October Surprise

September 28, 1951 — The WORLD This WEEK

The Mossadegh Project | October 1, 2014                  

The WORLD This WEEK, a syndicated package of news and editorial content which ran nationwide in U.S. newspapers, featured this opinion piece at the top of their two-page spread. It reacted to the Iranian order to expel all British Anglo-Iranian Oil Company workers from Abadan by October 4th, 1951.

Iran Sizzles

THERE were rumors early this week that nationalistic Premier Mohammed Mossadegh might seize on a welcome breathing spell offered by the British general elections coming up October 15 to build up his political fences.

He had, informants said, decided to drop ultimatum tactics for awhile in his fight with the British over nationalization of Anglo-Iranian oil properties in Iran and use the time to consolidate his nationalistic bloc at home. His party faces a test of its own in the Iranian general elections scheduled for November.

Mossadegh Turns on the Heat

Suddenly, all such speculation was blown up. Premier Mossadegh ordered 300 British oil technicians to get out of Iran by October 4. Iranian officials said Britons remaining at the huge Abadan refinery could not stay under any conditions. [Actually, the Iranians wanted the British technicians to stay and work for the National Iranian Oil Company]

Mossadegh instructed the National Iranian Oil Company to see that all Iranians in the Khuzistan [Khuzestan] oil areas extend to the departing Britons their “utmost hospitality and see them off with most friendly feelings.”

A British spokesman in Iran announced that the technicians would not resist formal eviction orders, but in London, top cabinet ministers went into a huddle to study whether or not Britain should use force to resist Mossadegh’s order. The British have warships in nearby Iraqui [sic—Iraqi] waters of the Persian Gulf.

After a long meeting, the London officials decided to protest “in the strongest terms” the Iranian order. Accordingly, the protest was dispatched to Tehran. Once more the Iranian crisis gained momentum, threatening to upset a delicate balance in one of the world’s most sensitive trouble spots.

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Related links:

Iran Flirts With Reds Again | The Independent Record, October 11, 1952

A Proposition for Iran | Muncie Evening Press, November 25, 1951

Mossadegh Pauses | The WORLD This WEEK, October 11, 1952

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

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