Mossadegh Says Court Isn’t Legal
November 11, 1953 — The Associated Press

The Mossadegh Project | August 15, 2012    

Highlights of the Mossadeq Trial | CIA Memo (Nov. 1953)


AP (The Associated Press) TEHERAN, IRAN, —Nov. 11 (AP) — Mohammed Mossadegh declared today an army court has no right to try him, because as premier, he decreed the dissolution of army courts to “improve Iran’s judicial law.”

With a Puckish grin, the aged Nationalist leader warned the five-man tribunal headed by Gen. Nasrollah Moghbeli:

“I issued more than 200 judicial decrees. If you want to disregard this one, you must disregard all the rest.”

The decrees were issued, he said, under a mandate from the Majlis, the lower House of Parliament.

Illegal dissolution of the Majlis is one of the charges against Mossadegh, the emotional old Nationalist leader deposed in the Aug. 19 royalist revolt. He is also accused of defying Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlevi and trying to overthrow the monarchy.

The hearing, opened Sunday in the heavily guarded hall of mirrors, is to determine whether the military tribunal is competent to try him.

Mossadegh appeared to have patched up differences with his court-appointed lawyer, Col. Jalil Bozorgmehr, whom he punched, insulted and disavowed yesterday. They sat shoulder to shoulder and the ex-dictator leaned over several times to whisper to the lawyer.

“I am blamed for many crimes,” Mossadegh said, “but I committed only one—I refused to bow to the wishes of foreigners. I took their hands off our national resources.”

When Gen. Moghbeli broke in to say “You are not talking to the point”, Mossadegh declared: “I will not come to court again. If you force me to come in handcuffs, I will not speak.”

Under the court’s instruction, Bozorgmehr read sections of decrees and paragraphs of 4 law supporting Mossadegh’s claims.

Mossadegh, leaning his head on his left hand, told the court:

“Under my decree dissolving the army courts, thousands of cases have been sent to the justice ministry. These would have been tried by army court. Thus my decree has already been implemented several thousand times.”

He contended also that there was a flaw in the presentation of the case. A 14-year-old law, he says, provides that the Shah and the Army commander of the area in which alleged offenses occur must sign the charges. He said the Shah signed the charges against him, but the army commander of the Tehran area failed to do so.

Mossadegh closed his attack on the court’s competence with an appeal to the “younger generation” under a mandate from the Majlis, the lower House of Parliament.

Alternate headlines:

Court’s Rule Is Challenged By Mossadegh
Decreed Court Out, Mossadegh Claims
No Right To Try Him, Mossadegh Tells Army
Mossy Says Army Court Can’t Try Him
No Army Tribunal Can Try His Case, Mossadegh Insists
‘Trial Void, Says Mossy, ‘I Abolished This Court’
Mossadegh’s Hearing Bringing Crisis in Iran
Mossadegh’s Appeal Leads To Tension in Iran
Tension High In Iran Over Mossadegh
Mossadegh Completes His Attack On Army Court
Mossadegh In Charge Court Is Not Legal — Deposed Premier Declared That He Abolished Tribunal

Related links:

70 Mossadegh Backers SeizedUPI, October 29, 1957

Big Iran Paper Hits MossadeghAP, May 18, 1952

Oil Pact Insults Iran, Mossadegh Says in JailAP, September 9, 1954

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

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