Dangerous Atmosphere

December 11, 1951 — The Advertiser

The Mossadegh Project | August 10, 2021                           

Lead editorial on Iran in The Advertiser (Adelaide, South Australia) newspaper.

Australian media archive

The Advertiser (Adelaide, South Australia) newspaper


Before the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company was driven out of Persia the Majlis was used as a place of asylum only by the eccentric Dr. Mossadeq. Today it shelters some twenty members of Parliament and thirty journalists, all of whom feel that their lives are threatened because they have dared to criticise the Prime Minister’s policy.

Nothing could demonstrate more clearly the growing chaos into which the affairs of Persia are falling. A few months ago the now fearful journalists and deputies were boisterously hailing Dr. Mossadeq as the great liberator. The inevitable process of disillusionment is well under way.

The Prime Minister has returned from Washington with nothing to show except his diplomatic victory at Lake Success where he helped to persuade the Security Council to pigeon-hole the British case against his Government.

Except for one short-lived attempt to restart the Abadan refinery, the oil industry has remained dormant. The £32,500,000 which British enterprise would this year have been paying into the Persian Treasury has been thrown away and there is nothing to replace it.

The Communist-dominated Tudeh Party, which supported Dr. Mossadeq’s campaign against the British, is already using its opportunity. It has had its followers demonstrating in the streets of Tehran, and there have been some ugly clashes during the past few weeks. The Nationalists, though probably without the consent of the Prime Minister, who has no liking for violence, have been employing much the same methods of terrorism as the Communists. The Majlis is full of complaints that anyone who utters a word of criticism against the Government takes his life in his hands.

This is the atmosphere in which Dr. Mossadeq and his supporters are preparing to go to the country for a renewal of their mandate. Whatever the outcome of the elections, the real gainers will undoubtedly be the Communists. Dr. Mossadeq may be able to secure his Government’s return by mixing the prevailing intimidation with more promises of the millennium. But the more glowing he makes his promises the greater eventually will be the popular reaction against him. When it becomes fully apparent that Dr. Mossadeq has, in fact, nothing to offer the country but bankruptcy, unemployment and a still lower standard of living for the masses, the argument that things could not be worse under Communism and might conceivably be better, will have a powerful appeal.

A similar danger is shaping itself in Egypt, even if more slowly. National demonstrations will not fill empty stomachs or provide homes for those who have been forced by threats to leave the Canal Zone.

The Egyptian Government seems to understand this far more clearly than Dr. Mossadeq ever did. But while it may be able to reassure itself that it can keep control of the campaign it has let loose against the British, so, too, undoubtedly, did the Persian Prime Minister.

SAFER AT HOME: U.S. Implores Shah To Stay In Iran (Feb. 1953)
SAFER AT HOME: U.S. Implores Shah To Stay In Iran (Feb. 1953)

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Related links:

Iran Opposition Stages Sitdown; Demands Rights | AP, Dec. 16, 1951

Has Persia Won? | The Courier-Mail (Brisbane), July 24, 1952

Mossadeq’s Mistiming | Barrier Daily Truth, December 12, 1951

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

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