Like Korea, But Different
The Argus — May 18, 1951

The Mossadegh Project | April 6, 2016                     

Soon after Iranian oil was nationalized in April, The Argus newspaper of Melbourne, Australia devoted its lead editorial to Iran, still commonly referred to in the UK and Oz as Persia.

Australian media archive


PERSIA is a new focus of world anxiety. A hungry, disease - ridden land has become an international danger-spot because it is a source of one of the basic raw materials of the world.

Similar social conditions exist in Korea, with the essential difference that Korea is not a place of comparable strategic value. It is not a signpost at the crossroads of the world. The flash point is not so dangerous unless we make it so.

All sincere people everywhere will hope that the Persian troubles can be settled without violence. The situation is obviously complex.

The general politics of the nations and the particular politics of oil are mingled with the local politics of Persia. Persia is in no sense a democracy. How much of legitimate national aspiration and how much of jockeying for self-advantage by factions there may be in the present disturbance is obviously matter for endless argument. [The Nationalization Law was passed unanimously by the Majles (Parliament). Prime Minister Mossadegh, who accepted no salary, was elected overwhelmingly by the Majles, who were voted in by the citizens]

The world wants Persian oil and some Persians want a greater cut from the profits. It is hardly to be supposed that the mass of the Persian people will be much affected either way.

What the nations must consider in the long view is not so much the fate of the Persian oil industry as the environment in which that industry operates.

Basically the battle is the same as the battle all over the world. While people are kept in poverty they are highly susceptible to Russian Communist influence.

The people of Persia are poor and Russia is at their door.

While they remain in a feudal or anarchic state, the prey of rival groups seeking power, exploited by their own overlords and neglected by the world at large, the situation is obviously inflammable as their own oil.

The immediate contrast of local poverty and the fabulous riches of the oilfields is ready - made propaganda material.

The first essential of security for any foreign interests in Persia is obviously security for the Persians themselves.

Richard Stokes’ Second Thoughts on Iranian Oil (1951 Letter)
Richard Stokes' Letter to Clement Attlee, Aga Khan Concurs (1951)


Related links:

Russia Exploits Danger In Persia | The Northern Star (New South Wales), May 22, 1951

Danger Signals In Iran | The Philadelphia Inquirer, May 1, 1951

Mossadegh Takes Over As New Iranian Premier | Associated Press, April 30, 1951

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

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