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Iranian of the century

 Write for The Iranian

Mohammad Mossadegh
Internet survey

The highest votes (42%) in The Iranian survey went to the late Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh, leaving little doubt who the general public considers the most significant personality of the 20th century. See comments from voters below. Also see photo feature on Mossadegh here.

Back to the Iranian of the century main index.

- All at once
- I remember
- Giving us control
- Did not sell-out

- Laid the ground
- Continuation
- Believed in people
- Louder than words
- Embodies aspirations
- Peaceful resistance
- Honorable life

- Most influencial
- Man who said no
- Biggest patriot

- Did the most
- Really for people
- Democratic-minded
- Fought for Iran
- Man of the year
- True revolutionary

- Never appreciated
- Standing up
- No doubt

- Absolute democracy
- Consistency
- Magnificient vision
- Never forget
- Made us proud
- Paved the way
- Influenced many
- Modern values
- Despite failings
- Underestimaged powers
- Democratic, humble
- Visionary
- Challenged colonialists
- Limited Shah's powers
- First nationalist
- Not a fanatic
- What he started
- Dark century
- Defeated colonialism
- Fighter
- Decide for ourselves
- Only democracy
- Leadership
- Effects still felt
- Great man
- Devotion
- Hero
- Independence
- Unswerving
- Look around
- Impact

- Untiring efforts

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All at once

* For showing that it is possible to be modern, democratic and Iranian all at once. A. Sardar

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I remember

* I remember how proud the Iranians were for nationalizing the Anglo-Iranian oil company under the leadership of Dr. Mossaddegh. In a plebiscite the majority sided with Dr. Mossaddegh and condemned Mohammad Reza Shah's policies and unconstitutional actions. I remember how much we loved Dr. Mossaddegh and appreciated his efforts on behalf of all of us . We went in front of the Majlis to protest the Shah's unconstitutional actions against Dr. Mossaddegh in spite of threats against our lives. I remember when two of our fellow students lost their lives due to penetration of bayonets through their skulls. This was done by the order of the Shah and his cronies. I remember how angry we became and would not leave. I remeber when the Shah fled due to the heroic actions of Dr. Mossaddegh and his fellow citizens. I remember when the American CIA toppled the government of Dr. Mossaddegh by a coup d'etat. Then the Shah returned, jailed, tortured and killed many dissidents through agents who were trained by the CIA and the Israeli Mossad. Unfortunately, we were caught offguard or else we would have organized and fought them the same way we made the Shah flee by using non-violent means. But alas the U.S. changed Iran's course of history from democracy to dictatorship. Because Dr. Mossaddegh let us taste democracy, albeit only for a brief period, and went to jail instead of succumbing to the Shah and his allies, I nominate him for the title of the Iranian of the century. Parviz N. Soltanpour

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Louder than words

* He was one of the few who seemed to truly care about the PEOPLE of Iran and not a particular political party or sect. His actions spoke louder than words and the people listened. S. Sadeghi

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Giving us control

* The only reason Iran has whatever little it has today is Dr. Mossadegh. He is responsible for getting us what truly belongs to the people of Iran. Getting us the ultimate control of our natural resources. Payman Khanlari

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Did not sell-out

* He is and was the only Iranian politician in recent history who loved his country and his people after the Constitutional revoluion. Mossadegh did not sell his country to England like Reza Shah and like his son to the U.S. and like Khomeini to so-called God or Heaven or like Kianouri to Big Brother [Soviet Union] or like Masoud Rajavi to Iraq. Massey Alamdari

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Laid the ground

* Although, it could be argued that the late Ayatollah Khomeini has had the most impact on the lives of every Iranian today, my choice on the "Iranian of the century" falls for Dr. Mohammad Mossadegh. I believe that his unrivaled persistence, and success in nationalizing the Iranian oil industry laid the ground for the subsequent political and economical course of the nation. It was, after all, because of the results of his efforts that the late Shah was able to take lead OPEC and bring the "golden" years to the economy of Iran -- the years that forced too many indigestible cultural changes (without political reforms), finally leading to dissatisfaction and choice for the extreme option: a revolution led by Ayatollah Khomeini. Dr. Mossadegh's impression on the lives of us Iranians living abroad may at first not be so apparent; but considered carefully, it may be agreed that we are mostly the youths of those "golden" years who left the country in order to study abroad. Had Iran not had the oil industry in her possession, you and I would probably be experiencing a different fate. God bless his soul. Massoud Novin Farahbakhsh

