Back In the Saddle
August 27, 1953 — The Daily Examiner

The Mossadegh Project | April 23, 2021                           

Lead and sole editorial in The Daily Examiner of Grafton, New South Wales, Australia, following the 1953 coup in Iran.

Australian media archive

Persian Position Much Brighter

NOW that General Zahedi appears firmly in the saddle in Teheran and the Shah is back in his palace, the Western world is able to breathe more freely when it ponders the problem of Persia. [Fazlollah Zahedi] For Persia, or Iran, has long been a trouble spot, especially since ex-Prime Minister Mossadeq decided that the expulsion of the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company was more important than the welfare of his people. [wow!]

Mossadeq was a leader of a type not unfamiliar in Australia or other democratic countries. He had an obsession and could see no alternative. Actuated no doubt by patriotic motives, the aged and ailing Prime Minister set out to demolish the one means of improving the living standards of his people. He did not seek deliberately to reduce those standards but accepted such reduction as of minor consequence as long as the British were expelled and Iran was able to boast of nationalised oil wells — which to-day are nationalised but produce no oil or income.

The dramatic overthrow of Mossadeq after the failure of an attempted coup a few days earlier must not be taken as meaning that the difficulties over oil will he ironed out. Indeed, it has been made clear by the Shah himself that the Anglo-Iranian Company no longer exists in Persia and that the oil industry will remain nationalised. In any case, the Western world has developed new fields since those of Persia were closed to it and is to-day chiefly interested in the Persian wells from the point of view of keeping Russia out.

Of much more satisfaction to the democracies is the knowledge that the assumption of power by General Zahedi thwarted control by the outlawed Tudeh (Communist) Party. Aided by Russia, which shares a common border with Persia, the Communists were waiting in the wings and were reported to be ready to seize power within a week of the flight of the Shah. Indeed, that probability doubtless made it possible for Zahedi and the Army to oust Mossadeq by uniting factions which were disunited in their opposition to the former Prime Minister but as one in fear of a Communist coup.

Although Zahedi and the Army are in firm control, the position in Iran is still critical. The Communists number a substantial proportion of the illiterate population and are aided and encouraged by the Soviet across the northern border. They are well disciplined and have their adherents in all branches of Iranian life— including the army on which stability of Zahedi’s government and the presence of the Shah rests.

But the prospects for a return to something approaching stability are now much brighter in the age old land of the Persians. Mossadeq was a fanatic prepared to destroy himself and his nation. Zahedi is a man with no love for the British but far less for the Russians. He knows that Russia is likely to sweep through his poverty stricken, inadequately defended country unless something is done immediately to ease the burden born by the poor.

The Shah, before his flight, was arranging the distribution of much of his personal fortune as a measure of social reform. The Government will probably insist that his example be followed by rich landowners who control most of Persia but contribute little in tax and nothing in the way of amenities for their tenants.

Land has been the rallying point of most of the revolutions and violent upsurges of history. Persia is unlikely to provide an exception. Until the peasants who at present barely exist are given a stake in their nation the forces of Communism must grow until all chances of democracy in Iran are lost behind an extension of the Iron Curtain.

Divvying Up the Loot: The Iran Oil Consortium Agreement of 1954
Divvying Up the Loot: The Iran Oil Consortium Agreement of 1954


Related links:

New Hope In Persia | The Advertiser, September 10, 1953

Grim Turn In Oil Dispute | The Daily Examiner, September 2, 1952

Chance For West In Persian Upheaval | Northern Star, Aug. 24, 1953

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

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