Academic coup

When "great" scholars play a deadly role


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Academic coup
by Fariba Amini
08-Feb-2008
 

While doing a project recently, I was reading about the 1953 coup again. Every time I read the details, of how a man was undermined by national and international forces determined to bring him down, it brings tears to my eyes, even though the events took place two generations ago, at a time when I was not even born.

For as long as I can remember, I have always lived in the shadow of Mossadegh, the idol of my father. As I got older and started reading more about this visionary man, I became more than just a sympathizer. I came to believe that he was ahead for his time. As time went on, my admiration for his democratic principles only grew.

As I read through the pages of history books, I came to conclude that the advice of "wise men and women," foreign experts on Iran and its politics, had played a role in the decision of the major powers, Great Britain and the US, to bring him down. Various names come to mind: Zahner, Wilber, and Lambton. Robin Zahner, who was at Oxford, and fluent in Persian became a major player in this scheme. Profoundly religious and known to have experimented with drugs and an alcoholic, he was a covert operative for the British intelligence.

Donald Wilber, who had earned a doctoral degree in architecture at Princeton, had worked extensively in Iran and the Middle East during World War II and was stationed in Iran working for OSS, the predecessor of the CIA, specializing in psychological warfare. As for Ann (Nancy) Lambton, she played a much more decisive role in this whole affair. She was the expert and the foreign analyst who advised the British government, worked in high circles and recommended that no compromise with Mossadegh was to take place under any circumstances.

"Having failed to persuade Attlee to order an invasion, Morrison decided to begin covert action. He turned first to two distinguished scholars who had spent years studying Iran and where sympathetic to the British position there. The first, Ann K. S. Lambton, who had been press attachÈ at the British Embassy in Tehran during World War II and gone on to become one of Britain's leading scholars of Iran. At Morrison's request, she began suggesting 'effective lines of propaganda' that the British might use to turn the Iranian public opinion against Mossadegh." (Stephen Kinzer, All the Shah's Men: an American Coup and the Roots of Middle East Terror, 2003)

"The British, determined to undermine Mossadeq from the day he was elected premier, refused to negotiate seriously with him. For instance, Professor Lambton, serving as a Foreign Office consultant, advised as early as November 1951 that the British government should persevere in 'undermining' Mossadeq, refused to reach an agreement with him, and reject American attempts to find a compromise solution. 'The Americans,' She insisted, 'do not have the experience or the psychological insight to understand Persia.'" (Ervand Abrahamian, Khomeinism: Essays on the Islamic Republic, 1993)

Most of the key players have since died, but she is still around, living in the English countryside. Although she is now very old, she has never publicly acknowledged her role in the 1953 coup. Maybe she is just too ashamed.

She saw Mossadegh as a danger! Yes, indeed he was dangerous to their plans of bloody greed and power. But who was he really? He was a man who had studied law in the West, had a doctoral degree, and had written his thesis on "the law of inheritance in Shi'a Islam." He came from the nobility yet opposed it, had been imprisoned by Reza Shah for opposing the latter's dictatorial decrees and he truly and genuinely believed in democracy, the kind of government his British and American opponents supposedly supported as well and claimed for their home counties. He believed in a free press, a vital component of democracy, but the Iranian, British and American collaborators used that same press to discredit and defame him. They used the press, bribing journalists, and lied to the Iranian people and the world at large about him. So why were they so adamant to destroy him and his government? Was he not corruptible enough for them? Or was he too smart for his own good? The men they helped bring to power in Iran were nothing like him. General Zahedi was an uneducated, greedy crook, a Nazi sympathizer, a womanizer and and a murderer. (It is alleged that he was involved in the murder of Afshartoos, Mossadegh's head of the police and security apparatus.) The Shah and his family were utterly corrupt. The rest is history, a very sad history for Iran.

Sadly enough, Lambton was rewarded for her treacherous role. Immediately after the coup, while an honorable man was put on trial for "treason" and sent to prison and the real traitors occupied the seats of power, Ann Lambton became the chair of Persian at the University of London in 1953, and an honorary degree was bestowed upon her that same year. Later on, she received more honorary degrees from different British universities. I sometimes wonder, if history had unfolded differently, how many honorary degrees would Mossadegh have received from academic institutions around the world?

Alas, he spent the rest of his life as a prisoner in his own house. While Lambton and her masters basked in the glory of having gotten rid of a dangerous man, Mossadegh was not even allowed to leave his home until his death. He once told my father, one of the few people who were allowed to visit him that the Americans would have never acted alone if they had not been pressured by the British. Sadly enough, when he asked the Eisenhower administration for economic aid, while his government was under tremendous pressure and Iran suffered crippling sanctions, he was turned down. By that time the Americans and the British formed one united front against Mossadegh.

"Nancy Lambton believed that covert operations to overthrow Mossdeq would be the only way to achieve a stable and pro-Western government in Iran; and she not only moved in high circles within the Foreign Office but was a friend of Anthony Eden." "In her view, the 'stupidity, greed and lack of judgment by the ruling classes in Persia' caused the government to be corrupt and parasitic."

