IRAN: To Quit or Not to Quit
TIME magazine — Monday December 31, 1951

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TIME magazine, December 31, 1951

Better than most modern statesmen, Iran's Premier Mohammed Mossadegh knows the value of the childlike tantrum. Last week he sat at home "in korsi," i.e., on a mattress on the floor with his legs around a charcoal burner, and a blanket covering all of him but his head, and considered Iran's forthcoming general election. Gloomily, the aged Premier sent for Court Minister Hussein Ala and told him he was going to quit. Why? asked the flabbergasted Ala.

Well, explained Mossadegh, there is talk that the Shah's twin sister [Ashraf Pahlavi] has been working against him. And he had just received reports that the Queen Mother was sending refreshments to members of the opposition camped out in the Majlis building. He was not only going to resign, said Mossadegh; he was going to make a speech informing the people of Iran that the court is against him. Caught unprepared, Ala could only stutter his remonstrances: but—but really, the Shah, whatever his private misgivings, had publicly backed Mossadegh's every move, and the Queen Mother's influence on politics was almost nil.

The old man was adamant. "I've made up my mind," he said. "Go tell the Shah."

"Preposterous!" exploded the Shah. Ala scampered back and told Mossadegh that the Shah had refused to accept the resignation. That put a crimp in any designs the conscientious young (32) Shah might have had. Mossadegh said he was still determined to resign. The religious leader, Mullah Kashani, arrived and urged the Premier to reconsider. You can't, he urged, leave the people in their hour of need. A few hours later, the whole cabinet assembled at the Premier's home. They argued, they reasoned, they pleaded, they begged. At long last, Mossadegh gave in. He had decided, he said, wrapping the blanket more tightly around him, that he would not quit, after all.

Related links:

"Message to Mossadegh: Blackmail Does Not Pay" — November 19, 1951

TIME: December 17, 1951 — Another Round to Mossadegh

TIME: August 17, 1953 — 99.93% Pure

MOSSADEGH t-shirts - "If I sit silently, I have sinned"

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