In memorial of Adib Boroumand, Iranian politician, poet and lawyer and head of the central council of The National Front of Iran, who died last night!
Here is an interview that I had with him and has been published in the Special Issue of Etemaad Daily about the 1953 Iranian Coup.
People from the culture and art know Abdolali Adib Boroumand with his valuable works in poetry and literature. A man who remembered many events. He was one of eyewitnesses of The 1953 Iranian Coup and advocates of Iran National Movement. His role as a poet in helping the National Movement was really significant. Even Dr. Mosaddegh entitled him as The National Poet. In those days, he joined The National Front of Iran and by composing national and political poems accompanied The Notional Front and anticolonial movement, and opposed the political influence of Britain and Soviet Union provocations. Based on what he said himself, he continued his path in the way of liberty even after the coup on 18 August 1953 and closing The National Front. The coup on 18 August was a good reason for me to meet Adib Boroumand and have a discussion about what happened in those days. In the first days of the summer, some of his friends and I visited him in order to listen to his story about The 1953 Iranian Coup. He answered all our questions very kindly and changed our discussion to a friendly chat. In the following, you can read my interview with Adib Boroumand.
- Do you believe that what happened on 18 August 1953 was a coup?
The events on 18 August in every sense was a coup. First of all, those who planned it, USA and Britain, confessed that they organized the coup and said: “We sent our agents to the king and he agreed; then, we finished the job.”
The second reason is that king did not have this power to remove Mosaddegh before the closure of parliament. The closure of parliament was not become official, because Mosaddegh had held a referendum and people had voted for the retention of government and closure of parliament but no reports had been sent to the king. Therefore, parliament still existed and dismissing Mosaddegh was illegal.
Even more important, have you ever seen a dismissal which has happened at the midnight and with military forces? For a dismissal, always king requested for presence of head of the office and commanded for the dismissal of someone. However, in that event some military forces along with Colonel Nasiri moved toward Mosaddegh’s place. Some of them were surrounded by curfew agents and came back, but the rest with Colonel Nasiri reached Mosaddegh’s place and gave him the command for dismissal. Nevertheless, Dr. Mosaddegh did not accept it because the process of dismissal was not like that. Even the order of the command text and king’s signature was notable because the signature was much lower than the text which revealed that first, king had signed a paper and then the text which was explaining who is the substitute had been written there. King had just signed the paper and ran away to Ramsar (A city in north of Iran) and then to Iraq and after that the text had been written there. Moreover, USA and Britain have said several times that they planned the coup and regretted it because they did a wrong job. If the aim was removing Dr. Mosaddegh with a national uprising there should not be any interferences of military forces. Nevertheless, some people says it was not a coup. If it was not a coup so what was it?
- So, why king did not close the parliament so that his job became legal and easily could dismiss Mosaddegh?
The reason that king did not close the parliament was that they wanted to overthrow the government by the use of parliament in order to disorganize The National Movement. Dr. Mosaddegh knew that with his summons to parliament, he would be assassinated in the way or he would not receive the vote of confidence in parliament. Then, someone like Ahmad Qavam would come and say all had been done was nonsense and The National Movement should be destroyed and we should negotiate with Britain about Iran’s oil and we should give them a share and have share for Iran and finish the job.
- Is it true that Dr. Mosaddegh when received the dismissal letter first accepted it but then refused it?
No, not at all. At first when Mosaddegh received the letter said that it was a coup and the letter was unofficial. His position from the beginning was obvious and he believed that it was illegal and did not accept it.
- Did Mosaddegh have the power to stop the coup?
No, because the coup was a heterogenesis. However, some informed him that the coup is probable. But the coup happened in this way that all the pieces gathered together in one afternoon and some people with the help of US started it, and Franklin Roosevelt –who was the designer of the coup- picked up Zahedi from his hideout. Some people also occupied the radio and around 150 people started from the south of Tehran and in the way some of bystanders followed those who had tanks and went to Mosaddegh’s house and bombarded it. All these events happened in 3 hours. They did not imagined that it would happened that much fast. When I was going home around 1:00 PM nothing was happening and the usual life of people was going and nobody was upset about king’s leaving. When I arrived home radio had a program but an hour later suddenly it stopped, and until the 5:00 PM all those happened.
- When king’s dictatorship started? Was the coup the beginning of his dictatorship?
Before the coup, king also sabotaged against Dr. Mosaddegh’s government. Although, he expressed his agreement to Mosaddegh’s decisions apparently, indeed he sabotaged against him and his house and court had become a place for who were dissatisfied with Mosaddegh’s works. Britain’s puppets and court co-operated to stimulate the king against Dr. Mosaddegh. The king were also stimulated but did not have the power to run a dictatorship, because the power was in hands of Dr. Mosaddegh. However, later they connected with Hossein Ala’ and some other people and split up between members of National Movement and ran the coup.
- Some people believe that Dr. Mosaddegh did not consult with members of National Movement after the arrival his government, is it true?
No, he consulted very much. Whenever he wanted to do something he usually consulted with some people. He always consulted with Mr. Hasibi about the oil issue. However, some people believe that those consultations were even more than enough, and if he decided alone in some situations the results would be better.
- Like what situations?
For example, he did not know that world did not need Iran’s oil as much as his consultants said. Maybe if he decided alone he would understand that world needed Iran’s oil but not as much as if Iran’s oil was shut down, their works also were shut down.
- Why with the all disagreements that Dr. Mosaddegh had with Tudeh Party, he gave them permission and freedom to do whatever they wanted?
