The price of foreign interference

Photo essay: Mossadegh in LIFE Magazine photo archives

by Reza
A couple of weeks ago LIFE Magazine's rare and never-before published photos of Iran -- mostly the Shah and the royal family -- were featured here [see: "Past LIFE"].  The following all relate to Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh.


ممنون از درج عكس‌ها

ح.ش (not verified)

قابل تقدير است

Ari Siletz

Resourceful fellow!

by Ari Siletz on

Thanks Masoud for your response. Any thoughts on how Vosough expected to sneak the 1919 agreement past the Majles? On a related issue, I wonder how he convinced the British to make a down payment on a bribe he (or any astute British diplomat) would recognize as a long shot?  As you point out, this was not a time when the British had a lot of money to throw around.

Masoud Kazemzadeh

brief response now, more later

by Masoud Kazemzadeh on

My apologies for the late response. I will try my best to provide more detalied answers later (I am in the middle of grading finals). for sasan, see: // Mossadegh or the "young Constitutionalist" along with Dehkhoda were members of Insaniyat Society (an armed constitutional revolutionary group). One may fight with or without arms. Mossadegh was closely involved in the constitutional revolution. He was elected to the First Majles, but could not take his seat because he was not old enough. Because of his direct involevment in the contitutinalist revolution, he was asked by the Mohammad Ali Shah to mediate with others, which Mossadegh refused to do so. ===================================== Ari, When Vossough was Prime Minister, he recieved huge amounts of money from the British in order to sign the 1919 Agreement, which would have made Iran a virtual and legal colony of the U.K. There was intense opposition and the Majles did not ratify it. There was absolutely no reasons whatsoever why when a country has a constitutional govt and one is the Prime Minister, and the UK due to WWI is weak (at that time and a bit later Turks such as Mustafa Kemal AtaTurk fought against the British to secure their independence) would give away the country's independence for personal gain. Mossadegh was upset that Vossough was selling out Iran to the British. I hope this is helpful.


An Iranian Hero

by yn (not verified) on

Dr. Mohammad Mossadegh is one of the few national heroes that our beloved homeland Iran has nurtured in her recent history. He remains a source of great pride for all Iranians.
He was a champion of democracy, a promoter of rule of law, and an advocator of parliamentary monarchy who opposed the autocracy of Pahlavis. A system which bore the fruit of IRI the present theocracy in Iran.
He curailed the excessive pays and freebies to the Pahlavi court clans, while not collecting any salary for his services as Prime Minister.
His Nationalization of Iranian Oil initiated a movement against foreign exploitation in Middle East and North African countries.
Dr. Mohammad Mossadegh and Iran lost the battle to dictatorship, but present Iranians armed with knowledge and determination will fight and win the war for a democratic Iran.
Thank you Mr. Reza for sharing his pictures with readers.

Darius Kadivar

Sasan Mossadegh did participate to Constitutional Revolution

by Darius Kadivar on

I first also doubted this comment  thinking he must have been too young at the time of the events but he was actually 24 years of age and already a young man. Not sure however to what degree he was involved in this struggle all the more that he later occupied Key positions in the successive Qajar Goverments. But by then Iran had a Constitution unlike before the Constitutional Revolution ( even if from a Parlimentary Point of View, the Qajar King was still both "Ruling and Reigning" and could veto any law that he deemed went against his "divine" right). He apparently did not initially approve of Reza Khan's Coronation since he resigned from his Parlimentary position only to run later on for the same parliament. So he probably already had a "love and hate" relationship with the Pahlavis.



by Sasan (not verified) on

" He (Dr Mossadegh) was one of the fighters in the Constitutional Revolution ..."

-Dr Kazemzadeh

Maybe in the afterpath of it, but IN that Revolution?I have never heard his name mentioned in that regard.



by Shameful (not verified) on

We are a nation who had the likes of the late Dr. Mossadegh but now ended up with the likes of Ahmadinejad, Khameneii, Rafsanjani, etc.

