In the immediate aftermath of the 1953 coup in Iran, The Kingsport Times in Tennessee assessed the event more soberly than most newspapers, refraining from the pervasive derogatory tone found in nearly all other commentaries. Also unheard of was their indication that the Tudeh party opposed the Premier and speculation over whether they participated in his overthrow.
That same day, W. J. McAuliffe, writer of their Mac’s Window humor column, opened and closed his piece with these relevant one-liners:
An ordinary street paper boy yelled, “Wuxtry, wuxtry, read all about it” when the story of the revolution in Iran broke. But up in Boston the Boys probably said, “Premier Mossadegh’s government overturned in Tehran. Read all about it!”
It’s been said that a lot of Mossadegh’s weeping has been crocodile tears. But its dollars to doughnuts he’s not kidding these days.
Change In Iran
The sudden turn of events in Iran shows us how little we can see into the future as far as looking at that part of the world goes. Here was the government of Mossadegh, which had been tottering on the edge of collapse months ago, but of which more recently there has been less news, suddenly collapsing before a monarchist uprising, which was supposed to have been put down. The very existence of this strong political force in the country comes as something of a surprise, since we have been led to believe that the real opposition to Mossadegh was in the Tudeh Party, which is the arm of the Communists.
One story is to the effect that the Communists supported the Royalists in the overthrow of Mossadegh. This idea follows the principle that the Reds always like to keep their opponents fighting, and capitalize on discord and trouble. Under that sort of thinking, we should see the Reds begin now to harass the new government, and throw monkey wrenches into any machinery that would be set up to stabilize the country.
The Royalist Party is supposed to be pro-Western, and there is talk that the Shah is more inclined to make a deal—that is, come to an agreement—with the British. That would be good news. Undoubtedly the best thing that could happen for Iran, for the Western world, would be a settlement of the oil question, and a resumption of full operation.
But it cannot be forgotten that opposition to British control of the oil was the basic reason for all the trouble, and the Shah is not likely to provoke more trouble by making overtures to the British. The Tudeh Party is very strong, and will go to any extreme to keep the West from getting the oil. A second overthrow of the Shah might well lead to control, not by the middle-of-the-road Mossadegh, but by the Communists.
What will happen next in Iran is guess work. The only thing we can be sure of is that there will be no long period of quiet.