Switch and Bait

August 18, 1953 — The Courier-Mail

The Mossadegh Project | March 15, 2020                          

Lead editorial in The Courier-Mail newspaper (Brisbane, Queensland, Australia), reacting to the attempted coup in Iran.

Australian media archive

Persia’s master

ANOTHER Middle Eastern throne is vacant. The young Shah of Persia, after a luckless attempt to rid himself of Dr. Mossadeq, has fled the country with his Queen. With him has gone the last vestige of recognisable constitutional government in Persia. The Shah did at least try to reign constitutionally. His last attempt was to annul the decree by which Dr. Mossadeq dissolved what was left of the Persian Parliament and had himself voted the powers of a dictator in a plebiscite, supervised by his own police.

So Dr. Mossadeq now rules Persia. The fickle mob of the Persian capital, which chased him into sanctuary only last February, when it weepingly besought the Shah not to leave the country, is again cheering him as the man who has freed Persia from the foreigner. Two things account for the present triumph of this old and often ailing man; first, his appeal to the anti-foreign fanaticism of the Persian people; next, his success in preventing his many enemies from uniting against him.

But to pay the Army, the police, and the public services he must have revenue. Oil still supplies him with some, but not as much as Persia obtained from the Anglo-Iranian Company. Other foreign trade has dwindled.

This is Russia’s opportunity. She has a tempting bait to dangle before Dr. Mossadeq — return of eleven tons of gold which the Russians took out of Persia “for safer custody” in the last war. The end of Dr. Mossadeq’s anti-British and anti-Western policy could be the achievement of Russia’s long-desired goal — to draw Persia into her economic and political orbit and so extend Russia’s empire at last to the Persian Gulf.

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Related links:

The Unquenchable Mossadeq | The Kalgoorlie Miner, August 19, 1953

Self-Determination In Practice | The Advertiser, Aug. 18, 1953

Persia’s Lesson | The Courier-Mail (Brisbane), July 21, 1954

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

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