Tempers and Temperatures

July 16, 1951 — The Evening Sun

The Mossadegh Project | September 1, 2023                     

Lead editorial on Iran in The Evening Sun newspaper of Baltimore, Maryland.

Where It Is Hard To Be Cool

Against a background of violence and bloodshed leading to a declaration of martial law, United States Ambassador W. Averell Harriman and Premier Mohammed Mossadegh are meeting for what may be a final attempt to bring about the rule of reason in Iranian oil. [Harriman was a special envoy appointed by Truman, not an Ambassador] Although Mr. Harriman has expressed confidence that friendly talks and his good offices can effect a solution, it would be difficult to overestimate the size of the task he is up against. Almost nothing in the situation, including the ferocious Iranian climate, gives grounds for optimism.

It is true that Premier Mossadegh’s decision to invoke martial law and clamp down on the Communist-dominated Tudeh “peace partisans” has its hopeful side. It may indicate a growing awareness on his part of the dangerous game he has been playing in deliberately whipping up intense pronationalist, anti-foreign feeling in support of his nationalization plans. The Communists, as he might have anticipated, have turned this tactic to their own uses. And the Premier may have come to realize that he has gone too far.

One aspect of the Iranian crisis which has impressed itself on observers from the beginning has been the atmosphere of fanatical unreason which has prevailed. A possible explanation of at least some of the irrationality which has characterized Premier Mossadegh’s actions is suggested in a dispatch from Mr. Thomas O’Neill in The Sun this morning. As he notes, Tehran in midsummer has a climate among the worst in the world. Citing a scientific study on the physiologic effects of intense heat and minimum humidity, Mr. O’Neill records the opinion that Tehran may well be the place in all the world where negotiations of any kind are least likely to succeed.

It is odd to think of climate as having its effects on such momentous events as are now taking place in Iran. But no one who has ever spent any time in that seared and blasted land would rule out the effects of such heat as this hemisphere in no place experiences. The need, of course, is for coolness and calm if Mr. Harriman’s mission is to redeem the situation. In Iran, that is difficult of achievement for the handling of even simple problems, let alone the tangled mess that has grown up in that unhappy country.

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Related links:

Abadan Doesn’t Mind 130°-140° But When It Gets to 101° It’s Cool (June 1951)

Harriman Mission Stirs Hope in Iran Oil Crisis | Brooklyn Eagle,, July 12, 1951

President Truman “Most Disappointed” By Suspension of Iran Talks (Aug. 23, 1951)

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

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