The “Emotionally Unstable Old Millionaire”
August 19, 1952 — The Morning Herald
Lead editorial in The Morning Herald (1897-1955) newspaper of Gloversville, New York — Tuesday August 19, 1952, exactly one year before Mossadegh's overthrow.
For more than a year the people of Iran have subsisted on meager fare—nationalism, hysteria and hatred. It was their choice under the reckless leadership of Mohammed Mossadegh.
Except for a few riotous hours he held the office of premier for that period and was, nominally at least, responsible to the two houses of the Iranian Parliament. It was in this capacity that the emotionally unstable old millionaire seized the oil industry operated by the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company and booted out the British. With their departure the country’s chief source of revenue dried up and Iran started toward bankruptcy.
The lower house of the Iranian Parliament (the Majlis) voted almost unanimously last week to make Mossadegh a dictator. The Senate, which was expected to follow suit, balked at giving him a blank check to rule by decree and has appointed a delegation to confer with him and ask him to explain more fully how he would use dictatorial powers.
The Senate has also before it a bill for extension of martial law in Iran which is running into trouble. Some members of Mossadegh's own National Front party are opposing the passage.
One of the rebellious senators remarked that he and the rest who are resisting Mossadegh may be “committing suicide” by doing so. In turbulent Iran he may be right. The would-be dictator assumed the post of minister of war when be became premier and the individual who controls the army controls the country. Mossadegh has protested he wants unprecedented powers for only a specified period of six months. Other dictators have said the same thing and never quit voluntarily.
In spite of Iran's rapid descent toward insolvency, delirious nationalism still blazes. It is what kept Mossadegh in power as premier and made him the power he is today. It was the fever which dictated that the British should be expelled and that Iran “recapture” its oil industry. Now nationalist hatred is directed at the United States. There have been loud demands from the Mossadegh ruling group that the American advisory military mission be withdrawn from the country and that administrators of Point Four funds go home. If these demands become insistent enough to destroy what effectiveness the American missions have in Iran, it is inevitable that they will have no choice but to withdraw.
Despite these virulent expressions of anti-Americanism, the report persists that Mossadegh will soon make another trip to the United States to plead that we supply funds to bail Iran out of bankruptcy. If he does, it will be one of the most outrageous cases of consummate gall on historical record.