Geo-Politics and the Iranian Financial Crisis
November 15, 1951 — James Marlow
Widely syndicated Associated Press column "The World Today" by James Marlow — Thursday, Nov. 15, 1951. Other headlines for this piece as published in various newspapers included:
Iran Premier Gets Own Country Into Financial Jam
Iran Premier Whimpering Over Financial Crisis
Iran’s Premier Mossadegh Is Beginning to Whimper
Whimpering Mossadegh Wants Loan
Mossadegh’s Request for Funds Poses Ticklish Problems Here
Iran Faces Financial Crisis As Oil Industry Shuts Down
Mossadegh Begins to Reap Results of His Actions
But the hands-down winner has to be:
U.S. Not Loaning, Iran Chief Moaning
The World Today
By JAMES MARLOW
Iran’s Premier Mossadegh Is
Beginning to Whimper
WASHINGTON, Nov. 15 (AP)— Iran’s Premier Mossadegh, having walked deliberately into a dynamite factory with a lighted match in his hand, is beginning to whimper.
He led his country into a financial crisis when he kicked out the British and Iran took over the oil industry. The industry is shut down now for lack of technicians and ships to move the oil.
Unemployment is spreading. A big chunk of Iran’s income came from the oil. With that gone, Iran is getting into worse financial shape daily. No one knows what the end will be.
Maybe Mossadegh will be kicked out and replaced by some one who will make a deal with the British to continue producing oil. Maybe, before the excitement dies down, the Iranian Communists will take over.
At any rate, the Iranian government needs money, and badly. Mossadegh has been here for weeks, talking with American officials who have been trying to work out a compromise.
Neither Mossadegh nor the British budged much, and the prime minister then asked for an American loan. That might stave off the wolf, at least temporarily. At the same time it would strengthen his hand in standing off the British.
IT SO HAPPENS that this country and Britain are allies. It’s a ticklish problem for this country: If it steps in with a loan to Iran, that hurts the British.
By midweek it became clear Mossadegh wasn’t going to get the loan—at least yet. Meanwhile conditions in Iran were getting worse. Yesterday the Iranian leader made a speech at the National Press Club.
He said communism’s real cause in the East is the “general poverty and dissatisfaction” of the people. No serious attention, he said, is being paid to this all-important question. This was his indirect and diplomatic way of complaining that the U.S. isn’t paying serious attention to the real cause of communism in the East. Mossadegh could be asked very justly: Why tell us? Why didn’t your government do something about the poverty and dissatisfaction of the people of Iran?
IRAN, WITH A population of almost 19,000,000, is divided into the very rich and the very poor. The very rich, who own most of the land, are a handful. The very poor make up most of the population and work the land of the absentee landlords.
In Iran, as elsewhere, social progress and betterment of the poor has to be paid for mostly out of taxes. But in Iran there are no taxes, or practically no taxes.
This makes it easy for the rich but hardly makes it plausible for them or Mossadegh to tell anyone else what makes the poor discontent and opens the door to communism.
Yet in the unpredictable future brought about by Mossadegh’s performance with the British, the Communists may be able to take over. If they do, the rich won’t have to worry about paying taxes or helping the poor. There won’t be any rich.
Meanwhile, it is to the interest of this country to see that the Communists don’t take over Iran because that would give Russia a huge wedge in the Middle East, a territory she hasn’t penetrated yet.
So while Mossadegh’s explanation of what brings in communism was in the form of a whimper of pain, it was also a warning to this country that maybe it shouldn’t let things get too bad in Iran.
Message To Mossadegh: Blackmail Does Not Pay — November 19, 1951
Case of Common Enemy — U.S. editorial, October 3, 1951
Iran Premier’s Stubbornness Brings Crisis — The Brooklyn Eagle - September 12, 1951
MOSSADEGH t-shirts — “If I sit silently, I have sinned”