Shame on us for our bigheyrati.

Ari Siletz

The dark side

by Ari Siletz on

After leveling charges of "mamlekat koshi," against another politician (Vosuq al dowleh) Mossadegh cited both secular and Shari'a law suggesting capital punishment for the crime.

He shouted, "Deputies! the people's eye turned dark as it saw so much wrongdoing and betrayal. The same eye went white in the hope of seeing the trial of political leaders who sell out their country. In a country where ministerial responsibility is more apparent than real, and where the people are so forgetful, the treason of the traitors infects every individual..."

The unrestratined political diatribe, a favorite with quite a few of us, is Mossadegh's legacy. Ironically, the passionate character of the man who did more than anyone to liberate Iran from foreign dominance now works against a democratic mindset for the country he loved.

Masoud Kazemzadeh


by Masoud Kazemzadeh on

Dear friends Dariush and Jamshid,

I wanted to acknowledge having read your responses.  I am preparing my lectures for tomorrow's 5 hours of teaching.  I will try to write my responses on Wed.


Best regards,



Dear Masoud

by jamshid on

Dear Masoud, thank you for your kind response. You wrote,

"Holding a referendum in order to temporarily close Majles is NOT dictatorial."

Mossadegh didn't want to just "temporarily" close majles, he wanted to shut out the voice of opposing majles (the same majlis that elected him) in order to continue with its national policies without any opposition. He believed that Iran's ciritical and urgent needs called for this.

Although I believe his intentions were good, but this is not democracy. My point is that due to Iran's circumenstance in the 50s, NOBODY could implement a true democracy and not resort to dicatorial ways in those days.

You talk about Mossadegh not having violated anything. Emaam Hossein didn't violate anything either, simply because he was never in power. Mossadegh was not in power long enough. And he couldn't have remained in power without resorting to dictatorial ways.

His track record is clear: he first got rid of the shah, then the majlis, then what would be next? Unfortunately, we can never tell.

As far as your Canadian government comparison, the Canadian prime minister, Harper, is not legally authorized to suspend the parliament. For example, he cannot order the military to shut down the parliament.

What he can do is ask the "unelected" head of state to authorize the suspension of the parliament. This "unelected" head of state granted his request a few days ago. Had she not granted this request, prime minister Harper could only either resign or face the certain vote of no-confidence by the parliament.

Similarly in Iran, the "unelected" head of state, the Shah, did not grant Mossadegh authorization to shut down the majles. The difference between Mossadegh and Harper is that Mossadegh, who was facing a definite vote of no-confidence by the same majles that elected him, went ahead and forced the shut down anyway.

This is in contrast with Harper who would never dare do such a thing, as Canada's check and balance system would immediately and forcefully remove him from his post.

These democratic check and balances didn't exist in Iran in the 50s. That is why Mossadegh could successfully order the majles shut down despite having no constitutional or legal authority to do so.

No matter how you want to put it, this was a dictatorial action by Mossadegh. This does NOT mean that it was a decision and an action against the interest of the people of Iran.

We must refrain from making Mossadegh (or anyone else) an emaam zadeh or the perfect politician. This is a grave mistake we Iranians have been making for centuries.

Mossadegh (the man himself, not his ideas), should be far below your principles, as any other man should be.

Darius Kadivar

Thank You Massoud Jan

by Darius Kadivar on

This is a Very Crucial and at the same time Complicated period in Iranian History. I think it is a great thing that we can have this type of dialogue to be able to understand the challenges and social and political dillemas of the time.

It is often very easy to typecast the actors of this period in Black and White be it Mossadegh or the Shah.

I would like to read some books on this period and the National Front's History. Do you recommend any good books or sources that one can read on this issue ?

It is a very thought Provoking period because I think that given the multiplicity of groups and interests involved one needs to also take into account the Era, that is Iran after WWII and particularly the 1950's. I think for anyone interest in political science it would be interesting to see if there were times when a conciliation or moderation on either the Shah's positions or Mossadegh's Positions could have led to a different and more constructive scenario for the nation but also for the two men engaged in this fatal rivalry and test of wills.

