History I Knew Mohammed Mossadegh and…
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s challenge to debate President Bush in the U.N. actually has precedent.
In fact, Ahmadinejad’s ploy is likely to resonate with Iranians because the precedent harks back to a watershed moment in Iranian history. Folk hero Iranian president Mohammad Mossadegh (1950-1953) took his case against the United Kingdom to the U.N. where he debated the U.K.’s foreign minister. Mossadegh became an international celebrity on his trip to NYC when he argued in the U.N. that the British did not have any right to Iranian oil profits, and that the profit sharing agreement had been coerced by U.K. imperialism. Mossedegh became an Iranian superstar for eventually ridding Iran’s oil industry of British control. (He also landed on Time magazine’s cover in January 1951 as 1950’s Man of the Year.
Mossedegh was ousted in a now infamous CIA coup in 1953 that restored the pro-Western Shah to power. The coup—and the brutally repressive Shah’s reign of power—came back to haunt the U.S. in 1979 when the Iranian students who took hostages at the U.S. embassy cited the CIA coup and America’s support for the Shah as their central grievance against the U.S. Ironically, the hostage crisis netted Iran its second Time magazine Man of the Year cover when the students’ inspiration, the new revolutionary leader of Iran, Ayatullah Khomeini, got 1979’s honor.)
Ahmadinejad is cleverly mining the Iranian cerebral cortex in his latest populist stunt.
Having said all that: Mossedegh was a cool lefty secularist nationalist who foreshadowed the smart Third World Power movements of the 50s, 60s (and badly warped 70s).
Ahmadinejad is a right wing machismo Pat Buchanan fascist whose rants hark back to the 14th Century … and who doesn’t deserve to be president of such a beautiful country.