Mossadegh Still Formidable Political Threat In Iran
October 7, 1953 — International News Service (INS)

The Mossadegh Project | June 4, 2019                                                          


Mossadegh Still Formidable Political Threat In Iran Despite Indictment On Treason Charge | INS, Oct. 7, 1953



In View of the News

Nation Doubtful He’ll Be Put to Death

Mossadegh Still Hero To Iran Nationalists


By JOHN H. MARTIN
International News Service Foreign Director

Mohammed Mossadegh, the former Iranian premier given to tears and threats, still is a formidable political opponent in the strategic nation adjoining Russia. The military prosecutor has just issued a long indictment of the 72-year-old Mossadegh, who faces court martial on treason charges. But the consensus in Tehran is Mossadegh will not be put to death. Exile from the capital and banishment from his supporters is considered a likely sentence.

Reasons Are Cited

There are many reasons cited by observers for this judgment. Mossadegh, who ruled for more than two years, still has strong sentiment in his behalf because of his fierce nationalism. He is regarded by many as a nationalist hero because he kicked out the British and took over British oil properties without compensation. He is a hero to many despite the fact that he put the oil-rich nation on the brink of bankruptcy. The economic struggle faced by his successor, Premier-Gen. Fasollah Zahedi, has left the government very weak. [sic—Fazlollah Zahedi] Parliament is paralyzed and without a quorum because of what Mossadegh did.

Charged With Treason

Mossadegh is charged with treason because he failed to obey a decree from the Shah, Mohammed Reza Pahlevi, removing him from office. [sic—Mohammad Reza Pahlavi] He also is held responsible for the bloody rioting which resulted in the killing of 143 persons and the wounding of 85 others by Mossadegh police and supporters.

Mossadegh’s defense already has been indicated. He will contend that he thought the royal decree was a forgery, and that he was out of touch with police forces in the rioting that followed delivery of the decree by an Iranian officer, whom Mossadegh arrested. To the major Western powers an important development in the overthrow of Mossadegh has been the arrest of hundreds of Communist Tudeh party members. The Communists were outlawed before Mossadegh took power but operated openly under him and often supported him in the devious Middle Eastern political game.

Reds Are Hit

The new government has cracked down hard on the Communists, but it still is too early to determine how effectively they have been crushed. The Tudeh group was the only well-organized party in Iran. Premier Zahedi’s regime can gain strength only if the oil dispute with Britain is settled at a reasonably early date.

American financial aid is too small except as a temporary stop-gap against bankruptcy. Official figures since Zahedi took office show that the Iranian oil industry is more than $588,000,000 in debt since Mossadegh’s government took it over from the British in May 1951. [Where does this figure come from?] The government will have to spend scores of millions of dollars to restore its pre-nationalization output even if it solves the dispute with Britain. And Zahedi is feeling his way gradually on even the prospect of resuming negotiations with Britain. This is because of the extreme nationalism in the country.


Alternate headlines:

STRONG NATIONAL SPIRIT FAVORS OUSTED PREMIER
Mossadegh Still Formidable Political Threat In Iran Despite Indictment On Treason Charge


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Related links:

Iranian Political Football Back In Arms Of United States | INS, Aug. 27, 1953

Pro-Mossadegh Agitators Try Demonstrating | UPI, Nov. 12, 1953

Demostrations For Mossadegh Flare In Iran | UPI, Dec. 21, 1953



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