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A Profile in Courage: Dr. Mohammad Mossadegh in Military Court

Translated from the Persian by Mahmoud Sadre. Foreword by Ervand Abrahamian.

Availability: Forthcoming
Published: 2019
Page #: xxxvi + 130
Size: 5.5 x 8.5
ISBN: 978-1-56859-378-4
appendix, bibliography, notes

Quick Overview

Hassan Sadr, the author of previously unpublished notes on Dr. Mossadegh, is historically important for a number of reasons. He was Dr. Mossadegh’s personal lawyer at various times; represented the country at the International Court of the Hague during the height of the oil nationalization crisis; and he counseled Dr. Mossadegh at the High Appeals Court immediately after the 1953 coup and the infamous “trial” in the rigged military tribunal. Sadr’s notes are important primary sources for understanding Dr. Mossadegh’s thinking—especially about Iranian history, the origins of the oil nationalization campaign, his rejections of the various so-called “compromises” offered by the West, particularly the World Bank, and finally his detailed criticism of the 1954 Oil Consortium Agreement which he dismissed as “negating” the oil nationalization law. These notes not only reflect Mossadegh’s thinking but also reveal much of the behind-the-scenes goings on during the court trials—the stringent restrictions put on defense lawyers as well as the prosecutors’ failed attempts to sow dissension between Mossadegh and his former ministers. Some of this information has not been revealed before.

Sadr was important in his own right. In 1943 he launched a weekly named Qiyam-e Iran (Iran’s Uprising) which continued to appear until 1954 when it was closed down because of its opposition to the Consortium Agreement. Sadr was not only a staunch Mossadegh supporter, but at various times enjoyed access to Ayatollah Kashani, General Zahedi, and the Tudeh Party. What is more, in the highly contested 17th Majles elections in 1952, he stood as a pro-National Front candidate in Isfahan. The government stopped the voting, including in Isfahan, once enough deputies had been elected to form a parliamentary quorum on the grounds of increasing violence and blatant intervention by the military, the royal court, and, “foreign powers.” The recent release of US State Department documents reveal for the first time that the CIA played a significant role in these elections—by financing newspapers and candidates. Al-though the documents do not reveal names, one can be sure Hassan Sadr was not one of them. (US State Department, Foreign Relations of the United States, 1952-54, Iran, 1951-54 (Government Printing House: Washington, DC, 2017).

author

Hassan Sadr

Hassan Sadr was born in 1907 in Isfahan and died in 1985 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. His older brother, Hossein, was a scholar of theology and an active opponent of the regime. Inspired by him, Hassan pursued higher education and received his law degree from Tehran University in 1933. Upon completing his mandatory military service, he joined the Ministry of Justice as a young prosecutor. He left his government job and began a private law practice in Tehran. Shortly afterwards he founded Qiyam-e Iran, a left-leaning newspaper that frequently landed him in jail, including eight months in detention following the attempted assassination of the Shah in 1949. On the political scene, Qiyam-e Iran continued to strongly support both Mossadegh and, as a founding member, the National Front. As a recognized lawyer, public speaker, and journalist, Sadr was Mossadegh’s choice for preparing Iran’s legal response to the British government’s complaint to the World Court regarding Iran’s nationalization of its oil industry. After the 1953 coup, once again, Hassan Sadr affirmed his commitment to his political beliefs by representing Dr. Mossadegh as his defense lawyer. He remained faithful to him until his death in 1985. Hassan Sadr wrote several books. The first, Hoghough-e zan dar Islam va Oroopa, was an academic comparative study of women’s rights in Islam and Europe. It was published in 1941 and translated into English in 2013. His second book, Mard-e naamoutanaahi Ali ibn Abi Talib alayh al-salam, was a refreshing biography of Ali, the “perfect man.” Published in 1957, the book demonstrated a deep appreciation of early Shiism. In 1958 it was awarded the Publishers Association of Iran’s prize, a cash award that he donated for the construction of an elementary school. His third book, al-Jazaayir va mardaan-e moujaahid [Algeria and the mujahideen], published in 1963, was intended to show that the struggle for North African independence was a continuation of the fight to end colonialism.

Foreword
Ervand Abrahamian

Translator’s Introduction

Author’s Preamble

Timeline

Part I
The Oil Nationalization’s Legal Challenges

Part II
High Court of Appeals

Part III
Mossadegh’s Handwritten Testimony

Part IV
Epilogue

Illustrations

Appendix

Select Bibliography

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