Dark century

* This was a dark century in Iranian history. We achieved nothing, begun the century under ruthless Qajars and ended off with the self-centerd mollas.The only highlight of this sad century should be Mossadegh's fight against the Shah and the British. No one else even deserves mentioning. Alex

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* He was a true patriot who loved Iran with passion and was not scared to fight British imperialism and nationalize the Iranian oil industry. This action had a profound influence on all Iranians who were humiliated by the foreign forces for centuries. He gave them their pride back. The Iranian revolution 20 years ago, regardless of the result, was a continuation of Mossadegh's fight against the powers who continud to humiliate this great nation.

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Defeated colonialism

* Because he was the only one in the Iranian century that defeated colonialism without violence. Hasheminia

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Biggest patriot

* He was by far the biggest Iranian patriot of all the politicians we have ever had and did for the country what no one ever did for Iran. Javid V.

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* From where I sit, it is not easy to come up with anyone who is truly outstanding. Be that as it may, my pick would be Mossadegh, because he was honest, brave, unselfish, and had a vision for the country which went beyond the politics of the time and the unfortunate outside forces. Parviz Pirooz

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Did the most

* He did more for Iran during his short-lived service that any other individual during their lifetime. Reza Mirkhani

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What he started

* Dr. Mossadegh showed that by patriotic and humane values even the most evil of empries and their lackeys can be defeated. It was, however, a pitty that the Iranian people did not get the chance to enjoy their victory for long since a group of traitors who received orders from foreign powers sold the prosperity and the well-being of a nation for pitiful personal gain and all in the name of patriotism and loyalty to the pupprt monarchy. Mossadegh will always be remembered as a hero and his enemies will always have the curse of a nation upon their name. I have no doubt that one day what he started will eventually bear fruit and the Iranian people would not be the victims of any traitor or murderous mollas. Mehrdad Pishehgar

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Really for people

* Because he was the only Iranian prime minister (leader) chosen by the people, and he was the only ruling leader who really thought of people's interests before his own. Mahmood Amiry-Moghadam

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Paved the way

* Paved the way for any future thoughts and movements for independence and freedom in Iran. Abbas Hessabi

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Made us proud

* I can not think of any other man in recent history of Iran who has a place comparable to this unique man. Even though his efforts were not completely successful and never freed Iran from her enemies and dark forces, he made every Iranian proud. He was a man like Allende of Chile -- both were victims of their affections and fairness towards their enemies. Reza Oskouie

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Democratic, educated, humble

* Mossadegh was democratic, educated, humble, and hard working with a genuine interest in Iran and its future. Kevin Khadivi

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First nationalist

* He was the first true nationalist in the 20th Century who believed enough in the Iranian people to try to go the independent route (separate from the superpwers). Mark Amin

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Believed in people

* Dr. Mohammad Mossadegh fwas the first and only Iranian leader to belive in the people and their ability to make political decisions that would affect their lives. Before and after Dr. Mossadegh our ruling officials have always considered the public to be politically immature and have determined that they know what is best for the people. From kings to today's supreme leaders, our leaders have always acted like qayyems (guardians). Mohamad Dilmagani

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* The Iranian of the century should be a person, who contributed the most to progress and the national well being of the people. Unfortunately due to a long history of autocratic and relegious dictatorship there are very few that could become a candidate for the Iranian of the century. But I think Dr. Mossadegh would be the best. Mr. Mossadegh was a nationalist and a democratic-minded person who mobilized the people without appealling to the feudal and extremely backward Islamic sentiments of the masses. He was an educated man, who was aware of the stupefying and suffocating effect of the Islamic Shia teachings on the masses. So, in a country gripped with horrifying religious backwardness, Mossadegh fought against the biggest world power of the time, Britain, and nationalized the Iranian oil industry. Just comparing what Mossadegh achieved in a couple of years with what the Islamic regime has done in 20 years, makes Mossadegh the best candidate as an Iranian of the century.

