Mossadegh was born on May 19, 1882. His father, Hedayat Ashtiani, was the Finance
Minister under King Naser al-Din Qajar, and his mother was a granddaughter of the Crown
Prince Abbas Mirza.
After the Constitutional
Revolution of 1906, Mossadegh was elected from Isfehan to the first Parliament, but since
he was under the age of 30, he refused his position as a Parliament member.
When Mohammad Ali Shah
bombarded the first Parliament, and Liberals were either executed or imprisoned, Mossadegh
spent a while in concealment. Iin 1909 he set out for France through Russia, and he
studied at the Political Science Institute of Paris for two years. Due to his
illness, Mossadegh was forced to return to Iran, but after 5 months he traveled to
Switzerland where he continued his education at the Neuchatel law school. He
obtained his Ph.D in law and his attorney permit in 1913.
In 1914 he returned to Iran and began his
career at the Political Science Institute of Tehran, as a professor. During this
time, Mossadegh authored two books, "Civil Legal Procedure," and
the "Capitulation" .
In 1917, Mossadegh became the deputy
Finance Minister and tried his best to put a definite end to corruption inside the
|When the cabinet
of Vosough al-Doleh signed the agreement of 1919 with the British government, Mossadegh
strongly criticized the agreement and left the country for Europe. There he informed the
western societies about this agreement which would have made Iran a British colony.
To sign the agreement, Vosugh received £131,000 as bribe for himself and his Foreign and
few months later, public pressure forced Vosough out of office, and Moshir al-Doleh became
Prime Minister. The new Premier invited Dr. Mossadegh to join the cabinet as Minister of
In his return to Iran from the Persian
Gulf, due to the request of the people of Shiraz, he accepted the governorship of the Fars
province until the coup d'etat of 1921. There, too, he took effective steps towards the
security of the people.
When the British backed coup of Seyed Zia
and Reza Khan took place in 1921, Mossadegh was one of the few Iranian politicians who
questioned the legitimacy of the coup government, and resigned his post as the governor of
Fars. After his abdication, on his way to Tehran, the Bakhtiari tribe invited
Mossadegh to be their guest. He lived there until the Zia government collapsed after 100
After Zia's fall, Ghavam al-Saltaneh
became the new Premier and Dr. Mossadegh was posted as the Finance Minister with special
After the fall of Ghavam's government, and
Moshir becoming the premier once again, Mossadegh was invited to become the governor of
the Azerbaijan province. He accepted the post provided that full authority over the
province's armed forces is given to him. At the end ,however, due to the provincial army
commander's disobedience, who got his orders from Reza Khan (the War Minister), Mossadegh
resigned and returned to Tehran.
In May 1923, Mossadegh became the Foreign
Minister of Moshir's cabinet, and strongly opposed the British government
demanding 2 million Pounds from Iran, for the creation of the Iranian southern
police (which protected Britain's interests!.)
After Moshir's resignation, Reza Khan
(Commander of the Armed Forces), took office as Prime Minister.
Dr. Mossadegh and President Truman in Washington D.C
was elected to the Parliament from Tehran, and it was during this period that the Qajar
dynasty was overthrown and Reza khan declared himself the King of Iran. Mossadegh
strongly opposed this and when the sixth Majlis ended, and Reza Khan became the absolute
dictator of Iran, Mossadegh was forced to stay at home for many years. During the
last years of Reza Shah's reign, when most of the political figures had either died or
surrendered to the Pahlavi regime, Mossadegh was arrested and exiled for several months,
and was finally sent back to his Ahmad Abad country estate and remained under house
occupation of Iran by the British and Russian armies in 1941, Reza Shah was ousted and
exiled to South Africa where he died a couple of years later.
In the elections of the 14th Majlis
(Parliament), Dr. Mossadegh was surprisingly honored by the nation and elected as the
first deputy from the Capital.
In the 15th Majlis elections, because of
the election rigging, Mossadegh did not get the chance to enter the Parliament, so the
British could lobby the passage of the 1933 oil agreement signed by the ex-Shah, with the
new cabinet, and, therefore, plunder the Iranian oil for another 60 years. With the public
pressure mounting, the wish of the British government could not come true, and the term of
the 15th Majlis ended. But the Shah, at the request of the British, formed a Constituent
Assembly, and extended his powers as a constitutional monarch. It was also during
this period that, Mossadegh and his companions formed the Jebhe Melli (National
Front) of Iran, which played a great role in nationalizing the Iranian oil industry.
