Maine Man

August 21, 1953 — The Lewiston Evening Journal

Arash Norouzi

The Mossadegh Project | December 23, 2013                    

Here’s the reaction to Mossadegh’s overthrow in The Lewiston Evening Journal of Lewiston, Maine on Friday, August 21, 1953. The newspaper began in 1847 as The Lewiston Weekly Journal and is headquartered today, in its current incarnation of The Lewiston Sun Journal, at the very same location as in 1953 — 104 Park Street.

This post-coup assessment was ultra-typical of the ignorance in the media at large. The Journal erroneously viewed the Shah as the rightful constitutional ruler of Iran, and even assumed Iran to be an Arab country. A wire photo caption from the coup scene, published in the same edition of the paper, identifies a sign written in farsi as being in “Arabic”.

Iran’s Counter Revolution

It is impossible to be certain about the permanence of a political coup in a nation like Iran. Even so the recent success of the Shah and his followers in regaining control of the government appears to promise better times for the mid-East country.

Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlevi returns as ruler of Iran. The new premier replacing Mossadegh is a forthright army general by name of Fazollah Zahedi [sic — Fazlollah Zahedi]. The coup against Mossadegh was executed by Zahedi, and indications are that the army will support the new government.

The elimination of Mossadegh, if it proves permanent, offer some hope for improved relations between Iran and Britain. Experts on international affairs do not anticipate any sudden change in the hostility of Iran toward the British government. The spirit of nationalism is too strong and the flames of hatred for the British were fanned too high by Mossadegh to permit an abrupt easing of tensions.

The greatest immediate constructive step, of course, will be the clamping down by the Iranian government of the Tudeh (Communist) party. Although outlawed by law, the Tudeh in recent months had been permitted broad liberties by Mossadegh, who seized any possible source to maintain his dictatorial power.

Actually not too much can be expected at once from the new regime. If the Shah and Zahedi can stay in power for a lengthy period of time there is reason to expect improved Iranian-Western world relationships. At least there is one major improvement. Iran is headed by two seemingly responsible individuals today, whereas under Mossadegh the government was led by an unreasoning fanatic.

70th Anniversary of TIME’s Man of the Year Article
Challenge of the East: TIME's 1951 Man of the Year Mohammad Mossadegh


Related links:

University of Kentucky Dean Witnesses 1953 Coup | The Kentucky Kernel, Oct. 30, 1953

Iran—The Chance For Charity | The Deseret News and Telegram, August 20, 1953

The Reluctant Dragon | U.S. Propaganda, August 20, 1953

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

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