Iranian Idol
November 11, 1953 — The Times Record

The Mossadegh Project | January 31, 2017                        

A typically biased editorial in The Times Record commenting on Mossadegh’s trial for treason in military court.


The latitude granted former Premier Mossadegh of Iran by the court hearing his case appears to tolerate antics banned in democratic countries. Mossadegh is ranting against the court, is indulging in fits of fainting and weeping. He tires his attorney one day and punches him in the face the next day. [Col. Jalil Bozorgmehr] What amounts to contempt of court goes unchallenged.

Before deciding this Tehran court is unworthy of respect, it might be well to consider whether the defendant or the tribunal is parading contempt. The court’s tolerance of Massadegh’s [sic] performance may be intentional. It must not be forgotten that the jailed premier is the popular idol of the fanatic nationalists and the Communists. Nor should the fact that Mossadegh holds a trump card be forgotten.

Mossadegh knows his life is safe because Iranian law forbids capital punishment for men over 60. He knows his followers look to him to denounce the court and expect that he will manage somehow to gain the upper hand. Were Mossadegh’s judges to silence him, to fetter him to halt his gyrations or deprive him of the counsel he scorns, the prosecution would instantly become persecution in the prejudiced minds of the extremists who idolize the former premier.

In the circumstances, the Iranian court is taking the wise course. Mossadegh is guilty of treason and he must be brought to book. Were he to be denied trial or were he to be sternly curbed, the Shah and his government would be judged afraid to try Mossadegh or condemned for mistreating him. Mossadegh is not to be permitted to rally his forces from a prison cell while the government avoids a trial. Nor is he to be permitted to become a martyr. Instead, Mossadegh is given a hearing and he is afforded the opportunity to defend himself in his own peculiar way.

By bringing the former premier to trial the Iranian government is demonstrating courage. This course testifies to the firm grip of the government on the revolutionary elements in the country. By allowing Mossadegh to act out his farce and showing how futile are his taunts and tears, the defendant is being stripped of glamor. For a long while Mossadegh capitalized on his stock in trade. His opponents are taking their turn to show that they know a few tricks, too.


Related links:

Mossadegh Screams | The Times Record, November 12, 1953

It Proves One Thing | U.S. editorial, November 19, 1953

Fighting Words | The Sydney Morning Herald, November 14, 1953

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

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