Persian Peril

October 21, 1952 — The Key West Citizen

The Mossadegh Project | April 13, 2022                    

Lead editorial on Iran in The Key West Citizen (Florida), “the southernmost newspaper in the U.S.A.”


The United States and Great Britain are in danger of losing Iran to the Soviet bloc. Both nations may be misjudging the values involved in the Iranian crisis in one serious respect and, if that is the case, they have very little time to correct their position.

From Teheran comes the news that Premier Mohammed Mossadegh has decided to slash the budget of the Iranian Army probably in half. This move has been forced upon Iran by a Premier who refuses to agree to a just settlement of the oil dispute involving his country and Great Britain. Mossadegh has already broken up the first Imperial Guard Division of the Iranian Army, charging that some of the officers had planned to overthrow the government.

When one considers that the Iranian army is the only real police force which can keep order in Iran and that the Tudeh (Communist) party has been centering its propaganda on the Army, you can readily see how serious the situation in Iran would become if the power of the Army is broken. Premier Mossadegh seems to prefer breaking the power of his army rather than submitting to an adequate settlement of the oil dispute.

Admitting the folly of Mossadegh and the rueful situation which faces both Great Britain and America, it is nevertheless important that the Communists be kept out of Iran. Turkish officials think that the Communist threat southward is greatest in Iran and are fearful that any Russian attack would begin with a penetration of Iran, which would outflank the Turkish army from the beginning.

Therefore, one of the essentials of any effective defense south of Russia is a friendly Iran and also an Iran with a decent army to deter Soviet aggression. The present policy of Great Britain and the United States, while based on principles of justice to the issues involved in the dispute, is still not in the long-term interest of either power — if it causes the loss of Iran to the Communist bloc. Indeed, the United States has spent many billions since the war to prevent countries from going Communist. Even though Premier Mossadegh is wrong in principle in this dispute, the saving of Iran is worth some financial output on the part of both the United States and Great Britain.

After the Communists have moved into Iran, it will then be too late — as the free world has learned many times since 1945. The United States should, if necessary, detach itself from Great Britain and strive with every effort to reach an agreement whereby Iran would he saved from Communist domination. It would be preferable, and right, if the United States could force Premier Mossadegh and the Iranians to settle on fair terms with the British.

However, if that cannot be accomplished. the United States should not make the mistake of letting Iran go Communist, which, it appears, we are perilously close to doing.

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Related links:

Fruits Of Folly In Iran | Miami Daily News, December 7, 1951

Last Card in Iran | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, September 28, 1951

Persia Is Our Problem | The Argus (Melbourne), October 2, 1951

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

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