Sudden Death
August 21, 1953 — The West Australian

The Mossadegh Project | January 2, 2020                           

Lead editorial in The West Australian newspaper, based in Perth.

Australian media archive


With startling suddenness the Mossadeq Government in Persia has been overthrown by military action in support of the Shah. By no other method could such a change have been made, and it could not be foreseen abroad since the planning, if it were to be successful, had necessarily to be a well-kept secret of the instigators. Up to the end of last week Dr. Mossadeq had full political control. With an affirmative referendum vote for the dissolution of a Parliament which was already virtually impotent, effective political counter-action had passed beyond the capacity either of the intimidated Opposition politicians or the Shah, especially as the mob support for Dr. Mossadeq had been increased by his flirtation with the technically illegal pro-Communist Tudeh Party.

The failure of the first fumbling attempt at a coup d’etat by the Palace guards, which led to the Shah’s flight to Bagdad and Rome, seemed to strengthen Dr. Mossadeq’s position. But, in the sense that it caused the exile of the Shah, it raised a new national issue of loyalty to the dynasty as against loyalty to a political dictatorship. That is a domestic Persian question which has produced rapid results. The essential factor in the present fluid situation is that the Persian Army has stood firm in obedience to General Zahedi as the Shah’s nominee for the Prime-Ministership. [Premier Fazlollah Zahedi] That is why a reasonable degree of order has been restored, after the initial violence, under the authority of General Zahedi, and why the issue is not being decided by mob fighting in the streets of Teheran and elsewhere. For the time being the army seems to be in control, under the orders of General Zahedi, as the instrument of the Shah, whose return to Persia is reported to be imminent.

It is too soon to hazard any guess at the stability of the new regime. The whereabouts of Dr. Mossadeq himself are uncertain. If he is still at large the possibility of some organised counter-move cannot yet be discounted. At the moment, however, he is in eclipse and there can be no regrets at his downfall. If General Zahedi can establish and maintain an effective Government of Persia, with the hope of eventual parliamentary support, the presumption is that it will be possible both to reach a settlement of the oil dispute with Britain and to keep out of dangerous dealings with Russia. A Zahedi Government will not be committed to the rigid and, for Persia, the ruinous, attitude taken up by Dr. Mossadeq in the oil dispute. As President Eisenhower has only recently implied, Persian readiness to make a fair settlement with Britain, and thus to get oil flowing once more into the world markets, will reopen the way to American economic assistance. [Refers to Pres. Dwight D. Eisenhower’s final reply to Dr. Mossadegh on June 29th]

Divvying Up the Loot: The Iran Oil Consortium Agreement of 1954
Divvying Up the Loot: The Iran Oil Consortium Agreement of 1954


Related links:

The Volcano of Persia | The News (Adelaide), August 21, 1953

The New Dictator | The Daily Mercury, August 19, 1953

Persian Oil | The West Australian (Perth), February 11, 1954

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

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