In a biographical note preceding her latest article, published in 2001 in the Durham Middle East papers, there is no reference to her role in the treacherous affair. Was she too ashamed or afraid of the consequences? But here is what is written about her on Wikipedia under her name: "Ann Lambton played a role in overthrowing the democratically elected government of Mohammed Mossadegh. After the decision to nationalize Iran's oil interests, she advised the British government to undermine the authority of Mossadegh's regime. She suggested Oxford University professor R. C. Zaehner to go to Iran and begin covert operations. With the help of the CIA, the regime of Mossadegh was overthrown and the Shah of Iran was in power."

What to say about a person like her or those who have since served Presidents and heads of states with their ill advice? I believe individuals like her must have deep rooted complexes, no personal life, no human emotions, to have come up with such schemes and lies to destroy a man who desired nothing more than honor for his people. All he wanted was the same things that the English or Americans enjoy in their countries.

How ironic it is that fifty-five years after that shameful event and after all the attempts by the Shah and the current clerical regime to erase his name from the pages of history, Mossadegh remains the most respected politician of Iran. Even today, at student demonstrations in Iran, Mossadegh's photos are exhibited as a symbol of democracy. Do these scholars in the field ever ask themselves why? Or were greed and hegemony too precious to give up?

"Lambton's view of Mosaddeq as a dangerously irrational, anti-British nationalist also found expressions in minutes written. {she} characteristically urged the Foreign Office To boycott Mosaddeq as far as possible and to deal with him only when necessary to preserve public order." (Wm. Roger Louis, "Britain and overthrow of Mosaddeq," in Mark J. Gasiorowski and Malcolm Byrne, eds., Mohammad Mosaddeq and the 1953 Coup in Iran, 2004).

Because of such individuals, so-called academicians who give policy advice to their governments, men and women's lives are destroyed all over this globe. They no doubt think of themselves as brilliant, churn out new books every year, prosper in their fields, but they are nothing but pitiful figures. They will not go down in history as individuals who made the world a better place but as actors who helped make history take a turn for the worse. In the case of Iran, this meant a change from an incipient democracy to a dictatorship and now a theocracy.

Today, the likes of Ann Lambton, accomplished and celebrated scholars offering policy advice, are still with us, this time in the form of those who advised G.W. Bush to go to war in Iraq. One stands out, Princeton Professor Emeritus in Middle East history, Bernard Lewis. A former British national and member of MI6, Lewis was a mentor to another highly regarded academic, former US Deputy Secretary of Defense, Paul Wolfowitz, who left the World Bank in shame and is currently a visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute . Bernard Lewis visited the White House on many occasions, purveying his conviction that Iraq, turned into a democracy would be a beacon for the Middle East at large, causing the dominoes to fall.

Ironically, Bernard Lewis and Ann Lambton edited quite a few articles together!

Others may disagree, but I do not find these people particularly brilliant and certainly not accomplished. For all their scholarly insight, they totally misread the realities of Middle East and in the end did not necessarily serve their own countries' interests.

Moreover, Ann Lambton does not personify the best in moral values even if she claims to be a devout Christian.

There is a fine line between being responsible and being a great scholar. Certainly, responsibility rests with those who suggest change but their distorted analyses and perverse recommendations result in consequences that are more disastrous. The current situation in the Middle East is testimony to their miscalculations.

Finally, Mossadegh was everything that they will never be.


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Very Interesting Reading

by Where is Noah's Ark? (not verified) on

During the US Presidential debates in 2007, Congressman Ron Paul of Texas, who is STILL a candidate brought the 1953 Coup to light and it has become the focus of much debate among Americans as the stimulus for our troubles.

I love the way you bicker like us and I ask that you continue so that history will not be manipulated nor forgotten.


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Not so fast Ali!

by Hooshyar (not verified) on

My work not finished yet. Watch this space!


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The Cat Cut Houshiar's Tongue

by Ali-Reza Kasra (not verified) on

What is the matter Houshiar you Big Guy? Did you leave the arena? Did I disarm you?


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A few foreign books? Lol. I

by Ali-Reza Kasra (not verified) on

A few foreign books? Lol. I have a vast collection of books on mid 20th century Iran in both Farsi and English including the recent Mossadegh and the Military Coup of 1953 by Malcolm Byrne which is based on the recent declassified documents including the papers of Harry Truman. By the way the foreign language books are very important because most of the authors are not biased while the Iranian Accounts tend to be very biased. So, I would say I have first rate knowledge. I am not trying to make Mossadegh into a mythical figure. I do see him as a flawed individual with great ideas. His great flaw was his stubborness. It was that stubborness that led him to dissolve the Parliament despite the advice those around him who felt as thosewho opposed him would use the dissolving of the Parliament as an act of Dictatorship. But he was honest and brave. He was the one who in 1925 opposed the establishment of the Pahlavi Dynasty believing in Reza Khan's tendency to become a dictator. But what great leader doesn't have flaws? My understanding of democracy is limited to a few deputies being bribed?
I could assure you my understanding of democracy is not limited to that. I was just trying to explain Mossadegh's motive for dissolving the Parlimanent. Again, I like to stress that he should not have done that. If you read Homa Kathouzian's book Mossadegh and the struggle for Powee In Iran you will see that Mossadegh's action was legal. However, he had been warned that his opponents will use that as an excuse to accuse him of acting as a dictator. As for the question of the press go and look at the sources Mr. Houshiar and you will find out that Mossadegh's belief in the freedom of press destroyed him. Houshhiar says that Mossadegh restricted the press during his last years in office? Are you kidding?
The Tudeh attacked him continously during his first year in office while some other newspapers were paid by the foreign agencies to act as left wingers and pretend as Mossadegh favored communism. His opponents,including Baghai, viciously used that freedom to attack him. There was certainly more restrictions on the press after 1953 and in the period between 1963 to 1977 the freedom of press was completely taken away until The "Tarsoo" and "Gutless" Shah was pressured by the change in the U.S administration to relax the atmosphere. At the end I like to say Mossadegh was one of the outstanding- if flawed- men of the 20th Century and Iran would be fortunate to produce more men like him in the future. I don't think the same can be said about Houshiar.


