where many people regard him as the embodiment of nationalism, even likening him to Mahatma Gandhi. Moreover, there is Kashani, who has ambitions of his own to pursue, and, in the background, the Communist Tudeh Party.

The Shah himself appears to be the only person round whom a new regime could be set up with any prospect of ensuring stability and leading, the country out of the economic and political desert into which Dr. Mossadeq has brought it.

“If I sit silently, I have sinned”: A guiding principle
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Related links:

The Persian Coup | The Canberra Times, August 21, 1953

High Stakes in Iran | Reading Eagle, September 1, 1953

Juggler On A Tight Rope | The Advertiser, August 25, 1952

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

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