Who’s the Boss?
August 30, 1951 — Bruce Biossat
Here is an early view of the Iranian situation under Mossadegh by columnist Bruce Biossat (1910-1974), whose writings were seen in hundreds of American newspapers.
Soon after this, the conservative writer would begin to accuse Mossadegh of “blackmail”.
Moslem Lands Must Recognize
by Bruce Biossat
Dangers Posed by Extremists
Just before the head of the British oil mission, Richard Stokes, returned to London, he ventured the opinion that the Iranians really did want a settlement. There is reason to believe Stokes was right, even though the British-Iranian talks collapsed in hopeless failure because Iran’s negotiators refused to budge. How can this be?
It can happen because the real government of Iran today is not Premier Mossadegh and his cabinet. It is a group of fanatical extremists whose minds and hearts are consumed by nationalist frenzy. Though these men enjoy none of the formalities of power, they nevertheless wield it.
The Mossadegh government is totally at the mercy of the extremists. Mossadegh and his moderate colleagues live in mortal peril of assassination if they make the slightest concession to Britain. Stokes had this in mind when he said the Iranians would like to settle the dispute. They would—but they cannot.
In consequence of their entrapment by fanatics, Iran’s leaders negotiated for 18 days like Communists trembling in fear of Moscow. They yielded nothing. Their sole concession was a willingness to continue talking—about their own terms.
By re-asserting this willingness at the very end, they tried to place on the British the onus for the collapse of discussions. But the blame is Iran’s, thanks to the irresponsible coterie of extremists.
What have they gained for their country? The world's largest refinery at Abadan is shut tight and the flow of oil from Iran has stopped. An already impoverished land faces greater poverty. That prospect is a hand-made opportunity for the Communist Tudeh party, which recently was exhorted by Russia to seize power in Iran.
If the Reds should gain control, the nationalists would learn what fanaticism really is. They would find that in their eagerness to shake off the hated foreign intruder, Britain, they had let down the bars to an outsider 100 times more ruthless and oppressive.
Since Iran’s extremists have brought their nation within the shadow of this calamity, why should they not bear the responsibility for what they have done? Why not let them assume the robes of government and see what they can make of the mess they have created?
It is time these Moslem lands faced up to the menace their own fanatics are posing. These irresponsibles are operating in a vacuum which takes no account of world realities—meaning largely the threat of Communism. If they insist on plunging ahead regardless of the grave danger, let their own peoples and the world understand that the blame will be theirs if disaster strikes the Middle East.
Iran's Decade of Assassinations (1946-1955)
"Iran Brew Begins To Boil Over" — AP, December 8, 1951
"Scared To Death" — Inside Washington, August 27, 1951
MOSSADEGH t-shirts — “If I sit silently, I have sinned”