Indiscreet Ballot
August 3, 1953 — The Christian Science Monitor

Arash Norouzi
The Mossadegh Project
| November 19, 2014      

The Christian Science Monitor, a weekly international news magazine founded in 1908, commented on Mossadegh’s controversial referendum on pg. 16 of their Aug. 3, 1953 issue.

The piece was then reprinted in various U.S. newspapers from around August 7, 1953 to August 16, 1953, but strangely, not all of them acknowledged the source. The Advance News of Ogdenburg, NY, for example, made it their lead editorial, but gave no credit, even though they had a section for just that called “What the Papers Say”.

On August 7th, The Janesville Daily Gazette of Janesville, Wisconsin ran it under the title Democracy in Eclipse as Weak Iran Submits.

Democracy in Eclipse

Two great institutions of representative government have disappeared in Iran. One is the Majlis or lower house or parliament, which passed out of existence July 19 after resignation of 56 members, leaving only 23 to meet a quorum requirement of 69.

The other lost institution is the secret ballot. Unable to control the Legislature, Premier Mossadegh has proposed to hold a plebiscite seeking approval by the people for his rule by dictatorial powers the Majlis once conferred. But the directives for holding this election specify that there shall be two separate polling booths, one for voters favoring the Majlis, the other for voters favoring Mossadegh, and that the ballots must be marked with the name of the voter.

This harks back to an early era in American politics when voters were obliged to call out the name of their candidate to the tellers. This made them subject to all kinds of pressures and blandishments. The secret ballot is one of the great bulwarks of democracy.

Without a parliament or free-willed public support, can Dr. Mossadegh’s regime long hold power? Or if it does, will it be good for Iran?

Related links:

Elections in IranThe Indian Express, August 16, 1953

Pioneering Catholic Magazine The Commonweal on Iran Coup — September 4, 1953

Mossadegh Alone At LastThe Times Record, August 17, 1953

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

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