IRAN: 99.93% Pure
TIME Magazine — August 17, 1953

The Mossadegh Project | October 29, 2010                           

The title of this sarcastic TIME article, dated just two days before the August 19th CIA-inspired coup, referenced the famous American Ivory Soap advertisements, which since 1879, claimed to be “99 44⁄100% Pure”.

It was published following Prime Minister Mossadegh’s controversial referendum to decide the dissolution of the Parliament. For a bit more on this subject see U.S. and Shah Acted Illegally, Not Mossadegh.

TIME magazine archive
Mossadegh Media archive

TIME magazine, August 17, 1953

Hitler’s best as a vote-getter was 99.81% Ja’s in 1936; Stalin’s peak was 99.73% Da’s in 1946. Last week Premier Mohammed Mossadegh, the man in the iron cot, topped them all with 99.93%.

This is the way he did it. Having unconstitutionally dissolved the Majlis, Mossadegh ordered a national referendum to judge his act, crying: “The will of the people is above law.” [It was dissolved after the referendum, not before. In Dec. 1953, the Shah also dissolved the Majles. No public consent was sought or granted.] The 1906 Iranian constitution (which Mossadegh as a young revolutionary helped put across) requires a secret ballot. Mossadegh scrupulously ordered up all the paraphernalia: voting tents, police guards, army tanks. In fact, he ordered a double set of everything—one for Teheran’s vast Sepah Square, another for Baharestan Square. Anyone voting yes could do so “secretly” in Sepah Square, but to vote no, one had to go to Baharestan. Government employees were let off work and in mobs descended on Sepah Square. So did other mobs assembled by the outlawed Tudeh Communist Party, which also would like to keep Parliament dissolved. In the happy crush, people did not have to show their identity cards or have their hands smeared with indelible ink. Many voted three or four times.

In Baharestan Square, things were different. The occasional voter had to run a gauntlet of signs proclaiming: “Only Traitors Vote for Non-Dissolution.” Election officials dozed, read magazines, swapped stories. At day’s end, to no one’s surprise, the count in Teheran district stood: for the dissolution (and Mossadegh), 166,550; against, 116. Mossadegh hailed the vote, of course, as a great vindication of democracy.

The Eisenhower - Mossadegh Cables: Complete Exchange of Messages
The Eisenhower - Mossadegh Cables: Complete Exchange of Messages


Related links:

Elections in Iran | The Indian Express, August 16, 1953

Mossadegh Loses Friends | TIME, January 19, 1953

Crisis in Iran | The Monroe News Star, August 19, 1953

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

Facebook  Twitter  YouTube  Tumblr   Instagram