Deaf, Blind...and Dumb

August 18, 1953 — The News Leader

The Mossadegh Project | May 1, 2023                        

Lead editorial in The News Leader newspaper of Staunton, Virginia.

Real Tears Ahead For Mossadegh

Look soon for the complete fall of Iran to communism. With the flight of the Shah to Iraq, following what so far has been a bloodless effort to overthrow Premier Mossadegh (according to Mossadegh) or a coup engineered to remove the last remaining brake on him, the country has just about fallen into Russia’s clutches.

Mossadegh has the backing of the “outlawed” Communist Party and has used it to gain absolute power over the country’s government. There is an outside chance that enough of the army is loyal to Shah Mohammed Raza Pahlevi [Mohammd Reza Pahlavi] to change the course of events, but Major General Fazellah Zahedi, [Fazlollah Zahedi] leader of the reported effort to unhorse Mossadegh, has fled to the hills and is being hunted down. Lacking a determined leader, military elements favorable to the Shah probably will be unable to accomplish anything.

Once more Western blindness and apathy are bearing bitter fruit. The British were deaf and blind to postwar nationalism in Iran and to the propaganda that the country was being robbed of its rightful profits from its oil. The United States State Department under Dean Acheson likewise failed to sense the situation and to use its influence with the British, although the interests and safety of Western nations were at stake. Not until it was too late, when the British oil plants had been confiscated and nationalized, was an equitable offer made Iran. Mossadegh, instead of being forced to come to terms by the loss of oil revenue, remained adamant in the face of popular feeling against the West that grew in intensity as the Communist Party of Iran multiplied in numbers.

Russia’s hand in these developments is evident. Her agents have undoubtedly directed the propaganda campaign which kept the “people’s demonstrations” whenever there was any resistance to Mossadegh in Parliament, which he dissolved several weeks ago. The aged Premier, who has wept and fainted in crises in the long drawn out oil dispute, will really have something to weep about once he and his country are in the firm grip of Russia.

The fall of Iran to communism means that Russia will gain immense oil resources, removing one of the weak spots in the Soviet war potential and providing a base for further conquests in the Middle East.


Related links:

Proving Our Point | The Palm Beach Post, August 27, 1953

Wisdom Will Be Needed | The Huntsville Times, Aug. 20, 1953

Army Morale: Loy Henderson Counsels Iran’s Shah After 1953 Coup

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

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