Indefensible Recklessness
October 23, 1952 — The News

The Mossadegh Project | April 12, 2019                     

This highly biased lead editorial reacting to Iran’s severance of relations with Britain ran in The News of Adelaide, Australia.

The newspaper had been owned by Rupert Murdoch’s father, journalist Keith Murdoch. Rupert took over as publisher after Keith died earlier in the month.

Australian media archive

The News (Adelaide, Australia)

On the road to chaos

WITH the demagogic Dr. Mossadeq still pursuing his dangerous course, Persia has taken another step towards chaos.

In a formal Note severing diplomatic relations, Persia has accused the British Government of preventing agreement in the oil dispute by unlawfully supporting the dispossessed Anglo-Iranian Oil Co.

This charge is another in the patently weak defences of Dr. Mossadeq’s indefensible recklessness. Britain and the United States in August made a fair proposal for settling the oil dispute. The assurances placed beyond doubt the extent to which Britain was ready to meet Persia’s aspirations.

The Persian Government at first cast doubt on some of the points, then flatly rejected the whole offer. If Dr. Mossadeq had been willing, these points could have been cleared up by negotiation.

From the Western viewpoint, there is an urgent need to revive Persia’s oil industry. This urgency is not denied in Tehran. But it is balanced against the political aim of “neutrality” and elimination of foreign influence.

Persia’s stringent economic problem could easily be solved by putting the oil industry to work. The terms proposed by Britain and the US were a test of Dr. Mossadeq’s anxiety to resume the flow of oil.

Now it seems he insists on taking another dangerous gamble by playing for time, hoping to break Anglo-American solidarity on the oil issue.

Britain would be foolish to pay money to Persia, as Dr. Mossadeq has demanded, if the oil trade is not to be resumed. Without oil revenues Persia could not become solvent and the money would be wasted.

Persia, a weak country under the influence of a nationalist leader with revolutionary aims, has no conciliatory or moderate voice to speak for her.

Spurred by its fanatical following, the Persian Government is under a compulsion to magnify grievances and inflate its demands.

Britain and the US have been placed in an unenviable position. They are committed to the problem of preventing a boilover in Persia from upsetting Middle East strategy and extending Soviet influence in the area.

At the same time, they do not know for certain what risks Dr. Mossadeq is willing to take in the headlong pursuit of his nationalist aims.

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Related links:

Crisis Looms in Persia | The News (Adelaide), September 28, 1951

Mossadegh Finds the Ice Thin | Los Angeles Times, January 4, 1952

No Loss | The Detroit Free Press, July 19, 1952

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

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