W. Earl Hall Visits Iran, Praises Iraq

February 15, 1957 — The Mason City Globe-Gazette

Arash Norouzi

The Mossadegh Project | November 10, 2014                      

W. Earl Hall, editor & publisher of the Mason City Globe-Gazette (Iowa) W. Earl Hall (1897-1969) was the editor and publisher of The Mason City Globe-Gazette, “The newspaper that makes all north Iowans neighbors”. His column, One Man’s Opinion, was featured on its front page and also broadcast as a radio program throughout Iowa.

During a 1957 world tour, Hall’s visit to Tehran turned into an opportunity to bad-mouth the former Prime Minister of Iran, Mohammad Mossadegh. The lack of Mossadegh statues or other monuments in Iran—a country ruled by an authoritarian monarch who collaborated in a foreign plot to crush him—allowed Hall to conclude that Mossadegh, therefore must not have been popular.

The World Around Us

Mossadegh Not Loved by Iranians
Number 77


[Friday, February 15, 1957]

EDITOR’S NOTE — This is one of a series of daily reports by our editor on a 40,000-mile trip by air around the world.

TEHERAN, Iran—This land of Omar Khayyam, long known as Persia, one fifth the area of the United States but scarcely a hundredth as productive, has quite a few monuments. But there’s none to a man named Mossadegh — and there’s not about to be one.

Mossadegh has two claims to distinction 1. He could cry at slight or even no pretext, being possessed of freewheeling lachrymal ducts; 2. He played hob with Iran’s vast petroleum industry by biting the hands that were feeding not only him but most of the 21 million others who make up the population of this mountainous and desert wasteland.

The former dictator had his day and passed from the stage. Now, following an extended term of imprisonment, he lives in retirement near here. (He’s a man of considerable wealth.) But the mischief wrought by him lives on. Iran has never been able to claim its former role in the world oil picture.

New Supply Sources

It isn’t that Iran doesn’t have plenty of oil or even that not enough oil can be turned out under the nationalization program instituted by Crying Mossy. It’s that those who used to look this way for their so-called liquid gold have found new sources of supply. Yearly sales here approximate half their former volume.

What Mossadegh failed to take into account was that this entire part of the world is loaded with petroleum. Rebuffed customers had only to turn to neighboring countries such as Iraq and Kuwait. (The latter, a tiny shiekdom at the head of the Persian gulf, would have the greatest per capita wealth of any country in the world if it weren’t mostly in the hands of a few filthy rich.)

Income Cut

As a result of Mossadegh’s ill advised policy, Iran’s income from oil has been drastically cut. This has forced the government to cast about for new tills to tap. For example, a stiff head tax is imposed on every person coming into Teheran’s airport, even transients whose planes must drop down here for refueling before continuing their flight.

Marked is the contrast between the policy pursued by Iran and that of neighboring Iraq, a land referred to in the Bible as Mesopotamia. In that area the Garden of Eden was found and lost. It was the site of such places as Ur, Babylon, Ninevah and Samorra. The name Baghdad calls up visions of Arabian Nights.

Industry Courted

Whereas Iran kicked its petroleum industry in the teeth, Iraq has courted it. Something more than half of the vast income received from oil is being earmarked for the development of what once was among the world’s richest agriculture areas the land between the historic Tigris and Euphrates rivers. Some say this was the cradle of civilization.

In those long ago days Mesopotamia sustained a population estimated at 30 million. Now it’s barely a fourth of that. An old Iowa friend of mine, Marion E. Olson, an agricultural specialist, for five years has been helping to return Iraq to its glory road.

One of the major disappoints of this odyssey is that I shall not be able to get this story in full from him in Baghdad. Weather and airplane schedules have conspired against me. All I can hope for is bright moonlight as we pass over that amazing land.

Truman and Mossadegh’s First Messages on Iran Oil Dispute (1951)
President Truman and Premier Mossadegh's First Messages on Iran Oil Dispute (1951)

Search MohammadMossadegh.com

Related links:

Wisconsin Columnist Tex Reynolds on the Shah vs. Mossadegh — August 20, 1953

The Cedar Rapids Gazette (Iowa) Pans Mossadegh and Elvis (Sept. 1956)

70 Mossadegh Backers SeizedUnited Press, October 29, 1957

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

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