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A few foreign books? Lol. I

by Ali-Reza Kasra (not verified) on

A few foreign books? Lol. I a vast collection of books on mid 20th century Iran in both Farsi and English including the recent Mossadegh and the Military Coup of 1953 by Malcolm Byrne which is based on the recent declassified documents including the papers of Harry Truman. By the way the foreign language books are very important because most of the authors are not biased while the Iranian Accounts tend to be very biased. So, I would say I have first rate knowledge. I am not trying to make Mossadegh into a mythical figure. I do see him as a flawed individual with great ideas. His great flaw was his stubborness. It was that stubborness that led him to dissolve the Parliament despite the advice those around him who opposed him. But he was honest and brave. He was the one who in 1925 opposed the establishment of the Pahlavi Dynasty believing Reza Khan's tendency to become a dictator. But what great leader doesn't have flaws? My understanding of democracy is limited to a few deputies being bribed?
I could assure you my understanding of democracy is not limited to that. I was just trying to explain Mossadegh's motive for dissolving the Parlimanent. Again, I like to stress that he should not have done that. If you read Homa Kathouzian's book Mossadegh and the struggle for Powe In Iran you will see that Mossadegh's action was legal. However, he had been warned that his opponents will use that as an excuse to accuse him of acting as a dictator. As for the question of the press go and look at the sources Mr. Houshiar and you will find out that Mossadegh's belief in the freedom of press destroyed him. Houshhiar says that Mossadegh restricted the press during his last years in office? Are you kidding?
The Tudeh attacked him continously during his first year in office while some other newspapers were paid by the foreign agencies to act as left wingers and pretend as Mossadegh favored communism. His opponents,including Baghai, viciously used the that freedom to attack him. There was certainly more restrictions on the press after 1953 and in the period between 1963 to 1977 the freedom of press was completely taken away until The "Tarsoo" Shah was pressured by the change in the U.S administration to relax the atmosphere. At the end I like to say Mossadegh was one of the outstanding- if flawed- men of the 20th Century and Iran would be fortunate to produce more men like him in the future.


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Rewriting histroy is an old trick of Mossadeghollahis

by Hoosyar (not verified) on

Mr Kasra, so far I have adhered to a civil style in my debates but if your capacity for a civilized dialogue is so low, then I can show you a different side of debating style. Your flimsy knowledge of the events are based on your reading of a few foreign book and internet-derived chist chats. The obvious example is that you have no clue about the closure of the free press in the last years of Mossadegh's rule and again your understanding of democracy is limited to a few MPs being bribed to vote against Mossadegh. You and all those whose knowledge is as limited as your do not have any ideas how Mossadegh himself was given a vote of confidence in the same Majlis - the difference was that the bribes given to the MPS who votes from Mossadegh! Therefore, along with the rest of Mossadeghollahis you enjoy reading what suits your agenda. You can't build a myth around the facts.


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Houshiar and Anonymous=Idiots

by Ali-Reza Kasra (not verified) on

It takes a very ignorant and uneducated person to even attempt to compare the nationalism in Iran with that of the Nazi Germany. The Nationalism in Germany was motivated by racial and imperialistic ideas. The Nationalism in Iran was of a different nature. The aim of Mossadegh and the National Front was to free Iran from the dominance of the British who had humilated Iran repeatedly by their actions such the 1907 Treaty, the 1915 Treaty, the 1919 Agreement, the Coup of 1921, the invasion of Iran in 1941, an most importantly by not sharing the profits of oil. I do admit that Mossadegh made a mistake by dissolving the Parliament. I must emphasize that his action was legal. But there was a reason for what he did several of the deputies in the Parliament had been bribed in order to stop supporting Mossadegh in the Majlis and ease his fall. The CIA documents indicate that Mossadegh's fears were true. Still, I do agree that he made a mistake since it gave an excuuse to his opponents to attack him and accuse him of being a dictator. Houshiar's comment about the Newspapers is rediculous. If one thing helped the fall of Mossadegh was his belief in the freedom of press. His opponents merecilessly used the freedom of press to attack him and to distabalize his government. At the end I must if Iran had some level of freedom before 1953, and in particular during 1951-1953, all that freedom was wiped out after the fall of Mossadegh and the stage was set for the Revolution of 1979.


