"Another Round to Mossadegh"
TIME magazine — Monday, December 17, 1951

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Another Round To Mossadegh

TIME magazine, December 17, 1951

The British were the first to learn not to underestimate the power of frail-looking, 72-year-old [incorrect — he was 69] Mohammed Mossadegh. Last week, his Iranian opposition learned the lesson.

One morning, 5,000 students and unemployed, led by the outlawed Communist Tudeh Party, invaded Majlis Square, shouting “Death to Mossadegh!” They were confronted by 5,000 police and soldiers, reinforced by 5,000 nationalist hoodlums. Stones flew, bayonets flashed and tear-gas shells popped for five hours; when the Tudeh mob finally broke, a police colonel had been killed, eight of the rioters lay dead, and hundreds more were under arrest. While the police looked the other way, Mossadegh's huskies, led by a cheery thug nicknamed "Brainless," methodically sacked two Tudeh newspaper offices, then systematically did the same to seven anti-Communist papers opposed to Mossadegh.

At week's end the Tudeh was quiet again, licking its wounds. Thirty-three right-wing deputies and newspaper editors marched up to the Parliament building, toting bedrolls and claiming sanctuary. They said that “government gangsters” threatened their lives.

Iran's economy, after five months without oil revenue, was rotting on the inside, though it didn't really show yet. This week Mossadegh for the first time indicated an interest in a plan whereby foreign money and foreign management might be brought in to help operate the nationalized oil industry. This was a project tentatively put forward by the World Bank. The British were sympathetic, the U.S. was interested, and a Mossadegh spokesman said that he was "eager" to talk it over. The idea was still shapeless, clouded by ifs, and regarded with suspicion on the basis of past disappointments, but it was the only sign of hope around.

Related links:

"Pot Boils in Iran, All May Suffer" — AP, December 8, 1951

"Deadlock in Iran" — U.S. Propaganda, September 17, 1951

TIME: September 22, 1952 — OIL: Negotiations in Iran

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

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