Holding Court
The Cleveland Plain Dealer — December 4, 1953

The Mossadegh Project | October 15, 2013       

Editorial in The Cleveland Plain Dealer (Cleveland, Ohio) newspaper from around December 4, 1953 •

This Is a Trial?

Mohammed Mossadegh, Iran's former premier, who succeeded in reducing his nation's oil production to less than a trickle while he was in office, went on trial for treason nearly a month ago.

We haven't been able to keep up on all the convolutions of the case, our knowledge of Persian being limited but we can swear on a stack of Plain Dealers and New York Times that the following incidents have taken place:

Nov. 8 (Opening day of trial): Mossadegh, garbed in bedjacket and topcoat, appeared in court and surprised one and all by swearing: “I am the legal premier of Iran.” At intervals he broke into sobs and once toppled over sideways on a bench as if fainting — but only to take a catnap.

Nov. 12: Announced he couldn't take any further part in the proceedings.

Nov. 18: Announces he fears he will be killed in prison. This came as the prosecution asserted he had been lucky not to have had his hands cut off for once having forged a royal decree.

Nov. 28: Announces a hunger strike and shouts in court: “I’ll be dead in three days.”

Nov. 29: Eats a giant chicken dinner before entering court.

Dec. 1: Challenges chief prosecutor to a wrestling match.

Mossadegh may have stopped the flow of oil, but his corn and ham supply is unimpaired.

Related links:

"Mossadegh Denies Authority of Court" — AP, November 11, 1953

"Mossadegh Has Heart Attack; Supporters Urge Strike" — UPI, November 11, 1953

"Light Punishment" — The Brooklyn Eagle, December 24, 1953

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

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