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I agree with Hooshyar

by Anonymous only Once in A while (not verified) on

Mosadeq = Hitler.


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Who said the other appointments were not democratic?

by Ali-Reza Kasra (not verified) on

Jenabeh Houshiar

I never said the other Prime Ministers from 1941 to 1951 were chosen in a non democratic fashion. The only difference betweeen Mossadegh and his predecessors was that unlike the Good Doctor they were not overthrown by a CIA backed coup. The proper way to label the period between 1941 and 1953 is to call it a semi democracy with a free press and a certain level of freedom. The truth is the Shah did not agree with the apptointment of most of those men, with the exception of Abdolhossein Hagir. When Hagir was appointed The Shah felt as he now had his own man in charge, but soon he realzied it was too early for consoliating his power. He hated Ghavam and Razmara and when heard Mossadegh had been appointed he said " he wasn't supposed to be chosen!". However, due to his weak position he tolerated these men. Now, you have a problem with me calling The Shah either weak or a Dictator. You are right. The Shah should not be referred to as weak or as a Dictator. He should be labeled a weak dicator whose suitcases were always ready when it was time to run away.


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Thanks for the denials

by Hooshyar (not verified) on

Dear Mammad and AR Kasra, if you wish to avoid the question by muddying the water, that is your choice but the question remains unanswered nonetheless. Allow me to explain:

First Mr Kasra. I am glad to see that you suggest further studies of Historical facts before making firm conclusions. Had you practised what you preach, you would have known that there were twenty Prime Ministerial appointments by Mohammad Reza Shah BEFORE Mossadegh and through the same process that Mossadegh was appointed. So perhaps you would care to tell us how was it that Mossadegh's appointment was democratic but all other appointments before him were not? Now you, more than others, seem to be the one in need of some reality check! By the way is it not funny that when the Shah behaved democratically, he was branded "weak" and when he stood firm, he was a dictator?

And as for Mr Mammad's retreat to the trenches of symbolism, as applied to Mossadegh, I have to say that he was as much of a symbol to the so-called nationalists as was Dr Arani to the Tudeh supporters. But neither of them carried enough charisma and loyalty that their arch enemy did. No, their number one nemesis was not the Shah. It was Khoemini.

You remain in the same state of abject denial as the rest of the Mossadegh fanatics who have wiped off their memory that the country was on the brink of bankruptcy in the months leading to August 1953. The same oil workers who had now a much greater share of the oil wealth had no money to feed their household. The same Majlis that had given him a vote of confidence two years earlier was declared illegal by Mossadegh and suspended. The same democratic institutions that he used their facilities in his ascent to power, such a the newspapers, were shut down by his orders. Ironically another ultra nationalist, who was democratically elected to the seat of the Chancellor, destroyed all the institutions that served him in his seizing the power. His name? Adolph Hitler!


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Mammad , your logic is

by Farhad Kashani (not verified) on

Mammad , your logic is astonishingly flawed. Here are my answers to couple of points you raised with regards to my comments: 1- There is no doubt based on Shah and U.S official own statements, that the Shah went to the British and U.S officials to get some sort of an advice, a road map if you will. What you’re not trying to understand is how things on the ground worked and still does today. Shah had loyalty of his army officials, his intelligence service, and a good portion of the population, including the thugs you mentioned. You explain to me how can the U.S or British or Soviets or who have you, able to stop the Shah if he is willing to go ahead with the coup without physical intervention (i.e. military action), which they didn’t. So, the plan was Iranian done and executed. Now off course the U.S or what have you might’ve been satisfied with the result of the coup, but guess who else was happy: USSR. So just because a government is satisfied with the outcome of an action, does it mean it was directly involved? Is that your logic? 2- You , like many traditional and left winged Iranians, still live in a bubble. This bubble that was created by Marxist Islamists like Shariati and Khomeini and others, have clearly shown its disastrous consequences. It has proven to be the main reason why we are behind today and why is our country in such shape; isolated, feared, always in state of clash with others, ranks bottom in every category from democracy indexes to economic progress. You listen to clichés, and you believe them. Because you believe just being an Iranian immunes you from making mistakes. Immunes you from doing damage and it’s always someone else’s fault. Not taking responsibility for your own actions, is a must for someone to be considered a “true Iranian” by you guys. 3- If you wanna tell me that those thousands of books are written by left wing conspiracy theorists and Islamic Marxist ideologues, not today, not in a million years, I , and the majority of Iranians inside of Iran, will not believe that argument for a slip second. You know why, because this : history has shown us what is really wrong with our society. If you would’ve given me this argument 50 years ago, I might’ve believed you, but not in 2008, after 29 years of brutal oppression by Islamic fascists and their leftist allies. Furthermore, there are “thousands” of books and articles that have shown the extent of the role CIA was engaged in 1953 coup. 4- Based on what twisted logic are you claiming I said Shah was a patriot? Or monarchy is the system to go ? I, unlike you guys, have always said that monarchy, which is deeply rooted in our culture, is one of the main reasons why our country is what it is today. What do u think Khomeini was, nothing but an “Islamic Shah”. So please get your facts straight, and get out of the bubble.


