‘The Miseries of Mossadeq’

Peter Russo in The Argus — January 19, 1952

Arash Norouzi

The Mossadegh Project | April 5, 2016                   

Dr. Mohammad Mossadegh, Prime Minister of Iran (1951-1953)

Here’s a really, really mature assessment of Dr. Mohammad Mossadegh from Australian journalist, ABC broadcaster, academic and commentator Dr. Peter Russo (1908-1985).

Russo’s column, which ran in The Argus newspaper of Melbourne, was accompanied by three photos of Mossadegh in various states of repose with the description "THREE PHASES OF A PREMIER — • RECUMBENT • RECOVERING • RAPTUROUS".

One week later, a competitor in Queensland shamelessly plagiarized Russo’s carelessly researched article, refashioning it as their featured editorial, The Importance of Being Tearful.

Australian media archive

PETER RUSSO probes the miseries of Mossadeq.
Political strategy of
sobbing or swooning

WE could imagine the vulgar comments of the Opposition, if Mr. Menzies were to make a habit of sobbing through his speeches and fainting regularly during the debates. [Australian Prime Minister Robert Menzies (1894-1978)]

If the Prime Minister also kept a group of stretcher-bearers handy to catch him in mid-swoon and cart him away, even his own Party might learn to question his political strategy.

At least this would all come within the home circle. But if Mr. Menzies, shaking and whimpering and wearing two pairs of bright pyjamas, were to invite foreign ambassadors to come and talk things over in his bedroom, we would probably all whisper that it was time to be firm and get it over, no matter how sad the loss.

Which shows how politically backward we really are, and how much we can still learn from people we are professing to teach.

WESTERNERS laugh when Dr. Mossadeq, Persia’s weeping Premier, gets up to speak, but it is always the Westerner who goes out by the same door as in he went.

Dr. Mossadeq (rhymes with Puss-ah-deer) [?!?!] gets carried in any direction he pleases, and, despite his fits of anguish and frequent collapses, has so far shown himself considerably tougher than anyone he has had to deal with.

Foreign diplomats who go to impose their will on Premier Mossadeq are inclined at first to stroke him gently, for fear that this timid and frail old man may come to pieces in their hand.

After two or three visits they discover that the only way to cope with the sobbing Dr. Mossadeq is to outsob him, a diplomatic technique which has been consistently overlooked in Western training.

Nobody quite knows how old Dr. Mossadeq is. The records suggest about 77, but one political opponent in the Persian Parliament insists that the Premier is a young 98 and it is time the archaeologists reclaimed him. [He was 69!]

THESE malicious over-statements have got his opponents nowhere. Riding high on the wave of popular nationalism, Dr. Mossadeq has cried his way into the hearts of his people.

The Premier begins his Parliamentary routine in a soft, sing-song voice, but he soon gets into top gear and then he totters.

Shrewd observers have remarked, however, that he never actually faints until he has finished what he has to say.

The furious Opposition is thus left with its protests, retorts, and counter-motions unused, for by this time Dr. Mossadeq is being gently carried away by his bearers.

What newcomers probably ignore is that Dr. Mossadeq’s career has been as virile as that of any Eastern politico. He carries the hallmark of several gaol sentences and of political exile; he tried to institute social reforms at great risk to his person; and he once attacked the former Shah. [Reza Shah Pahlavi]

His many aides explain that his nerves were shattered by these experiences and he has been swaying and weeping intermittently ever since.

But baffled foreign interviewers solemnly state that they have seen Dr. Mossadeq tossing in a bed of pain in both his pyjamas in the morning, and he has been bouncing around vigorously that same afternoon.

Dr. Mossadeq’s value as a Persian curio may yet decline with the fall in living standards. It is significant nevertheless that all those brainy Westerners who claimed they could talk the ancient Premier into an oil agreement came away with little more than a generous helping of his own symptoms.

British Humorist Nathaniel Gubbins’ Demeaning Mossadegh Mockery (1951)
British Humorist Nate Gubbins’ Demeaning Mossadegh Mockery

Search MohammadMossadegh.com

Related links:

Time For Action | The Key West Citizen, October 21, 1952

Man Of The Year Choice Reflects Leadership Need | The Fresno Bee, January 6, 1952

Persia | Barrier Daily Truth (NSW, Australia), October 6, 1951

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

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