International Good Faith
August 21, 1953 — The Canberra Times

The Mossadegh Project | June 2, 2017                      

This was the lead and sole editorial in Australian newspaper The Canberra Times, published two days after the overthrow of Premier Mohammad Mossadegh in Iran.

Australian media archive


After two years in which the Persian oil industry had come to a standstill and the diplomatic and commercial relations of Persia with the rest of the world suffered rude disturbance, the Mossadeq Government has been overthrown by the intervention of royalist forces and a new prospect has opened. With the nationalist aspirations of Dr. Mossadeq for his country to enjoy, the fullest fruits of its oil resources, there must be a natural sympathy everywhere but to-day not many people can agree that the course taken by the deposed Prime Minister has been for the best in any sense. It should now be possible for agreement to be reached for the benefit of Persia and in consonance with international good faith.

The present Persian dispute had its origin in the Persian refusal to ratify an agreement negotiated with the Anglo-Iranian Oil company for the payment by the company of increased royalties to the Persian Government. Dr. Mossadeq was responsible for Persian legislation to nationalise the oil concession and the industry established by the company by virtual liquidation of its assets without equitable compensation. In the resultant period of dispute, Dr. Mossadeq intensified his anti-British feeling to the point at which he brought the entire oil industry to a standstill and gradually alienated the friendly influence which the United States exerted for a solution of the differences between Britain and Persia. Commercially, the surprising outcome was that the world was able to get along without oil from Persia, and the bargaining weapon which Dr. Mossadeq believed that he had with which to enforce his demands was pointed without being loaded. The financial consequences have been disastrous for Persia, but they have not been to the relish of any outside Power, except that they tended to present Russia in a more favourable light as a potential Persian ally. At the point at which Persia broke off diplomatic relations with Britain, there was agreement in principle concerning the nationalisation of the Persian oil industry with the reservation by Britain that provision must be made for just compensation of the company for its assets. Both Britain and America were prepared to assist in the marketing of Persian oil and in technical assistance in the operation of oil refineries. It is at this point that it may become shortly possible for Persian oil to commence to flow again and for Persia to enjoy economic rehabilitation.

It seems obvious that Dr. Mossadeq had come to the end of his power, and that except by unconstitutional means he could not maintain his regime for long against the rising distress of the Persian people. His regime has been overthrown by the intervention of armed forces whose loyalty to the Shah was demonstrated only when the Shah appeared to have lost his rulership. Coups and revolutions are not a desirable means of resolving either internal or international impasses, but they are frequently found to be the only means whereby dictatorial power may be broken and a way found for orderly government. It is of primary importance that Persia may from the latest disorders find her way quickly to order and prosperity. It is scarcely less important than friendly relations shall be restored with other Powers capable of assisting Persia to an honoured place in the family of nations.


Related links:

Mossadeq | The South Coast Bulletin, Nov. 18, 1953

End of a Fuhrer | The Argus, August 21, 1953

Mussadiq Digs In His Toes | The Sydney Morning Herald, Dec. 29, 1951

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

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