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he was not appointed democratically? What are you talking about?

by Ali-Reza Kasra (not verified) on

A firm no? What are you talking about Houshyar? You probably aren't familiar with how a Prime Minister was chosen in the 1940's and 50's in Iran. In order to chose a Prime Minister, there was a vote in the Majlis. The candidate with the most votes would be chosen as the Prime Minister. Only then the Shah would be informed and he would sign the order for the Prime Minister to be appointed officially. The regular people never voted for the Prime Minister directly. So, while it's true that Mossadegh was not elected by the people but he was appointed democratically by the vote in the Majlis and then by Shah's decree. That's how the system worked. However, after the 1953 Coup, and in particular after the fall of Zahedi in 1955, it was the Shah who would choose the Prime Minister and the Majlis only operated as a Rubber Stamp. That's how a Prime Minister such as Hoveyda would stay as a Premier for 12 years and serve at the Shah's pleasure. Now, that's what I call non democratic. In the 1940's and 50's the Iranian Prime Ministser, in particular Ghavam and Mossadegh, acted very independently. This was due to the Shah being in a weak position in those years. I suggest that you Houshyar study some facts before making " Very Firm" conclusions about Iranian History.


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he was not appointed democratcially? What are you talking about?

by Ali-Reza Kasra (not verified) on

A firm no? What are you talking about Houshyar? You probably aren't familiar with how a Prime Minister was chosen in the 1940's and 50's in Iran. In order to chose a Prime Minister, there was a vote in the Majlis. The candidate with the most votes would be chosen as the Prime Minister. Only then the Shah would be informed and he would sign the order for the Prime Minister to be appointed officially. The regular people never voted for the Prime Minister directly. So, while it's true that Mossadegh was not elected by the people but he was appointed democratically by the vote in the Majlis and then by Shah's decree. That's how the system worked. However, after the 1953 Coup, and in particular after the fall of Zahedi in 1955, it was the Shah who would choose the Prime Minister and the Majlis only operated as a Rubber Stamp. That's how a Prime Minister such as Hoveyda would stay as a Premier for 12 years and serve at the Shah's pleasure. Now, that's what I call non democratic. In the 1940's and 50's the Iranian Prime Ministser, in particular Ghavam and Mossadegh, acted very independently. This was due to the Shah being in a weak position in those years. I suggest that you Houshyar study some facts before making " Very Firm" conclusions about Iranian History.


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Hooshyar

by Mammad (not verified) on

Hooshyar:

Dr. Mosaddegh is the symbol of a much larger and more important issue than he himself as a person or even the Premier: He is, right or wrong, a symbol of Iranians' aspirations for a democratic government.

Therefore, the question of "why did people not support him in 1953" (which they did) is not relevant, unless one puts that in the larger context of Iranians' struggle for freedom. Democracy is not a project to end at a certain date. It is a process, and in Iran Dr. Mosaddegh is a symbol of that process. So, in this sense people are still supporting him and what he stood for.

It is in that context that I responded to you.

In the Chile example that you mentioned yourself, the struggle to get rid of Augusto Pinochet tok 17 years, 1973-1990. Today Salvadore Alende is the symbol of freedom and descency in Chile. Alende as a person was a good man, but what he stood for was far more important. By supporting the ideals of a good man like him, you are suporting him.


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My Question is still unanswered

by Hooshyar (not verified) on

With due respect I beg to differ on all accounts. The question that I posed is central to two subsequent questions and has been avoided by both sides of the debate. The two subsequent issues are:

• Was Mossadegh a democratically elected/appointed Prime Minister? and if so
• Did he, in 1953, have the support of the same people who rallied behind him in 1951?

My answer to both of these questions is a firm No. There are Mossadegh loyalists of the second or third generation since that era, like Mahshid Amirshahi, for instance, who cannot even bring themselves to consider such questions but there are a limited number of survivors of those days whom I have asked and agreed with me that such issues are taboos to Mossadeghollahis and therefore are off the debate. The examples that you have given to my question are side tracking my question and do not address the central argument. I asked where were the people who supported Mossadegh (at the peak of his oil nationalisation movement) when he was removed from the office (coup or otherwise). Why the people who rallied behind him in 1951 did not pour into the streets of major cities and confronted the mob (as they used to do only 2 years earlier).or the army. Why the events of August 1953 were almost entirely bloodless. Apart form the first example, none of the examples that you offered were in support of Mossadegh. Least of all the Marxist or Islamist movements that were in total contradiction to Mossadegh’s nationalist line. Your answers Mammad are examples of the general movements against the Shah and did not address the lack of reaction to Mossadegh’s demise in the aftermath of the event.


Anonymous4now

You misunderstood me

by Anonymous4now on

You misunderstood me Salar.

I did not compare the contributions of Khomeini and Mossadegh.  What I said was what is the difference between idolizing Khomeini and Mossadegh?  If you are going to blindly defend them without acknowledging their mistakes, then your thought process is bordering fanaticism.  Khomeini did not make too many mistakes and executed his ideology perfectly.  It is his murderous ideology that should be under question.  You don't have to preach to me about Mosadegh's invaluable contributions to Iranian political thought and advancement.  Unfortunately for Iranians, Mossadegh failed to implement his ideology and, at least in the battle over oil, he exercised bad judgment.