Also it is interesting to note that the JM was founded in 1949 given that the United Nations was created just a year earlier in 1948. I also had the chance to visit the International Court of La Hague a few years ago and learn if I am not mistaken that Dr. Mossadegh's Lawsuit was the Very First submitted to this Court created shortly after the United Nations. So Mossadegh's victory at La Hague also proved his powerful insight and competance into the Legal International matters of his time.

This is why I am a little surprised that Dr. Mossadegh did not evaluate the risks he was taking in challenging the Shah's Authority. I think that he may have reacted too rapidly to the events more as a competant Lawyer than a calculating Politician.

I think it is not surprising given that IMPATIENCE is something we Iranians are most often critisized for.

The Shah wanted to Modernize Iran Quickly and Mossadegh Democratize Iran Quickly.

Maybe a middle ground should have been adopted by both Men rather than Wanting and Expecting Immediate Results.

Massoud Jan Thank you again for your ALWAYS Valuable Feedbacks.






Masoud Kazemzadeh


by Masoud Kazemzadeh on

Iran Doost besiyar gerami,

Thank you for your kind comments.  And thank you for posting the wonderful video. 

When I was writing my post, I had not read the post of my friend Dariush.




Dariush jaan,

Your questions are excellent questions.  Let me answer them to the best of my abilities.

Dr. Mossadegh himself was a strong supporter of the 1906 Constitution.  His primary problem with Reza Shah and Mohammad Reza Shah was that they destroyed the constitutional system.

There is an error in the segment you quoted by that website.  JM was founded in 1949 (and not in 1944).  Initially JM was intended merely as a front for all those who simply demanded free elections.  ANY group or individual who wanted free election to that Majles election could join this coalition.  There were some weird and anti-democratic groups such as Fadaian Islam who also came and joined this. 

A bit later, however, JM became more of a coalition of parties, groups and individuals who wanted democracy.  So Fadaian Islam was out.  Then it added the demand for oil nationalization to its demands.

Within JM there were parties, groups and individuals of various ideologies.  For example, the largest party was Hezb Iran, which was a social democratic party sort of like the German Social Democratic Party, or the Socialist Party in France, or the Socialist Party in Spain.  There was the Hezb Mellat Iran (Forouhar's party) which was pan-Iranist.  Before joining JM, HMI was not democratic, but after it joined JM, under the influence of Dr. Mossadegh's thoughts, it became a pro-democracy party (personal interview with Khosrow Seif).  There was also Khalil Maleki and his Niroyeh Sevvom (Third Force) which was Marxist and democratic socialist and opposed Tudeh (and its dictatorial ideology and its subservience to the USSR).

In JM from the get-go there were republican elements such as Khalil Maleki and Dr. Hosein Fatemi (our Foreign Minister, who was vicitim of an assassination attemp by Fadaian Islam, and later knifed and then executed by the Shah).  After the coup on 25 Mordad (3 days before the second successful coup on 28 Mordad), many made the argument that it was impossible to have a constitutional monarchy while the monarch is dictatorial. 

Many had been advocating a republican system since the constitutional revolution.  Even after Reza Khan's coup in 1921, he wanted to create a republican system; but Shia clerics convinced him not to.  The Shia clerics knew republic as existed in USSR, which was stronly anti-religious, and then since 1923-24 Turkey under Mustafa Kemal Ataturk was a republic and stronly anti-Islamic. So by late 1925-early 1926, Reza Shah made himself king.

What is interesting is that during this period while Reza Khan (soon to be Reza Shah) toyed with the idea of a republic (and a dictatorial one at that), Dr. Mossadegh sided with a CONSTITUTIONAL monarchy.  In essense then Dr. Mossadegh's primary goal was the establishment of democracy, and he was trying to find the best way that this could be achieved in Iran.

