Savage Flipflop

August 20, 1953 — The Evening Sun

The Mossadegh Project | September 5, 2023                     

This was the lead editorial in The Evening Sun newspaper of Baltimore, Maryland one day after the 1953 coup.

Their front page headline was MOSSADEGH UNDER ARREST — Zahedi Forces Jail Ousted Premier, 3 Lieutenants.

Iranian Coup

Iran is experiencing one of those brief but incredibly savage flipflops which unfortunately are the pattern rather than the exception among peoples of such mercurial temperament. Now it appears that the fortunes of the fugitive Shah which reached their nadir only two days ago are once more in the ascendant. Conversely, Premier Mossadegh, whose prestige observers judged had been strengthened and consolidated by his recent dissolution of the Iranian Parliament and plebiscite, has been driven into hiding, while several of his henchmen have been destroyed.

Appearances suggest that the abortive palace revolt in which the Shah proclaimed Gen. Fazollah Zahedi [Fazlollah Zahedi] successor to Mossadegh has had a delayed reaction and that this, combined with a wave of popular sympathy for the deposed Shah of Shahs, has resulted in a sudden reversal of events which may end in his restoration. But it is too early to speculate on the final outcome or to say how the dramatic shift in the ruling power may affect Iran’s relations with the West.

One of the obscurities which requires a liberal measure of caution in interpreting events is the attitude of the Iranian Army, particularly its leaders. News reports speak of the coup having been engineered by General Zahedi with strong army support. Yet the chief of staff, Gen. Tahgi Riahi, and other high Iranian officers are supposed to have been loyal supporters of Mossadegh. Mossadegh has been captured, but since General Riahi has not been heard from and parts of Iran (such as the ancient capital Isfahan) are said to be still in the hands of pro-Mossadegh forces, the possibility of a counterblow should not be disregarded. General Zahedi is said to be a nationalist, and both anti-British and anti-Soviet in his outlook. Hence a good deal of dust must be allowed to settle before deciding what the coup portends for Iran’s relations with Russia and the West.


Related links:

Wisdom Will Be Needed | The Huntsville Times, August 20, 1953

Only A Battle, Not A War | The Cincinnati Enquirer, August 21, 1953

Irony In Iran | The Evening Sun (Baltimore), July 7, 1951

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

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