 


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What is the difference between someone who idolizes Mossadeg, an

by Salar (not verified) on

and someone who idolizes Khomeini?

Should I really explain this? Where do I even begin? It is such a demoralizing phrase that I am totally at a loss here. It really pains my heart to see after 30 years this question and others like it still ponder our minds. When will we learn? When will we understand? When will we get back the honor once we had?

I guess the difference is honor and love for our country Iran, as our country Iran is a symbol of us, our culture, our identity, our future and freedom, IT IS US. That is how our forefathers built it, with freedom, honor and love, with the concept that a man can not be truly fortunate when alive since he has not yet died preserving the principles of his country Iran, that’s how our forefather kouroush kabir died in battle setting the first and foremost example.

The difference is Dr. Bakhtiyar and the murderer bastard akhoond khalkhali, the difference is amir entezam and akhoond mesbah yazdi. The difference is LOVE and HATE. Which side are you on? not just you who mentined the question, but all of you? please think really hard before answering that to yourself.


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The point!

by Ajam (not verified) on

To critic: good for you, now you can engage PC in a hot debate... To me, it does not matter even if I make mistakes for I do not post here to win an english essay contest, but rather to make a point and express a view. Monarchists however (no offence if you are one) use every possible diversion tactic to shift the focus away from any discusion criticising Shah or anything rmotely related to him and his rule!

Every day this and many other sites like this are bombarded by pro-Shah propaganda. Even forty year-old bubble gum ads are reposted here as a matter of pride! But when it comes to someone like Dr. Mossadegh who's achienvements included nationalization of our oil industry -- from which Shah and his regime benefited and tried to take the credit for -- all of a sudden it's "idolizing a person" and being stuck in the past! You are told to forget what happened fifty years ago, but are always reminded of what took place 14 centuries ago! The same rule goes for forgiveness! You "live in the past" if you talk about the 1953 coup, but are a "patriot" if you adore events from the day after the coup up to 1978!

It does not matter that Iran had the human rights record at par or worse than those of some sub-saharan African countries or no political parties existed in our country. But, as long as the torture chambers in Evin, Gohardasht and Ghezel Hesar were built by "his majesty's" order and imprisoned "commies, Islamofascists and Pseudo-intllectuals" it was OK!!!

It's nearly as nauseating as having to listen to Ann Coulter!


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Don't Try to Justify the Actions of the Shah.

by Ali-Reza Kasra (not verified) on

I do not believe that any one could in anyway justify The Shah's actions during the Coup of 1953. MR. Khadivar claims that the Shah's legitimacy was challenged by Mossadegh and that he somehow wanted the Monarch out. What is your evidence for suggesting this? Mossadegh wanted the Shah to reign not to rule as it was intended by the Constitution of 1906. He felt as if the Shah allows the Prime Minister to be independent the responsibilities will all be on the shoulder of the Prime Minister and his cabinet. Had the Shah followed this is advice he would never have had to flee the country, not in 1953 and not in 1978. But thay was not the Shah's nature. He wanted to rule. Also, Mossadegh believed in a Constitutional Monarchy, not in a republic and that explains his hesitation in forming a Republic after the Shah fled in August 1953. Also, some sources claim that Mossadeg had suggested that “His Majesty” should somehow be able to return to Iran. Mossadegh had been around in 1925 when Reza Khan had tried to create a Republic and it had met the oppositions of the Clergy. Based on that experience he felt as Iran is not suitable for a Republic and therefore a Monarch was needed. It’s important to note that in his memoirs Mossadegh always refers to the Shah as His Majesty and although he disagrees with the Shah’s policies he never insults him. I do agree that Mossadegh made a mistake by dissolving the Majlis because that gave the Shah a free hand in dismissing him. He felt as the Shah was not bold enough to try to get rid of him. Of course the Shah did dismiss him with lots of hesitations and much pressure from the Americans and the British. But one should consider the nature of this dismissal. Instead of properly calling the Prime Minister to the palace and asking him to resign, the Shah sends an officer to the Prime Minister's house late at night with the order to arrest him. He has the same plan for the rest of the Cabinet Member. Of course all this is happening when the Shah is conveniently absent from Tehran and has gone to Kelarshat by Caspian Sea. The next morning as soon as he hears that the Coup has failed he flees to Iraq with Queen Soraya. I guess he was not bold enough to remain in Tehran and face the consequences of his actions. Isn't the nature of this dismissal odd Mr. Khavidar? It's shameful that after 55 years when all the CIA documents have been declassified that these so called Monarchists still defend the Shah's actions in 1953


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Hooshyar

by Mammad (not verified) on

You asked a good question.

The Iranians did react, but were supressed and repressed. The reaction did not happen overnight, but happened nonetheless, and gradually, culminating with the 1979 revolution. If they did not react, then why did the Shah's regime have several thousands political prisoners at any given time? Some of the reactions:

1. The second National Front and the National Salvation Front of 1959-1962 was in reaction to the coup, that sought to peacefully change the situation.

2. The 15 Khordad uprising of 1963, although partly instigated by Ayatollah Khomeini and his supporters, was also part of the reaction.

