Coup in Mashhad

A cut from memoirs of Jalaleddin Farsi

Selected by Faezeh Sasanikhah
Translated by M. B. Khoshnevisan


On 28th of Mordad 1332 (August 19, 1953) in Mashhad, two light tanks with a group of mobs and non-commissioned officers raided the streets of the city. Some of them looted some shops and theatres that had refused to play the Shahshahi or imperial anthem in the last two nights upon the order of the coup plotters. A bookshop, and a stylish shoemaker, belonging to Akhlaqi, were among them. Akhlaqi was a member of Tudeh Party. The looters were selling valuable books and the theatre seats on the street so they could steal something again. Ordinary people were walking on the sidewalk, surprised but not very affected and sad. Many of them were similar to the people of Kufa in the incident of Karbala. Among the supporters of the coup who poured into the streets were some bully land owners - who had made a fortune from renting the properties of the holy shrine of Imam Reza (PBUH). There were also Qassem Tabrizi the knife-wielder, Amir Mujahidi - a retired officer who later formed a group called the Fedaiyan or devotees of the Shah and became the manager of Radio Mashhad, and also a few well-known Baha'is, some constables, and officers of the Second Department of the Army were recognizable. When the night came, I went to Mr. Kazem Ahmadzadeh's house. He had written a short notice in which people were invited to resist the coup plotters. He asked me to handwrite it and distribute a few thousand copies of it throughout the city. It turned out that several other people were also involved in this. He asked me about those who might cooperate in writing and distributing and forming resistance nuclei. I said: "Perhaps it is possible to use members of the Iranian People Association." The next day, I went to the house of Tehrani, the provincial official of association. It turned out that he had escaped. I did not find his name or address later. In the next meeting with Engineer Ahmadzadeh, considering the news that came from Tehran and other cities, which indicated the consolidation of the coup, it was seen as expedient not to do anything that was not calculated.

And in Tehran

Two days later, I left for Tehran under the pretext of participating in the university entrance exam, Konkoor. The honorable and free people of Tehran were sad and amazed. Gangs of mobs, police, officers of the second department of the army, and some corrupt and bribe-taking rank and file detectives, a group from Shahr-e Now (a notorious place), and some owners and members of sports clubs were cheering or dancing. Sha'aban Bimokh was riding a white open-top Buick with his bunch of hooligans while displaying a Colt in his hand and chanting "Long Live the Shah". In front of the bazar in Tehran, he was cursing the respected bazaris, that you were the supporters of Mossadegh! A group of prostitutes led by Malakeh Etzadi - one of Shah's Fadaians or devotees - was moving in the city. Shahpur Dowlatshahi - known as Shapur Khiki or puffy - accompanied them.

In Sabzeh Maidan Square, I heard the cry of a newsman announcing the telegram of a great cleric to the Shah in Rome. A preacher preached to the people on the radio and tried very hard to prove that the people of Tehran did not agree with Dr. Mossadegh at all and were supporters of the Shah and coup plotters. He measured the length and width of Baharestan Square and subtracted the area of the flowerbeds and floats from it to calculate its capacity for the crowd that gathered in this square a few days ago, namely 25th of Mordad (August 16), the day of the defeat of the first American-British coup and the Shah's flight abroad, and to obtain the number of supporters of the national movement and government and opponents of the court and the foreign backed monarchy. In proving the necessity and legitimacy of the Pahlavi monarchy, he also claimed that even a bee has a queen, so what about humans![1]



[1] Source: Farsi, Jalaleddin, Dark angles, Tehran, Hadith Publications, 1373 (1994), p. 15.



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