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155. Telegram From the Embassy in Iran to the Department of State1

3306. 1. Available information indicates Mosadeq Government being subjected to opposition forces whose lines have not (repeat not) yet hardened. National movement organization continues disintegrate. Such pressure is having adverse effect upon health Prime Minister and upon his relations with associates, several of whom privately assert change of government will take place. Talk again reviving among Prime Minister’s opponents as to type of successor regime which it assumes Shah would support. This talk assumes such government would be able handle any int disturbances.

2. Embassy and CAS sources indicate decline in Mosadeq’s mental stability. He apparently depressed by growing sense of frustration and at times has evidenced paranoid distrust of everyone, including even his closest advisers. Some of closest associates admit Prime Minister increasingly irrational.

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3. Both Police Chief Afshartus and Deputy Prime Minister Kazemi reliably reported to have expressed private belief that change of government would take place “within few weeks”. Source close to Deputy Hasibi, member pro-Mosadeq Iran Party, alleged even Hasibi had stated “Mosadeq must go”. According to one reliable source Prime Minister collecting documentary evidence to prove that some failures of his government were due to bad counsel given by his closest advisers. Kashani reported by press to have said in February 16 meeting of deputies that government was failing to improve conditions in country but “situation will change and all will be well again”. Other factors indicate progressive weakening of Mosadeq’s political position. Disintegration national movement coalition seems to be accelerating (Embtels 3074,2 February 7; 3233,3 February 17; 3258,4 February 18; 3271,5 February 19).

As usual, in period of apparent declining fortunes of Prime Minister, talk and maneuvers have begun looking toward eventual successor. Political circles beginning privately allege Shah would welcome and support change. Similarly, it appears that opposition elements to Mosadeq are being drawn into Kashani’s orbit to achieve common purpose. Some of these elements have no basic sympathy for Kashani but gather around him as most effective symbol in fight against Mosadeq. Perennial candidates Ali Mansur and General Zahedi are once more being talked about and there are varied suggestions of types coalition government which would achieve greatest future support and which would be capable handling int disturbances, such as current Bakhtiari tribal uprising.

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5. Observers within and without Embassy comment that present Iran atmosphere is one of growing expectancy that unknown political event in not (repeat not) too distant future will either ease political position of Mosadeq Government or create serious open threat to its continuance.

6. If oil talks break down Mosadeq may be able exploit his rejection of proposals to retrieve his position temporarily. It seems to us just now however that failure of conversations may ultimately strengthen those heterogeneous forces opposed to him.

Henderson
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1950–1954, 788.00/2–2053. Secret; Security Information. Repeated to London and pouched to Moscow, Kabul, Karachi, Baghdad, Ankara, Cairo, Amman, Beirut, Rome, Dhahran, Isfahan, Tabriz, and Meshed. Received at 12:06 p.m.
  2. Telegram 3074 from Tehran, February 7, reported on Dr. Seyid Ali Shayegan’s conversation with Melbourne. Shayegan, as the Mosadeq government’s leader in the Majlis, confirmed that the National Front, as previously understood, no longer existed. In fact, the government no longer termed itself a “National Front” government. “According Dr. Shayegan, current definition of government is nationalist movement embodied in Dr. Mosadeq and his friends.” Shayegan blamed this development on the “personal ambitions” of Kashani, Baqai, and Maki. Nevertheless, “Shayegan believed that fraction as result new situation had gained materially in efficiency and vitality, since disruptive intrigues within it would now cease.” (Ibid., 788.00/2–653)
  3. Telegram 3233 from Tehran, February 17, reported on the resignation of 17 parliamentary members from the Iran Party to form a “splinter party called Association for Liberty of Iranian People.” (Ibid., 788.00/2–1753)
  4. In telegram 3258 from Tehran, February 18, Henderson discussed the situation of the National Front in the Majlis. “Only one (Shayegan) of 9 nationalist deputies who sponsored oil nationalization in 16 Majlis remains in nationalist movement fraction supporting Mosadeq. Approximately half remaining members nationalist movement fraction openly demonstrated attachment to Prime Minister only after fall Qavam and formation second Mosadeq Government.” (Ibid., 788.00/2–1853)
  5. Telegram 3271 from Tehran, February 19, reported on the split in the Iran Party. (Ibid., 788.00/2–1953)