Until late 1978, JM was committed to constitutional monarchy.  In late 1978 (around October or November), JM officially changed its position and embraced a republican form of government as the best form possible in Iran.  I would guess that sometimes in early 1960s, most of JM members simply abandoned the possibility that it was possible to have constitutional monarchy under the Pahlavis and thus the best and safest form of democracy in Iran would have to be a republican form.

I hope this is helpful.





jamshid jaan,

 Holding a referendum in order to temporarily close Majles is NOT dictatorial.  Dr. Mossadegh cabinet did not assassinate anyone, execute anyone, close any papers, torture anyone.  ALL civil liberties were fully respected.  And this while the monarchists (and Ayatollah Kashani) kidnapped the Chief of Police, Gen. Afshartoos, who was a supporter of JM, and tortured him, broke him bones in several places, and murdered him in cold blood. 

There were going to be NEW elections for the Majles in few months.  One may say that closing the Majles was a bad policy, but it would not be fair to call it dictatorial.


In the past few days, after disputed between Canadian parliament and Prime Minister, the dude closed the parliament.  You would NOT call Canada a dictatorship, would YOU???????  It would be an easy and cheap shot to call the PM a dictator, but that is simply a propaganda and not real actual way Canada is.  There will be NEW elections for the Parliament in Canada soon.









"مرحوم دكتر


"مرحوم دكتر مصدق هميشه آدمي آزاديخواه، دمكرات، و وطن پرست بود"

He was a patriot but not a democrat. Not because he didn't believe in democracy, but simply because he could not implement a true democracy in those days.

Otherwise, he would not have shut down the parliament, the same parliament that elected him. Ordering the Majles shut down was not a democratic move.


داريوش عزيز

ايران دوست (not verified)

پس از خواندن پاسخ دكتر كاظم زاده، من تصور كردم كه به سوال شما، حالا يا مستقيم يا غير مصتقيم، جواب داده شد٠ البته بنده خبرگي دكتر كاظم زاده را در اين مورد ندارم، وليكن اجازه بدهيد كه نظر خودم را در اين مورد خدمتتان عرض كنم٠ مرحوم دكتر مصدق هميشه آدمي آزاديخواه، دمكرات، و وطن پرست بود٠ بر خلاف عقايد خيلي، حتي حاظر بود كه شاه سلطنت كرده، ولي حكومت نكند٠ من اميدوارم كه دكتر كاظم زاده بيشتر در اين مورد برايتان توضيح بدهند٠ وليكن هميشه در ياد داشته باشيد كه اشخاصي كه راجع به دكتر منفي صحبت مِكنند، يا شاهي كامل هستند، و يا طرفتار اين آخوندا٠ همين -

Darius Kadivar

No One Answered my Question ? ;0)

by Darius Kadivar on

With Due Respect, I still don't have an Answer to my Question. Was Mohamed Mossadegh and the National Front created in 1944 suggest a Republic or a TRULY Respected Constitutional Monarchy ?

I don't think this Question is Irrespectful of Dr. Mossadegh's personality, his intellectual legacy or Belittling his historical Importance. So I look forward to an unbiaised and knowledgable answer.  

The issue I am making is not to know if he was a Democrat for that is not the issue. I am trying to understand his arguments in regard to the Institutions of the country at the Time.

The Issue of NATIONALISATION has Nothing to do with DEMOCRACY as such but just a Pre condition to Economic Independance.

So If Anyone has an accurate Answer or is knowledgable on Dr. Mossadegh who played a major role in the history of Our Country, I look forward to your feedback.

Thank You,



جناب دكتر كاطم زاده

ايران دوست (not verified)

با كمال تشكر از تشريح بسيار مفيد شما در مورد دكتر مصدق عزيز٠ دوست هزيز ما، آقاي داريوش كديور، سوال بسيار خوبي كردند كه شما بصورت كامل جواب داديد٠ اين وِديو كه در زير عرضه ميكنم، صحبت كوتاهي از مرحوم دكتر، همراه با عكساي خاطره انگيز:

موفق باشيد

Masoud Kazemzadeh

Thank You

by Masoud Kazemzadeh on

1. First and foremost, I thank all those who expressed their support for Dr. Mossadegh.


2. There are several errors of fact in some of the comments of several posters:

*  The very first land reform in Iranian history was initiated by Dr. Mossadegh cabinet.

