In the Lap of the Gods
October 6, 1951 — The Barrier Daily Truth

The Mossadegh Project | May 15, 2022                      

Lead and sole editorial on Iran in The Barrier Daily Truth newspaper of Broken Hill, New South Wales, Australia.

Australian media archive


We may not see too much with which to console ourselves in the Persian oil developments, but if there is one point of consolation it may well be the determination the Persians have shown.

What in the beginning was obviously a political decision simply to bolster the falling stocks of the Mossadeq regime, latterly turned into an issue of principle, which the combined blandishments of Britain and America could not budge. Some might think obstinacy a better word than principle to describe the Persians’ stand, but the fact remains that the British have quit Abadan, even if Persia’s economics may suffer quite as much as Britain does.

This determination in ridding the country of foreign trade lords may extend to seeing the Russians do not take over where Britain left off, especially as some few years ago Russia was rebuffed by Persia in a vital matter where Russia sought to intervene.

Naturally Russia is trying to make the best of the situation, for which she can hardly be blamed, for it is certain any of the Western countries would be doing the same, were the positions reversed. In fact, the West has tried to capitalise on the split between Moscow and Yugoslavia, although Tito is not co-operating and is rather in the position of a star footballer able to choose the team for which he will play. [Marshall Tito]

A whole gamut of feeling ran through the Anglo-Iranian dispute, ranging from a grave fear of world war to the brightest hope that matters would be adjusted satisfactorily, but in the end it all finished rather ignominiously for the British and perhaps disastrously for the Persians, for they now have the terrific job of operating the refineries without proper technical advice and of appeasing the Persian people, who are not going to be too happy to find that they have not taken over a flourishing oil business and that many will be out of work and the country’s economy generally will suffer by the departure of the British from Abadan.

Had this suicidal pertinacity of the Persians been guessed at, perhaps Britain may have accepted earlier Persian terms, even though they did appear to be one-sided: certainly they could not have been so bad for Britain as the present situation. Just what compensation the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company will get from Persia is in the lap of the gods now apparently.

If Britain acts smartly she may still be able to do a deal with Persia that will allow her to get oil, either crude or refined, from that country, for Persia has achieved what must have been her main objective — the possession of Abadan without reservation. Abadan’s closing is bad for Britain and, affects the world supply, but wise action may open the supply of oil to the world and prevent Russian tactics gaining the entire oil supply for itself.

“If I sit silently, I have sinned”: A guiding principle
The untold story behind Dr. Mohammad Mossadegh's famous quote “If I sit silently, I have sinned”


Related links:

Mossadeq’s Mistiming | Barrier Daily Truth, Dec. 12, 1951

Letter: Negotiations In Iran | Washington Post, August 6, 1951

Another Failure In Persia | The Advertiser, August 24, 1951

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

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