One-Man Strike in Iran Parliament Building Is Over
September 3, 1951 — The Associated Press

The Mossadegh Project | April 17, 2017                                 

Infantile Tempers Flare In
Iran Crisis Concerning Oil

TEHRAN. Iran, Sept. 3 —(AP)—Cabinet Minister Yousef Moshar gave up today an overnight sitdown strike in the Parliament building which threatened to burgeon into a government crisis.

He emerged nursing a swollen black eye, but with his prestige intact. Moshar had moved a bed into the Parliament Building’s committee room last night, announcing he was staying there for safety because he had been threatened, an old Iranian device to dramatize a protest.

Moshar claimed he had been socked in the eye and then threatened in a scuffle with a Majis (lower house) deputy, Abdul Ghadir Azad. He said Azad threw a briefcase at him in during a squabble over domestic policies of Premier Mohammed Mossadegh’s Nationalist government, and then was punched around in the corridors and threatened with a pistol.

Azad [Abdol Ghadir Azad] allowed he might have swung a couple of lefts, but declared he didn’t even own a pistol.

With a bigger storm threatening Mossadegh’s government over the incident, peacemakers moved in and Moshar announced he would remain in the Parliament Building for protection until Azad was punished.

The Majlis president, Reza Hekmat, and Moshar’s fellow cabinet members scurried about peacemaking missions, and finally Moshar agreed to leave the Parliament Building to save the government from embarrassment but only if Azad would apologize.

Hekmat said Azad promised to make a public apology Sunday in the Majlis. The House had recessed last night after the quarrel to let matters cool off.

Moshar left the building, with his servants trailing behind him, carrying his bed.

Here is the reason the cabinet was worried: Azad, once a member of Mossadegh’s National Front, now is his bitter enemy. He is more nationalistic than Mossadegh, and wants the premier ousted.

Thus, political leaders looked upon this squabble with misgivings, fearful that it might have blossomed into something much bigger. Moshar, following an old Persian custom, stayed in the Majlis to draw attention to his protests.

Mossadegh himself used this same propaganda device some time ago, in the British-Iranian oil dispute, when he said his life had been threatened for pushing the nationalization of Anglo-Iranian Oil Company holdings. [The threats were not imaginary]

Earlier in the debate which preceded the squabble, some opponents of the government assailed Mossadegh’s action in refusing to accept British proposals in the oil dispute.

Alternate headlines:

Iran Minister Ends Sitdown Strike
Claims Deputy Blackened Eye
Iran Tiff Ends As Aide Quits Sitdown
Black Eye After Row, Spend Night in Parliament

Alternate text:

“Deputy Azad replied he might have thrown a few punches, but didn’t even own a pistol.”


Related links:

Iran Opposition Stages Sitdown | Associated Press, Dec. 16, 1951

Flowers and Poems For Mossadegh | Associated Press, November 23, 1951

Chance For Oil Accord | Buffalo Courier-Express, October 9, 1951

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

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