*  The very first cabinet bill on female franchise submitted to the Majlis was submitted by JM cabinet. This bill caused then-Speaker of Majles Ayatollah Kashani to vigorously opposed JM cabinet and helped push him and the conservative clerical forces to side with the Shah.


* the 1963 reforms on land reform and female franchise were forced upon the Shah by the Kennedy administration.  The Shah initially resisted these reforms.  Khomeini's opposition to the Shah begins with the land reform and female franchise.  Khomeini did NOT oppose the shah from 1953 until 1961.  Actually Khomeini personally was the liason between Ayatollah Uzma Brujerdi and the Shah and brought Brujerdi's secret messages to the Shah.


Mossadegh was overthrown by a combination of CIA leadership, MI6 assets, Shah supporters, and conservative Shia fundamentalist (Fadaian Islam) and clerical forces (ayatollah Brujerdi, ayatollah Kashani) and their ability to mobilize arazel o obash (Shaban bi-mokh, Tayyeb Yakhi who in 1963 sided with Khomeini).

Dr. Mossadegh was not a communist. This rumor was one of several spread by the CIA. Other such rumors were he is Jewish, he is Bahai, he was the disintegration of Iran. These are LIES spread by CIA. Only fools would fall for such nonsense.

Dr. Mossadegh was born into Qajar. He was one of the fighters in the Constitutional Revolution and opposed the dictatorship of Mohammad Ali Shah Qajar. We in the pro-democracy movement do not judge individual by their genes, rather by the content of their character. Dr. Mossadegh was a true patriot who sacrificed his life for Iran’s independence, freedom, democracy and human rights. He shines despite more than 70 years of attacks and lies by Pahlavists, and fundamentalist terrorist thugs.


Mossadegh’s ideals and struggles continue in all those who fight against the fundamentalist terrorist regime. All those who fight for azadi, democracy, hoghogh bashar are continuing Mossadegh’s fight. We have brave fighters like Abbas Amir-Entezam, we have Ahmad Batebi, and we have all the wonderful pro-democracy students who in the past few days risked their lives in publicly opposing the ruling terrorist regime.

Finally, the terrorist regime banned Mossadegh’s organization to hold its private plenum. See:





Dorood bar Mossadegh, dorood bar tamam azadi-khah-an Iran, Dorood bar azadi va democracy


gosasteh baad estebdad, nabood baad dictatori velayat faghih

Darius Kadivar

Question: Was Mossadegh a Republican ?

by Darius Kadivar on

Simply Wondering if anyone can give a clear cut answer to this Question: Was Mohammed Mossadegh a Republican and did the National Front he created in 1944 call for the Downfall of the Monarchy and replaced by a Presidential Republic like lets say France ?

A look at his early life and involvement in Politics does not seem to suggest it despite his opposition to the Shah. So I am a little confused why Iranian Republicans claim of his political Legacy ? Mossadegh occupied important posts in the Previous Qajar Dynasty after all.

Thank you in advance to your knowledgable feedback,


Read Bio below from the following link

Mohammed Mossadegh got his start in Iranian politics in 1914, when he was appointed Governor General of the Iranian province of Fars by Ahmad Shah Qajar and was titled Mosaddegh os-Saltaneh by the shah. He was later appointed finance minister, in the government of Ghavam os-Saltaneh in 1921, and then foreign minister, in the government of Hassan Pirnia Moshir od-Dowleh in June, 1923. Later in 1923, he was elected to the Iranian parliament but resigned shortly after, following the selection of Reza Pahlavi as shah.

