Yellow Journalism, a la Weller
March 10, 1967 — George Weller

The Mossadegh Project | December 6, 2020                    

George Weller (1907–2002)

This shameful piece on Iran by George Weller (1907–2002), filled with preposterous lies, ran in The Philadelphia Inquirer and The Chicago Daily News shortly after the death of Dr. Mossadegh. A reporter, author and playwright, Weller won a Pulitzer Prize in 1943 for his wartime reporting.

George Weller
Twists and Turns In Policy of Iran

Special to The Inquirer and Chicago Daily News

ROME: March 9. AT 87, Iran’s rubbery, weepy ex-premier, Mohammed Mossadegh, who died this week, won a delayed triumph. [He died March 5 at age 84] Under the leadership of his antagonist, the Shah, Mossadegh’s forecasts of Iran’s future are coming true.

Mossadegh failed as a leader, but he triumphed as a prophet. In the storied 1950’s, Mossadegh defied the Western world and demanded a Persian understanding with Russia, her closest big-power neighbor. [Not in the slightest] Under the Shah, whom Mossadegh forced into flight and semi-exile, [False!] his policies are being realized, after hundreds of millions of dollars in American military and economic aid have been poured into this still largely illiterate country.

Mossadegh, in his sprightly 70’s, closely allied himself with Tudeh, the Persian Communist Party, alienating an army intent on getting American hardware. [False!]

THE Shah interrupted the handout era this year by defying American advice and making an extensive arms deal with the Russians. He even accepted Soviet fighter planes, which the Russians market at one-third the American price.

Mossadegh cut off the monopoly enjoyed by the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company and wanted to send oil across the Caspian Sea to Russia. [False!] But at that time, Soviet industry in Central Asia could not absorb the surplus and the Soviet pipelines to Western Europe were unbuilt.

Mossadegh was left with oil running out of his ears and tears out of his eyes. The Shah made an arrangement this year to sell the Russians the gas left over after refining oil, wastefully flared hitherto.

In return, the Soviets are going to provide Iran with pipes for new lines, probably northward, exactly as Mossadegh wanted. The Soviet Army attempted to seize Azerbaijan, the rich breadbasket for Northwestern Iran, only five years before Mossadegh struck for power.

So Mossadegh’s ambitious nationalism, in allying with the Communist underground in Teheran, appeared like “treason,” the crime for which the Iranian Army sent him to prison for three years. But nobody accuses the Shah of treason for doing the same thing.

The Tudeh Party has been virtually steamrollered out of existence by Iran’s boom, and deprived of a policy by the Shah’s going pro-Russian. Nowadays the Persian Army realizes that American aid is running short because of Vietnam, and that Russia can launch no attack on Azerbaijan until China ceases pressing her on the east.

IN MOSSADEGH’S shattered legend, first, that he wept deliberately to soften the bankers of London and New York, and second, that he misunderstood the offer of the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company to surrender all its property to him, the facts are these:

In Parliament or court, Mossadegh was a great ham actor, who easily made others weep or laugh. Before going to jail in 1953 he made his judges chuckle and sob at his sallies. But Mossadegh’s own weeping was involuntary. He had an affliction of the tear ducts, which would let go unpredictably.

In fact, Mossadegh was an opposite of the classic clown Pagliacci who laughs while his heart is breaking. Mossadegh had to accommodate his text, whenever he could, to the uncontrollable dew falling down his cheeks.

Mossadegh’s rejection of the surrender offer made by the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company in 1951 was not due to a misunderstanding. It was a crafty and deliberate misinterpretation to keep himself in power.

“If I sit silently, I have sinned”: A guiding principle
The untold story behind Dr. Mohammad Mossadegh's famous quote “If I sit silently, I have sinned”


Related links:

Shah Of Iran Spells Good News For U.S. | Holmes Alexander, Oct. 19, 1967

The End Of Mossadeq | The Lincoln Star, March 11, 1967

The Shah of Iran’s Current Outlook | CIA Memo, March 30, 1966

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

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