In Case of Fire, Break Glass

June 28, 1951 — The Hawaii Times

The Mossadegh Project | September 17, 2023                    

An editorial on Iran in The Hawaii Times newspaper of Honolulu, Hawaii.

Iran ... Inflammable

Iran, a down at the heels nation on the strategic Persian Gulf, should be labelled on the map with a sign saying “Danger, Inflammable!” As relations become more and more strained between Iran, Britain, and the United States, the danger of a sudden explosion becomes more imminent.

Iran, with its oil fields now supplying a full third of all of Europe’s liquid fuel needs, is governed by frightened, fanatical, visionary, Mohammad Mossadegh, the premier who decided to seize Iran’s oil because of a dream which commanded him to “cast off the chains which bind Persia’s feet.” Mossadegh, who is so highly emotional that he often faints in the midst of parliamentary proceedings, has the backing of the reactionary Majlis, or congress of Iran, but not the support or sympathy of the youthful Shah who is under the influence of western ideas.

At the moment Mossadegh is hiding behind the barred doors of the parliament building, in danger of his life from even more extremist political fanatics, the Fayaden Islam, [Feda’ian Islam] a sect credited with the death of former Premier Hajir, who was murdered in 1949, and the assassination of Premier Razmara earlier this year. [Abdol-Hossein Hazhir and Ali Razmara]

It is unfortunate that frightened, eratic [sic] Premier Mossadegh is the individual upon whom rests the prime responsibility of what is to be done in the dispute between his government and the British controlled Anglo-Iranian Oil Co. Certainly if the AIOC is thrown out, as it appears is inevitable, Iran must either deal with the U.S. or Russia. Iran has virtually no trained technicians or businessmen capable of operating the oil fields.

Washington has indicated that American technicians will not be sent to help if the British are thrown out. Russia, which borders on Iran, is ready, willing and anxious to send technicians into the rich oil fields. Even Mossadegh seems convinced that if the Russians sent in the technical staff to operate the fields that the Soviet military would not be far behind.

The best for everyone in the free world would be for Iran and Britain to come to terms. Actually Britain owns only 56 per cent of the AIOC. If the stiff British neck could but bend a little, and give the Iranians a slightly better business deal, the partnership might yet prove profitable to both parties. Iran needs money from the oil. With Britain operating the fields we are at least temporarily assured that Russia will not profit. Without British know-how, Iran will have to risk its sovereignty or lose huge sums when the fields close down.

Once again British greed and shortsightedness have paved the way for a situation which could work tremendously against the western nations. At best the western nations are put in a bad light with all the Asiatics; at worst Russia will seize one of the richest oil reserves in the world.

What Went Wrong in Iran? | Amb. Henry Grady Tells All (1952)
What Went Wrong in Iran? | Saturday Evening Post, Jan. 5, 1952


Related links:

Where It Is Hard To Be Cool | The Evening Sun, July 16, 1951

Last Gasp of British Arrogance? | Salt Lake Telegram, June 1951

Omar Wouldn’t Know Iran | Honolulu Advertiser, July 20, 1953

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

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