Friendly Facade
March 2, 1953 — The News

The Mossadegh Project | March 11, 2021                           


This was the lead editorial in The News of Adelaide, Australia, a newspaper owned by Rupert Murdoch’s father, journalist Keith Murdoch. Rupert took over as publisher after Keith died in October 1952.

Australian media archive



The News (Adelaide, Australia)

Turmoil in Persia

UNHAPPY Persia once again is in turmoil, this time over the widening clash between the fanatical Premier (Dr. Mossadeq) and the Shah.

When he came to the throne in 1941, Mohammed Reza Pahlevi was full of good intentions. He gave crown land to the peasants and divested himself of much royal wealth.

Yet, through inherent weakness, the Swiss-educated Shah allowed his Ministers to pursue a policy of fatuous and fatal drift. Now he, and all Persia, are reaping the harvest.

Mossadeq’s bitterness towards the hereditary ruler has been increased by the Shah’s pro-Western sympathies. In 1949, after a visit to the United States, the Shah was wounded by a nationalist fanatic who thought he was too friendly with foreigners.

Since the oil nationalisation dispute broke out in 1951, the Shah has been recognised as being privately sympathetic to the British case.

For a time, Mossadeq found it convenient to maintain a facade of friendliness to the palace, but the latest cables show this pretence has been swept aside.

Mossadeq has accused the Shah of plotting against him, and is demanding to know how the yearly court revenue of £2,500,000 is spent.

Whatever the outcome of the dispute, it will provide only a happy hunting ground for Russia, and offer no solace to Whitehall or Washington.

If Mossadeq is forced to resign or the Shah to abdicate, no problems will be solved for the West.

Tens of thousands of Persians will be left discontented and frustrated, providing fresh raw material for the Communist agitators already esconced in Tehran and other Persian cities.

The Middle East today has more significance for Australia than ever before. Hence the movements of mobs in Tehran assume importance in Canberra.


Divvying Up the Loot: The Iran Oil Consortium Agreement of 1954
Divvying Up the Loot: The Iran Oil Consortium Agreement of 1954

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Related links:

Crisis looms in Persia | The News (Adelaide), Sept. 28, 1951

Mossadeq Still In Saddle | The Mercury, March 4, 1953

In Step On Middle East | The Advertiser, March 12, 1953



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

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