Oppression of the Workers by Mossadeq Dictatorship

Vicious Anti-Mossadegh CIA Propaganda (1953)

Arash Norouzi

The Mossadegh Project | February 24, 2024                      

CIA Documents on Iran, Mossadegh, 1953 Coup | 1951-1954

In order to help mobilize unknowing Iranians of all stripes against the government, the CIA wrote propaganda pieces to be translated into Persian and published as editorials in Iranian newspapers.

This undated piece was aimed at the labor class, with a list of fabricated incidents accusing Premier Mohammad Mossadegh of cracking down on labor strikes and having workers who demonstrated against him arrested and jailed. Mossadegh was well known as a champion of the poor and downtrodden, so this was a complete inversion of the truth.

As usual, propaganda relies on repetition. In addition to the title, Mossadegh was labeled a ‘dictator’ seven times.

CIA Documents on Iran, Mossadegh, 1953 Coup


The most striking evidence of the complete lack of concern of the Mossadeq dictatorship for the fate of our working class is reflected in the harsh, inhuman measures taken on Mossadeq’s orders to repress any expression of popular dissatisfaction. Throughout the civilized world the working class has the strike as its only weapon against possible oppression by the employing class. Only in dictatorships such as Iran, Spain, Argentina and the USSR and its satellites are strikes either forbidden or suppressed by violence.

Perhaps our readers are not aware of what has happened at Tehran and in the provinces in recent months for the government has made every effort to keep the suppression of the workers from becoming a matter of popular knowledge.

On 25 Esfand the Tehran workers of the SNPI struck for higher pay, daily allowances of petrol, etc. The government quickly agreed to meet their demands but in the long drawn-out talks which have followed nothing at all has been done for these workers.

On 9 Farvardine the Isfahan workers in the Wool Spinning Plant and in the Shahnaz spinning plant went out on strike. A day later the workers in the leather factory at Isfahan went out on strike to demonstrate their solidarity with their brother workers. By the 16 Farvardin some 6,700 workers at Isfahan, including the personnel from the Sayendeh Rud and other mills had joined the strike. [Esfahan] At last the government of the dictator was forced to do something about the legitimate complaints of the workers and the Minister of Labor himself pretended to take a personal interest in the case. On 24 Farvardine the kind government announced that the strike had been settled. The deluded workers went back to their jobs only to find that the employers refused to do any of the things that had been promised and to find that the government had no interest at all in them once the commission had gone back to Tehran. On the 5th Khordad eighty of these wretched workers of Isfahan painfully collected enough money to send telegrams to Tehran protesting that their condition was worse than before. Were funds available to the workers, thousands of such telegrams would be sent to Mossadeq himself.

On the 10th Farvardine, the underpaid workers of the spinning plant at Semnan went on strike and as a result of orders sent from Tehran 190 of them were at once dismissed from their posts.

On 22 Farvardine many workers at Abadan and Khorramshahr went on a 24-hour strike of protest against the dictatorship at Tehran. As a repressive measure the government withheld their pay for this period.

On 14 Ordibehesht at Tehran 2,500 workers of the Tobacco Monopoly plants stopped work after their repeated and reasonable requests had received no attention at all from the government. Five days later this strike ended after the government had faithfully promised to meet their legitimate demands. But from that date until the present absolutely nothing has been done for them.

On 16 Ordibehesht the wave of legal strikes and protests seemed to grow for on that day workers at the Kashan spinning plant, workers in the factories at Bushire and employees of the sugar refinery at Turbat-i-Haydarieh went out in protest over low salaries and lack of housing facilities.

On 19 Ordibehest the laborers in the Kalkatechi plant at Tabriz went out in strike to protest against the brutal arrest of their representatives by the police. Some 600 workers went out in protest to be met by police brutality in force as a result of which many were seriously injured and many others were thrown into prison.

On the 20th Ordibehest some 400 workers of the Azerbaijan factory at Qazvin went out on strike claiming that they could not even feed their families unless they were given at [sic—a] 50% increase in wages.

On 6 Khordad, 800 of the rug weavers at Mamadan struck and on the same day workers at the Tehran silo were beaten and arrested because they dared to complain.

The above list represents but a very, very few of the strikes that have taken place in every corner of our country. While Mossadeq presents himself as the indespensible [sic] man and as the great friend of the people, the working masses sink deeper and deeper into poverty and wretchedness. What will he do when hundreds of them are reduced to begging on the streets of Tehran?

Unfortunately the pattern by which the Mossadeq dictatorship represses the toilers is only too clear. In the first case, the police are instructed to beat and arrest the leaders of the strikers and their followers so that the workers will be afraid to demonstrate for their rights. If this measure fails then the government pretends to take an interest in their condition. A commission arrives, headed by some personal favorite of the dictator, which promises the workers everything they ask. These poor, simple people are made happy quickly, easily and at no cost to anyone. Then the commission goes off and workers wait in vain for something to happen. Again they are forced to strike but by the second or third strikes they are so worn by hunger and disillusionment that their efforts are less effective even than before.

Who will befriend the workers and toilers of Iran and save them from the crushing burden of dictatorship?

Oppression of the Workers by Mossadeq Dictatorship was declassified by the Central Intelligence Agency on June 21, 2011. [Annotations by Arash Norouzi]

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Related links:

Mossadeq’s Spy Service | Vicious CIA Propaganda (1953)

Mossadegh Wants Money | August 18, 1952 editorial

Lesson Is No Less For the Tyrant Dictator | Battle Creek Enquirer, Aug. 18, 1953

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

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