Mormons React to 1953 Coup
August 20, 1953 — The Deseret News and Telegram
Previously we showed you reactions to Mossadegh’s overthrow from some of the oldest Catholic and Socialist publications in the United States.
To represent the Mormon perspective, here is a lead editorial in The Deseret News and Telegram, founded in 1850 by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Merging with the Salt Lake Telegram in 1952, The Deseret News is not only Utah’s second largest and oldest newspaper, but the state’s longest continuously-running business.
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Iran–The Chance For Charity
If there's one clear lesson history has taught, it is that the man who lives by the sword must expect to perish the same way. Mohammed Mossadegh of Iran may furnish the latest witness to that ancient truth.
The mobs that shouted “Mossadegh or death” not many months ago are now shouting “Death to Mossadegh.” Already, reports indicate, Hussein Fatemi–described by some as the real power behind the wily old premier–has been killed [only a rumor]. Mossadegh owes his own life to a well-planned escape route and the fight-to-the-death put up by his personal guards.
Mr. Mossadegh may not be through yet, however. He possesses a remarkably strong political constitution. One cannot forget that it was exactly 13 months ago that he was ousted by the Shah [wrong – he resigned] and that screaming, murderous, Communist-led mobs put him back in power within four days. He has fled for his life before and he has come back.
He may do it again. And again and again. But government based in his methods cannot forever endure. Always, throughout history, the fall has come.
This may be the time for Mossadegh. He has follow a dangerous course. In seeking worthy goals–the freeing of his country from foreign exploitation–he has followed unworthy methods. He has nurtured mob power. Though he has never been a Communist sympathizer, he has gambled with the Communists by accepting their support against his enemies. Where a more reasonable man may have worked out a reasonable solution, he has brought utter poverty to his country by the long stalemate with the British over oil revenues.
All this he has done and survived politically. But these things planted the seeds of unrest and rebellion that made the next steps inevitable. The next steps were toward outright dictatorship. Usurping the power of Parliament. Violating the ballot box by ripping away the protection of the secret ballot. Finally in a naked show of power, attempting to overthrow the Shah himself [not true].
He failed and his failure is, all things considered, good news for this country. The bloodshed and the political ferment that will continue to plague that country are, of course, unfortunate. But there can be no doubt that Iran was being swept ever closer to the shadow of the Russian bear. Mossadegh’s alarming willingness to accept its support was steadily strengthening the Communist Tudeh Party, and the economic ruin facing the country made Iran a vulnerable target for the Kremlin.
It can be hoped now that this trend will be reversed by reaching a settlement of the oil dispute that has plagued the country so badly since the British refineries were nationalized in April 1951.
And this is where the times demand some statesmanship and some open-heartedness on the part of the West.
The West–particularly the British–can be magnanimous in this settlement and win the friendship of that country which stands as such a vital key to the whole Middle East. Or it can be greedy, demanding and unyielding–and bring another Mossadegh inevitably to power.
Just in case the British prove themselves unable to see the long-range implications of this decision, we suggest that our State Department ought to prepare itself with some strong recommendations on the subject.
"Overturn in Iran May Be Good For U.S." — Lockport Union-Sun & Journal, August 24, 1953
"Mossadegh Loses Long Fight" — The Spokane Daily Chronicle, August 19, 1953
"Iran's New Regime -- The West's Last Chance" — Marquis Childs, August 26, 1953
MOSSADEGH t-shirts — “If I sit silently, I have sinned”