3. The armed struggles of Mojaheddin and Fadaaeeyaan of 1960s and 1970s were also part of the reaction. I am not saying they were right or wrong; but they were part of the struggle.

4. The continuous university students demonstrations and strikes; many labour unrest, etc., were all part of the reaction to the coup.


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The most fundamental question!

by Hooshyar (not verified) on

The most fundamental question has been lost on those who discuss the events of August 1953: why the so-called valiant people of Iran did not rise to claim their hero, Mohammad Mossadegh, back? It happend in other countries where Americans staged a similar coup. It happened in Chile, in 1971 but was brutally suppressed. It happened in Bolivia and supporters of Chavez restored him back to office. But can any of you "experts" tell me why nobody bothered to have their blood shed for Mossadegh. After all he was their only "democraticly" elected leader, was he not? He was the champion of their claim on their oil, was he not? And the Shah was a weak and fragile leader. He didn't have a strong army. There was no SAVAk around yet? So why the people didn't rise up?
Anyone?


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Fattolah

by Honest Hassan (not verified) on

...is my new hero! :-)


Anonymous4now

Salar

by Anonymous4now on

Can you challenge any of the facts or the events I described, without making accusations?  What is the difference between someone who idolizes Khomeini, and someone who idolizes Mossadegh? 

Mossadegh was a human being and like others, prone to making mistakes.   How did you conclude, from my post, that I wrote it in defense of the Shah?  If you can’t handle facts, then you have a problem with history and wish to distort it.  

In 1953, it was Mossadegh’s challenge to the British, from a weak position, and not knowing when to stop and resume from a position of relative strength, that ended his campaign of democracy in Iran.  The British and the Americans were going to do what’s best for them, no matter what.  It was he who should have played the game better.  The future of Iran depended on it. 

With your accusatory tone, you are trying to shut me up and say, no criticism of Mossadegh is allowable.  Don’t make idols out of people, because it necessitates blind defense of them which takes a fanatical nature not too dissimilar to the religious kind.    


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Peoples postings here are being deleted by

by Fatollah (not verified) on

Not agreeig with Dr. Mossadaqs policies has nothing to do with being Anti-Iranian! Peoples postings here are being deleted by Fariba Amini the democrat! Emam Hossein, Yaa Ali, Javid Shah, Doorood bar Khoemeini and Marg bar Shah and so on, everything is black and white for us Iranians! Now that you mention it, Melli-ion and Nationalists of what ever colour, first of all Sandjabi, Sadeeghi, "Mohandes" Bazaragan (Bazargan was a JOKE) - and others like them never dared to challange Khoemeni, so do not talk about being brave as you mention Kouroush kabir, Daryush kabir, Shapur, Babak and so on. Melli-ion were never brave! The only person among politicians who actually wished and tried to save the nation from the thugs (thugis) was Shapour Bakhtiar, with or without the Shah! That person, my friend is actually an Iranian Hero who payed the ultimate price! Do not talk about bravery, you know nothing about the concept! Do not call people sell-outs because you do not know the meaning of it! Sell-outs were the ones who in fact were in contact with the Americans to form a so called National or secular Government, Forsat-tallabee is an Iranian attribute! Sell-outs are the very ones who criticized America and the West and at the same time lived and enjoyed privileged Westeren style lives during the reign of M.R Shah in Iran, at the same time as being representatives of Nationalist movement, they were never hanged, who eventually left Iran for the same West and America where their sons and dauthers held important positions in the universities. some of them died peacefully in their homes in USA or whatever the hell they resided!


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To all anti-Iran and Iranians

by Salar (not verified) on

It is funny, whenever the name of the heroes that symbolize the freedom and glory of our beloved Iran and Iranians are mentioned anywhere like Kouroush kabir, Daryush kabir, Shapur, Babak, etc, and of course Dr Mousadegh, the usual suspects, the enemies of Iran and Iranians, come out of the woods to attack and defame the names and hence assault and demoralize just like they have always done. Even in death, the enemies of Iran are so afraid of these figures and what they symbolize and may inspire among freedom loving Iranians. Shame on you, shame on you for selling out your country and people and above all yourself.

Anonymous4now:

You seem like an educated and reasonable person (mostly on other topics though) but sometimes badjoor khaki mizani. Do you know what the annual budget of CIA is, currently $40 billion. A back of the envelope estimation of including other US and British intelligence and espionage agencies (including military ones) would be something like 100 billion yearly or more. Common man, you give me that kind of money and I would enforce any kind of government with any ideology on any people in any country including US and Britain. Stop playing that old tune, ohh, it wasn’t them CIA or MI6 … it was the stupidity of people, all Iranians should become Nietzsche and Sartre over night.

Yes, part of the problem has always been our own like you and the rest of sell outs from all political spectrum, just look at all these shameful comments here. Like you, most I am sure are educated, intelligent, well-read and reasonably rational, but as soon as someone starts praising Mousadegh and not licking your coward and incompetent mammad shah’s bu.. All that logic and education goes out of window. Shed this disease man, I am with all of you. Start following what you prescribe to others. Look at what you are doing, arguing against what is the greatest contemporary symbol of Iran’s freedom and democracy in the eyes of Iranians in favor of a coward, weak and incompetent individual that ran away (as always) from the country and handed over his regime to Mullahs, always waiting to see what his western masters ordered him to do. Khomeini always said “Mousadegh be Islam zarar zad”, he never said anything like that about mammad shah, why would he? Mamad shah gave them the power by always fighting against the nationalists and Melioon and supporting Islamists and Mullayan. Yeah, continue commending him.