One of the Dr. Mosaddegh’s goals during his premiership was teaching democracy to people of Iran, because of that he commanded that no photos of him should be published and no statue of him should be built and also, none of the parties should be stopped and even if a newspaper consulted him, no one should punish them. He wanted to teach the people how democracy works and be a model for that. Therefore, he could not oppose the Tudeh Party which was brought up by Razmara. So, he had let the Tudeh Party to work freely and ignored all their offenses. Even when they wanted to have a mourning ceremony for Stalin he gave them the permission to do that.
- Do you think giving that permission was a right thing to do?
In this case despite my support for Dr. Mosaddegh I am not agree with him. Giving permission to them to have a mourning ceremony with lots of people for some foreigner who died out of Iran and have killed lots of people was none sense. In this case, Dr. Mosaddegh should not give them the permission.
- So, why Tudeh Party with all of their disagreements with Dr. Mosaddegh did not do anything during the coup?
Because Russians did not let them to involve. The Russian ambassador, by saying that he had a heart attack closed the embassy for several days and did not accept any visitors. US and Britain also had recommended Russian to not to interfere their proceedings against Mosaddegh, because of that Tudeh Party did not have the permission to involve.
- But after leaving the king the Tudeh Party started doing something, did not they?
Yes, after leaving the king they started some things, they squabbled and pulling down the statue. Dr. Mosaddegh was afraid of them becuase they may try to occupied king’s place, so, he commanded them to come back to their houses and announced for a curfew. His fear was about if they tried to misuse that situation, he would be unable to stop them.
- You are saying that the coup was done by US and Britain, is there any document available for your claim?
Which document is better than their own confess. They confessed about it.
- But Mr. Wells, the head of the CIA at that time, has said: “If Iranians think that the coup was our plan and we have this much power, why should we deny it”, what does it mean?
They did not eat their words just changed it. US even has apologized from people for running the coup, but this does not make people to forget it. After the coup in the way back to Iran, king in his meeting with US ambassador said: “I owe my reign to God and to you”. Ones who picked up Zahedi were also American. Therefore, their role in coup is undeniable.
- Everybody knows that US was involving in the coup, so why they evade to reveal the documents about the coup and said that the documents have been burned?
I do not think that the documents were burned. Anyway, these documents exhibit that US has lost its prestige during that event. Exactly like when they lost their prestige during Hiroshima case.
- What was the opinion of Dr. Mosaddegh after the coup about all that happened?
He was not upset about himself at all, but was really upset about what had happened to the people and country and in this way he suffered a lot. Later on, he was arrested.
- During the house arrest did The National Front have their meetings?
Yes, meeting were held. During the whole time that Dr. Mosaddegh was arrested The National Front had meetings.
- What was his opinion about The National Front’s meetings during his arrest?
He said: “Because I am out of Tehran and do not know much about Tehran’s news I won’t interfere in The National Front’s works”. Later on, those people who were members of the congress or were not been chosen for the congress were sending him some critical letters about The National Front and he was swamped because of them. Then, Dr. Mosaddegh sent some letters to The National Front which discussed that he was dissatisfied with the works of The National Front members in the congress. These letters repeated several time until he finally said that we did not have any arguments with anyone and resigned from being the head of The National Front, and after that other members of the council also resigned.
- Do you think Dr. Mosaddegh’s objections to The National Front based on some letters from congress was fair?
No, I think if It is possible to make another criticism against Dr. Mosaddegh is that: “As the one who had said would not interfere in The National Front’s works, after receiving some one-sided letters how were he forced to write such a critical letter to The National Front and offend all the men who had tried a lot for The National Front in the way that they all resigned and The National Front was closed”. This criticism about Mr. Mosaddegh is accepted.
- Was the coup only in the Capital or its waves also effected all the country?
No, it did not affect whole the country a lot. Only in Kerman some events happened because of presence of Moaffar Baghaei who was one of Dr. Mosaddegh’s opponents. One of the best advocates of Dr. Mosaddegh and the National Movement and the loyal officer of Dr. Mosaddegh, Major Sakhaei was killed in a heinous way there. I can say whatever Dr. Baghaei wanted to do with Dr. Mosaddegh but was not able, did in killing Major Sakhaei. After the news about killing Major Sakhaei reached Tehran, the hate of Mosaddegh’s advocates to Dr. bahgaei increased. In Isfahan’s radio also Arham Sadr until one day after the coup just announced about Dr. Mosaddegh’s government and did not hand over the radio, but finally they took the radio from him by force.
- How events on 1953 affected the Iran’s literature? Were the art and culture society of Iran impressed by those events?
Some people were impressed but I did notsee something significant from those impressions. However, with some poetries in a way that the government did not understand some criticism were made and an enormous frustration was seen between the artists even after some years after that event.
- How was the situation for the Press at that time? Anything about this was published?
Just “Khandaniha Magazine” published some indirect articles about it but not the others.
- How was the approach of The National Front during the revolution?
In that time The National Front were always with people. Dr. Sanjabi in a speech before going to Paris said: “we don’t want a dictator king”. After that, this movement arose in The National Front and they were always next to the people. Even when Imam Khomeini was giving declarations for uprising, The National Front was one of the first uprising groups.
- What was the consequences of the coup?
Many people were upset about it. Wishes and dreams of lots of those people were destroyed by the coup and they all hoped that again someone like Mosaddegh would be found and work for the best of people, because of that the coup had very dreadful consequences. King who had been trying to pretend as a democrat, during that time had become a dictator and his dictatorship damaged the country a lot.
- Like what damages?
All the reformations were affected. Just only what the king was commanding was the criterion and government decisions were effectless. All the people who were working in the government did not accept the responsibilities and refused personal commands of the king. The way for making reformations was closed. I don’t say that no reformation was done at that time, but during the 37 years of king’s reign the reformations did not have any results. All the doors were closed, all the people were stifled, The National Front and other groups were closed and many of their members were imprisoned. Therefore, the country was damaged a lot.
-You can find the original Persian article here.