Promoting US-Iran Understanding
Bahai Adherent Robert Gulick Praises Mossadegh

Arash Norouzi
The Mossadegh Project | December 23, 2021                    

Robert Lee Gulick, Jr. (1912-1987) Robert Lee Gulick, Jr. (1912-1987) was an academic, writer, editor, lecturer, economist, university administrator and world traveller. In addition to practicing and promoting the Bahai faith, he was passionate about bridging the gap between America and Iran, a place for which he had a special affinity. He visited there numerous times, married a Persian Bahai woman in 1950, and eagerly learned the language.

Gulick’s July 1951 letter to the editor defending Premier Mohammad Mossadegh, in response to an opinion piece, was printed in The Washington Evening Star. “The Teheran government exists in name only”, wrote their columnist Constantine Brown. “It is definitely mob-controlled and the mob, in turn, is being directed by the conspirators of the Soviet embassy.”

Lumberjack (Humboldt State College student newspaper), February 20, 1953

In February 1953, Gulick gave an assembly address, “Iran, Oil and Turmoil” at Humboldt College. 65 students from Arcata Union High School also attended the talk, which covered oil nationalization, the Tudeh Party and the positions of Dr. Mossadegh.

Alas, Mossadegh was overthrown in August, the victim of unwarranted American enmity.

July 13, 1951
The Washington Evening Star

In Defense of Iran

As one who has long been interested in promoting understanding between Persia and America, I should like to comment on the remarks of Constantine Brown in The Star of July 1, and to mention some points generally overlooked in the controversy between the Anglo-Iranian Oil Co. and the imperial government of Iran.

Mr. Brown referred to His Excellency, Dr. Mossadegh, as aged and ailing. It is surely to Dr. Mossadegh’s credit that despite ill health he has chosen to risk his life if need be to champion the interests of his people. The fact is that virtually every Persian heartily favors the nationalization of the oil industry, the chief resource of the country. In England and America, Dr. Mossadegh has been slandered by left-wingers as a landlord and a reactionary. In the minds of these critics, any one who owns land beyond what he can cultivate without hiring labor is ipso facto a criminal. Actually, Dr. Mossadegh is a great liberal and humanitarian and his farms are models in that special attention is given in their operation to the welfare and happiness of the farm workers.

The proposed law against sabotage in the oil industry, which was not adopted, was intended to discourage terroristic elements which in some cases have been financed and encouraged by foreign powers. We in America have had similar laws in time of crisis from the 18th century to the present.

The American press is inclined to refer to the nationalization of the Anglo-Iranian Oil Co. by the Iranian government. This is a deplorable way of handling the news. The fact is that A.I.O.C. has long been nationalized in the sense that the British government owns 53 per cent of its stock. A.I.O.C. owns a fleet of tankers, holds a 50 per cent interest in the Kuwait Oil Co., and has substantial interests in Iraq, Venezuela and other countries; obviously the Persian government is not claiming ownership of A.I.O.C. assets outside of Iran. What the Persians are doing is asserting that the oil resources of Iran are the property of Iran and not of a foreign government-controlled company which does not have a single Persian on its board of directors. They are not confiscating the A.I.O.C. installations in Iran. From the beginning, Dr. Mossadegh insisted that a fair price must be paid for the property from the oil revenues; last March he suggested that the figure commonly used by the British, $560,000,000, might be a fair one. Today, our newspapers refer to the “billion dollar company,” but no one has set forth publicly any evidence to show such an increase of $440,000,000 in the value of the company during the last few months.

Those who find the Persians somewhat emotional in their struggle for economic independence seem to have forgotten the Boston Tea Party and similar events leading to self-rule in America.

Robert L. Gulick, Jr.

Berkeley, Calif.

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


Related links:

In Defense Of Mossadegh | Letter to Detroit Free Press (Dec. 11, 1953)

Iranian Oil Muddle | Washington Evening Star, March 17, 1951

Terrorist Ties in Iran Denied | Letter to The New York Times, July 18, 1952

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

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