Despite all the interference and frauds of
the Shah during the 16th Majlis elections, the fake ballot boxes were announced expired,
and the Royal Court minister was assassinated. In the second round of the elections,
Mossadegh and a group of his companions were elected. It was this Parliament that approved
the nationalization of the Iranian oil industry. A while later, the Majlis elected
Mossadegh as the new Prime Minister.
When Mossadegh became Premier in 1951, the
first thing he did after introducing his cabinet, was the enforcement of the Oil
Following the British law suit against
Iran and taking it up in the United Nations Security Council, Dr. Mossadegh traveled to
New York to defend Iran's rights. Then he went to the Netherlands to defend Iran at
the Hague, which voted in favor of Iran in its huge international legal encounter with
England. On his way back home, Mossadegh also paid a visit to Egypt where he was
Dr. Mossadegh and His Supporters in Front of the Majlis
the Defense Ministry (formerly War Ministry), Mossadegh succeeded in purging the army from
corrupt officers, and this angered the Royal Court a lot.
In March of 1953, the Royal Court decided to carry
out a conspiracy against Dr. Mossadegh. On the first day of March, it was plotted,
the Shah would leave for Europe pretending that Mossadegh forced him to do so. On the
other hand, some hooligans and expelled army officers would gather in front of the Royal
Palace to prevent the Shah's departure and attack and kill Mossadegh when he was coming
out of there. The plan fell flat when Mossadegh was informed in advance and escaped the
General Afshar-Toos, the loyal police
chief of Mossadegh's government, was brutally murdered by the Royal Court's agents and the
Disputes between the Parliament and the
cabinet increased, and following the Majlis member's abstractions Mossadegh declared a
national referendum to let the people choose between dissolving of the Parliament, or
cabinet's resignation. In this plebiscite,( criticized by many, because of the
separation of the Yes and No ballot boxes, and not being held at the same time
nationwide), the majority voted against Majlis. In August 1953, therefore, the Parliament
was officially dissolved.
On August 16, 1953, in an American-British
orchestrated conspiracy, the Shah dismissed Dr. Mossadegh. The chief of the Royal
Guards served Mossadegh with the formal dismissal notice. He was also ordered to
occupy the house by the Royal troops as he was ordered to. But when soldiers reached the
Mossadegh's house, Mossadegh's guards immediately arrested the Royal Guard's chief and his
troops. The coup was publicized and the Shah fled to Italy.
On 17th and 18th of August, people took to
the streets in support of Mossadegh and the statues of the Shah and his father pulled down
all over the country.
On August 19th, the secret services of the
U.S and Britain (CIA - MI6), engineered a more precise and expensive coup and this
time succeeded in overthrowing Mossadegh's government. On this tragic day,
after bribing some people from different walks of life, those behind the coup managed to
pull a large number of hooligans into the streets to rally against the national government
of Dr. Mossadegh. Because of the police chief treachery, the mob reached the Prime
Minister's residence and after hours of bombarding it and fighting a bloody battle with
the small group of Mossadegh's loyal guards, they entered the house and after plundering
it, they burned it down. Mossadegh and his companions used a ladder to escape and
took refuge inside the neighbor's house. Some of Mossadegh's previous companions were
among the coup plotters.
day, Dr. Mossadegh and his loyal companions surrendered themselves to the coup Prime
Minister, General Zahedi. A few days latter, the Shah returned to Iran from Italy,
and began his 25 years of despotic reign.
During his trial in a military court, Dr. Mossadegh
disclosed the secrets of the two coups against his government. He was sentenced to
three years imprisonment after which he, now 74, was transferred to his country house in
Ahmad Abad, and lived there under house arrest until his death. On March 4, 1967,
Dr. Mossadegh died of cancer at the age of 84. His body was buried in one of the rooms of
his residence. He was survived by 2 sons and 3 daughters.
Dr. Mossadegh During His Trial
Dr. Mossadegh's Tomb
in Ahmad Abad