Día del Diablo
August 20, 1953 — La Vanguardia (Barcelona)

Arash Norouzi
The Mossadegh Project
| November 17, 2017     


The 1953 coup in Iran

La Vanguardia (The Vanguard), one of the oldest and largest newspapers in Spain, maintained a negative opinion of Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh long before his political demise. In its sole editorial one day after the 1953 coup in Iran, it attributed the fallen Premier’s fate to, among other things, an atmosphere of “demagoguery” he allegedly perpetuated.

Here is the original vintage editorial in Spanish, followed by an English translation.




La Vanguardia (Barcelona, Spain), Aug. 20, 1953 | JUEVES 20 DE AGOSTO DE 1953 | LA VANGUARDIA ESPAÑOLA

Boletín del día
Consecuencias de una desenfrenada demagogia

Son muy confusas las noticias que llegan de Persia. Por lo visto, la única fuente de información es la que facilitan las emisoras de radio de aquel país, y en ellas hay constantes interrupciones, vacilaciones y aun contradicciones.

Tratemos de resumir lo que parece más probable a través de los retazos informativos en cuestión:

Como se recordará, a raíz del golpe de Estado monárquico fracasado, de que habló Mussadeq, y que movió al Sha a abandonar el país, el jefe del Gobierno mostró una verdadera obsesión por un nombre: el general Zahedi, [Fazlollah Zahedi] al cual atribuía la jefatura del movimiento y que había logrado escapar; Mussadeq llegó a poner su cabeza a precio. Sin duda, advertía que en Zahedi estaba el elemento más peligroso para su posición. En efecto, el nuevo golpe de Estado — éste si real y efectivo — lo ha dirigido Zahedi, quien ha ocupado el. puesto de jefe del Gobierno. Todo lo demás, es inseguro. Parece que el Ejército, en su mayor parte, se ha puesto del lado del Sha y contra Mussadeq. Lo que haya sido de éste no es seguro. Se cree que se ha escapado, mientras importantes fuerzas militares, venidas a su domicilio para detenerle, entablaban una dura lucha con los que le guardaban. Según varios despachos, Fatemi, el ministro de Asuntos Exteriores, [Hossein Fatemi] verdadero «hombre fuerte» del Gobierno Mussadeq, ha sido «destrozado» por la multitud; pero, otras informaciones lo desmienten. [era solo un rumor] En suma, parece que los monárquicos dominan la situación.

Cualquiera que sea el fin de estos graves sucesos, ellos demuestran, con claridad deslumbradora, hasta qué punto ha sido desenfrenadamente demagógica la política de Mussadeq. E incomprensiblemente insensata. Porque, detalle importante: el general Zahedi, que lo ha derribado, fue un día partidario suyo, jefe de Policía y senador bajo su presidencia. [Él era Ministro del Interior solamente debajo de Mossadegh] Lo que sucede es que Mussadeq, movido por dos consideraciones —el temor a ser calificado como «traidor» por los fanáticos nacionalistas, y la ambición de conservar su puesto, aun a costa de todas las concesiones y claudicaciones — ha ido progresivamente apoyándose más y más en las masas revoltosas de Teherán, y, ai mismo tiempo, ha ido perdiendo el apoyo del ala no ya moderada sino simple y mínimamente reflexiva del nacionalismo. Así su ruptura con el jefe religioso, Kashemi, [sic—Ayatollah Seyed Abolshasem Kashani] acaecida meses atrás, demuestra que el sector religioso del nacionalismo le abandonaba, al creer que su política llevaba derechamente al comunismo y a Rusia. Y en este camino, Mussadeq ha llegado incluso a perder la adhesión de elementos verdaderamente exaltados del nacionalismo, como es, por ejemplo, Makki, [Hossein Makki] nada menos que ejecutor directo de la incautación de la refinería de Abadán, y a quien recientemente Mussadeq mandó detener. Por lo visto, ya, en estos últimos tiempos, el que hasta ahora ha sido jefe del Gobierno se había quedado prácticamente sin más apoyo que el de las turbas de Teherán y de Isfahan. El resto del país — incluidas las grandes tribus que tanto cuentan todavía: recuérdese que la emperatriz Soraya [Soraya Esfandiari Bakhtiari, esposa del Shah] es hija de un importante jefe de tribu —, se había vuelto de espalda. Sus dos últimas maniobras, el escandaloso referéndum que montó para dar alguna apariencia Jegal a la disolución del Parlamento, y la decisión de prescindir ya definitivamente del Sha, [no tal cosa] han colmado la medida. — S. N.