By 1944 Reza Pahlavi had abdicated, and Mossadegh was once again elected to parliament. This time he ran as a member of the National Front Party, a nationalist organization that aimed to end the foreign presence that had established itself in Iran following the Second World War, especially regarding the exploitation of Iran's rich oil resources.


In the dark history of Iran

by soran (not verified) on

In the dark history of Iran which is filled with corrupted rulers, kings and clergies whom came generation after generation Mosadegh shines like star. He was true believer of democracy.

Red Wine


by Red Wine on

between U.S.A , Russia , United Kingdom, he chosed U.S.A ... Isn't it ?!


A Communist!

by Haywood (not verified) on

Mosadeq was!


Doctor Mossadegh

by Nader1234 (not verified) on

Rohash Shad..
May he rest in Peace .

Ari Siletz

Fascinating photos!

by Ari Siletz on

The #15 #16 sequence especially. It's intriguing that Mossadegh would try his first cigarette during a military trial. Was he deliberately telegraphing images of a firing squad?


Here are your choices:

by YH (not verified) on

Here are your choices:

A- He was a true patriot
B- He was a charlatan
C- He was --------- (you can fill in the blank)

Whatever you pick at this juncture in time, does not change the truth.
will remain whether you and I like it or not.
What matters at this time is solidarity, support, cooperation, unity....
What 'some' provide in abundance and constantly is discouragement, disapprovement and opposition.
No one is ever good enough --I'm not saying raise anyone to sainthood, no, but
I wonder if the 'some' believe this negativity and nay saying will get anyone anywhere?? -- and if not, why continue on the same negative path to nowhere??

Haven't we had more than enough calamities so far...???



nine25 (not verified)

خدای را مفکن سایه شرف هرگز !

در آن دیار که طوطی کم از زغن باشد

- حافظ



by Bahram Gohari (not verified) on

Mossadegh was Romeo & Iran was Julliet, or better to say it, Mossadegh was Laily & Iran was Majoon, roohash shad va hamishe zende bad.



by hojjatali namdar (not verified) on

Mossadegh's legend far out shines his actual accomplishments and the vast differences of opinions here prove there's a controversy, and that in itself should be grounds to auto-disqualify him for sainthood. Now, our so called intellectual talking heads should stop worrying about whether it's Mr. or Emamzadeh Mossadegh and instead look ahead for a uniter, a charismatic, believer of social/civil freedoms, a technocrat, a patriot, a strong leader who will bring us all together. A tall order, I realize that, but the populace ought to demand it in their leaders, rather than continuing with the same old slogans and thinking. With the likes of MEK and RayP (That's Reza's gettho nickname!), the opposition has not progressed an inch in the last 30 years. MEK's embarassment has been well documented, and as for his royal majesty king of kings RayRay half Pahlavi, he is way too comfortable, too set in his ways, too philosophical/professorial, too not-a-leader. Once there is a democracy in Iran, he'll make a hell of a PolySci teacher, but as far as leading a country with so many problems, neither he nor Maryam is up to the task. These has-beens need to stop the chatter and teasing. Those who continue to blindly follow either of these need to wake up and smell the chai. The world is moving forward and these robots are sticking to ideology instead of freedom for Iran. F$&k ideology! Think about Iran. It is time a true leader from within emerges to inspire and unite us all, it better be cuz choices we currently got stink!!


Thank you for sharing.......

by Nadias on

solh va doosti/paz a vosotros/paix et amitié





Loved the pictures

by shirazie (not verified) on

specially the one with US ambassador ( the SOB that will stab him in the back)

I always wondered, if over throw of Dr. Mossadegh was the biggest US blunder. Same as Hitler and Napoleon's invasion of Russia. His overthrow led to Islamic Revolution and anti Americanism in the Islamic world (1.2 billion people)

Only time will tell


Just Imagine...

by Khar on

If that Great Man and the generations of Iranians after him were able to finish what he started!! Iran would be a different place today.


Yadash Zendeh Va Ravanash Shaad!!!