IRAN: Down the Incline to Hell?
TIME magazine — Monday, May 21, 1951

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TIME magazine, May 21, 1951

"One night," new Premier Mohammed Mossadeq told Parliament last week, "I dreamed I saw a person with rays of light radiating from his face. He said, 'Dr. Mossadeq, go and tear the chains off the feet of the Iranian people . . .' When the nationalization of oil was passed by Parliament, I accepted that the man in the dream came from God." Added the 70-year-old Premier: "Since that dream I have given no importance to my life."

His life, he said, was in danger. The fanatical, nationalistic Fadayan Islam had threatened to kill him because his government had jailed Fadayan terrorists. Mossadeq reported that he has taken to carrying a revolver. "I have strength and ability to shoot my killer," he said. "What God has decided for me will be accomplished. Therefore I need no bodyguard."

When he had finished, the Premier folded his notes, stepped from the rostrum, keeled over in a faint. Parliament knew just what to do—Mossadeq is always expected to faint when he gets excited, which is often. Two physician-deputies picked him off the red-carpeted floor, carried him out and revived him.

A Bed from Home. Some unfeeling Deputies thought that Mossadeq had used these melodramatics to pressure Parliament. If so, he succeeded. Parliament speedily chose five Deputies, who with five Senators and the Finance Minister, will make up the board empowered to take over the nationalized Anglo-Iranian Oil Co.

There was need for haste. Fadayan Islam was acting ominously. Day before, its young (27), wild-eyed leader, Seyed Safavi, [Seyed Navab Safavi] secretly met a United Pressman in a mud hut in Teheran's outskirts, there proudly announced that he personally was responsible for the assassination of Premier Razmara (TIME, March 19). Asked, "Has Your Eminence other persons on your list?" Safavi replied: "There are quite a few who must be pushed down the incline to hell." Added Safavi: "There are 5,000 people who would immediately give their lives at my command."

Later, Mossadeq announced that not only Safavi but Anglo-Iranian was out to get him, too. Said he: "I cannot go home or return to my office." The Premier settled down in the Majlis building; two rooms were hastily prepared, and a truck brought a bed from Mossadeq's home.

A Noise from London. Mossadeq was not alone in having the jitters. Iranian newspapers were in a flap about an article in London's Economist which asserted that Britain was preparing for direct military action in Iran. The British embassy in Teheran denied the story. This week there were more rumors. Britain was making threatening noises: four thousand crack paratroopers were ordered to assembly areas near London to get ready for an undisclosed emergency assignment.

Related links:

(VIDEO) "Abadan: The First Oil Crisis" — BBC Timewatch Program

TIME: December 1, 1952 — IRAN: Time of the Assassin

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

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

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