Bulletin of the day
Consequences of unbridled demagoguery

The news coming from Persia is very confusing. Apparently, the only source of information is that provided by radio stations in that country, and there are constant interruptions, hesitations and even contradictions.

Let’s try to summarize what seems most likely through the informative snippets in question:

As it will be remembered, following the failed monarchist coup d'état, which Mussadeq spoke about, and which moved the Shah to leave the country, the head of the Government showed a true obsession with naming General Zahedi, [Fazlollah Zahedi] to whom he attributed the leadership of the movement and had managed to escape; Mussadeq came to put his head at a price. Without a doubt, he warned that Zahedi was the most dangerous threat to his position. Indeed, the new coup d'état — if this one is real and effective — has been directed by Zahedi, who has occupied the position of head of the Government. Everything else is not for sure. It seems that the Army, for the most part, has sided with the Shah and against Mussadeq. What will come of this is not certain. It is believed that he has escaped, while important military forces, coming to his home to arrest him, engaged in a fierce struggle with those who kept him. According to several dispatches, Fatemi, the Foreign Minister, [Hossein Fatemi] the true “strong man” of the Mussadeq Government, has been “destroyed” by the crowd; but, other information refutes it. [It was only a rumor] In sum, it seems that the monarchists dominate the situation.

Whatever the end of these grave events, they demonstrate, with dazzling clarity, to what extent Mussadeq’s policy has been wildly demagogic. And incomprehensibly senseless. Because, important detail: General Zahedi, who has overthrown him, was at one point a partisan, chief of police and senator under his presidency. [He was Interior Minister only under Mossadegh] What happens is that Mussadeq, moved by two considerations — the fear of being described as “traitor” by the nationalist fanatics, and the ambition to keep his position, even at the cost of all the concessions and surrenders — has been progressively supporting himself more and more with the unruly masses of Tehran, and, at the same time, he has been losing the support of the wing no longer moderate but simply and minimally reflective of nationalism. Thus his break with the religious leader, Kashemi, [sic—Ayatollah Seyed Abolshasem Kashani] which occurred months ago, shows that the religious sector of nationalism abandoned him, believing that his policy led directly to communism and Russia. And in this way, Mussadeq has even lost the adherence of truly exalted elements of nationalism, such as, for example, Makki, [Hossein Makki] no less than the direct executor of the seizure of Abadán’s refinery, and whom Mussadeq recently ordered to be stopped. Apparently, already, in recent times, who until now has been head of the Government had remained virtually no more support than the mobs of Tehran and Isfahan. The rest of the country — including the great tribes that still count so much: remember that Empress Soraya [Soraya Esfandiari Bakhtiari, wife of the Shah] is the daughter of an important tribal chief — had turned their back on him. His last two maneuvers, the scandalous referendum he mounted to give some legal appearance to the dissolution of Parliament, and the decision to permanently dispense with the Shah, [no such thing] have filled the measure. — S. N.

Mossadegh's Great Escape From Tehran To Bogota (El Tiempo, Dec. 28, 1953)
Mossadegh se Fugo de Teheran y Sorpresivamente Llego a Bogota
Hoy en la Manana Partio Rumbo a Panama | El Tiempo (Dec. 1953)





Related links:

Setback for Dr. Mossadeq | The Glasgow Herald (Scotland), August 20, 1953

The Revolt In Persia | The Advertiser (Australia), August 21, 1953

World Information | The Times Record, August 20, 1953



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

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