Darius Kadivar

I said Forgive NOT Forget ...

by Darius Kadivar on

Yawn ...

 

 


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To Ajam and Craig

by Critic (not verified) on

Funny enough Ajam was right in the first place but obviously not having confidence in his own English succumbed to the baseless criticism of Craig. Anglo-American means, among others, any joint venture that is influenced, or managed, by both the English (British) and American partners:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anglo-American

where did you guys learn your English?


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Re anglo-American

by Ajam (not verified) on

Pro. Craig, I have an economy for words to avoid redundancy and rambling. I'm sure you know exactly what I meant as you can see in the previous paragraphs I used British-American. That's beside the point. However, if you want to play the semantic, I don't play that game. So... you win! happy?


Anonymous4now

Dear Ms Amini:

by Anonymous4now on

Your article attempts to idolize Dr. Mossadegh, by demonizing others, instead of doing an objective analysis of his contributions to the 1953 fiasco.   

 

You have to start considering the history and politics of the time, to put mossadegh’s work, who was a seasoned politician and aware of the politics of the world of the 50s, into perspective.  In 1941, Reza shah faced with the prospect of being forced to abdicate turned to the only man he could trust, Foroughi, the prime minister he had earlier put aside.  Foroughi, was aware that the British were looking for a replacement for Reza shah and were concentrating on a grandson of mamdali Shah (Ghajar), Hamid Mirza, the son of Mamdalhasan Mirza.  Hamid Mirza had grown up in England and was an officer in the Royal Navy, and did not speak Persian.  Foroughi took Reza shah’s young son to the parliament and quickly swore him in, to out do the British.  The Shah then became the legitimate constitutional monarch of Iran, sworn in by the parliament.  This fact alone would not have prevented the British from bringing Hamid Mirza to power, but the British ambassador in Tehran advised against this act.    

 

Dr. Mossadegh, in the back drop of such contemporary history, presumed power as the Prime minister, in 1951.  The Shah had appointed him to the post with the approval of the Parliament. Dr. Mossadegh was a democrat and a charismatic leader but he did violate the constitution by dissolving the parliament and as Darius Kadivar correctly points out, he committed himself to a coup by wanting to displace the Monarch who had been sworn in, constitutionally.  By the time there was unrest on the streets he realized that his movement had been high jacked by the left, and fearing that the left, aligned with the Soviet Union, may be poised to take over, he made a public announcement asking his supporters not to come out in the streets and not to support the leftists.  Between 24th and 28th of Mordaad, the Tudeh party had the Soviet flag complete with sickle and hammer raised up in place of the toppled statues of the Shah.  

 

The Brits had grown used to taking oil from Iran in return for a pittance. More importantly they had refrained from training any Iranians in technical positions, so Mossadegh knowing full well that his plan for nationalization of oil would not succeed without foreign involvement to run the oil fields, threatened the national interest of a super power of the time, namely the British.  The World Bank, at the encouragement of Eisenhower, put a 50-50 offer on the table to resolve the stalemate.   Other than the obvious implications this deal had for the Iranian economy, which had ground to a halt due to the British embargo, the deal required that the British train Iranian technicians to eventually take over oil extraction operations.  Mossadegh, encouraged by the Toudeh party, who argued that instead of cutting oil to the Brits, the North oil fields of Iran should be opened up to the Russians to balance the stake of Super powers in Iran, refused the deal.  He, in effect, dealt the final blow to his own aspirations for democracy.  The Tudeh party had already set him up for being blamed for taking Iran out of the hands of one imperial power (Britain) and placing it into the hands of another (America).  He failed to take the correct action and let the Tudeh party have the upper hand.  Iran almost certainly would have fallen into the Soviet sphere of influence, had it not been for the vital interests the West had in Iran.  Your own father had a significant role in curbing the leftist influence and tying Iran’s interest with those of America’s.  The Shah, who made monumental mistakes of his own, played the oil game well for Iran and accepted the 50-50 deal and in time (by 1973) had increased Iran’s share of the deal to an unprecedented 75-25.  Perhaps more importantly, Iranians were now running the oil fields.   

Mossadegh had good intents, but made monumental mistakes that, one could argue, should not be expected from a seasoned politician like him.   

To put the blame, for our failures, squarely on foreigners who served their countries’ national interests patriotically is to, once again, pass responsibility for our own failures onto others.  Unfortunately for Iranians, the elements serving foreign interests in and outside Iran performed magnificently to their own advantage, but our very best failed to out maneuver them and put the interests of his nation ahead of his pride, and failed to exercise better judgment.


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Bravo Mammad (Re: Still living in denial )

by Ahmad Bahai (not verified) on

Great response to a bunch of idiot shah parasts (like Dariush Kadivar).

Regards,
A/B