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Influenced many generations

* Mossadegh has influenced many generations of Iranians and his ideals of democracy and independence are still insiring the new generation. Dana Jalali

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Challenged colonialists

* One of the first -- if not the first -- Third World leaders to challenge the legitimacy of the rights and contracts of colonial powers. Sia Vossoughi

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Man who said no

* I believe without any doubt, the title of the Iranian of the century should go to Dr. Mohammad Mossadegh. He was the man who said no to British and American imperialism, he was an inspiration not only to the Iranian masses but also throughout the Middle East. I was not born at the time of the CIA-sponsored coup against this great man but reading about him and talking to his friends and enemies, I came to the conclusion that Mossadegh lived and died for Iran. Kamran Mofrad

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Fought for Iran

* Dr. Mohammad Mossadegh was a true Iranian nationalist who was highly educated at a time when not too many people were, and he fought for Iran in different fronts all his life. His famous defense of Iran in the international court at The Haig is something that every Iranian must be proud of. Mohammad Dehghanpisheh

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Most influencial

* Mossadegh is the first and the most influencial politician in the process of democratization of Iran. He is the most remembered person in Iranian minds. Sourena Mohammadi

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Man of the year

* The man who "Oiled the Wheels of Chaos" (as Time Magazine stated when he made Man of the Year!): Dr. Mossadegh. Niloofar Nouri

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True revolutionary

* Because he was the only man who had the interest of the Iranian people in mind and nothing else in whatever he did. He was the true revolutionary. Hamid Musavi

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Limited Shah's powers

* The true Iranian of the century was Dr. Mossadegh who made the nationalization of oil possible. Among his other great efforts was the limitation of the Shah's power and return to constitutional monarchy. Amin Ashrafzadeh

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Never appreciated

* We Iranians have never appreciated the people who wanted to do the right thing for Iran. We have always forgotten who we are and where we are going. this is why we are where we are today. Tina Abnoosi

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Embodies aspirations

* Dr. Mossadegh embodies the genuine aspirations of the Iranian people for progress, justice and democracy. The struggle to achieve these justified goals has so deeply traumatized the history of Iran during the last one hundred years. His ideals, which are still overdue to be implemented in the Iran of today, were rooted in the Iranian psyche, which is a mixture of care for humanity, social justice and peace for all mankind. These aims were also the slogans of the "Islamic Revolution", even though we all know how religious hypocrisy and acting against the Iranian nationalism can inflict so much harm to an ancient nation in a decade or so. I believe Mossadegh's name is etched on the mind of his supporters and opponents alike. The former should continue to teach their children who he was and what he stood for and work hard to realize his dreams, the latter must recognize the fact that the Iranian patriots are a formidable force and should avoid locking horns with them. Ahmad Vahdat-Khah

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Modern values

* He represents all the cultural and traditional values we should endeavor to preserve, whilst teaching us the modern values we require to learn for surviving the coming era. Vahid Pourghadiri

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Despite failings

* Although he had failings as a politician and some of those failings caused his demise, he was a true patriot and a great example of type of a man all Iranians aspire to. Behrooz Ataee

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Despite failings

* He is the one man who made a real difference in the iranian politics, a man who presents the secular, national and liberal views in a country where the domination of dictatorship and religion has had a long history. Jay Khodayari

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Not a fanatic

* 1: Mossadegh placed Iran's name on the pages of history one more time. 2: He was the first representative of a new wave of patriots and nationalists followed by Naser of Egypt and Palestinian movements, etc. 3: He was an independent thinker who could struggle against corruption of rightist elites without being trapped in leftist dogmatism of the time. 4: Despite the atmosphere of his time, he did not fall into trap of fanaticism to justify his anti-imperialistic thoughts and independence. 5: He was a humanist as well as a politician. 6: He helped increase political awareness beyond the semi-religious cultural awakening of the constitutional movement. 7: Ironically, he was a pragmatist who did the most unpragmatic thing: to struggle against the most powerful force of his time -- British imperialism -- relying on a minority of intellectuals. It was a true heroic task. Forouza Pourki

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Standing up

* For standing up for Iranian constitution and democracy.

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Underestimaged powers

* No politician is perfect, and Dr. Mossadegh was no exception. However his only mistake was to underestimate the power of foreign governments in shaping events in Iran. If Iran ever had a true politician, Mossadegh was the one. He could have been the father of a modern Iran, a country which would have been well out of the Third World league by now. Mosasdegh was a perfect nationalist, yet also a visionary. In a nation among where the heart has always ruled the head, Mossadegh had a cool head -- a tactician of the type Iran has not seen since. Ahmad Sadjadian

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* For his integral part in nationalizing Iranian oil, fighting for Iranian independence, freedom and democracy. Bahman Towfighi

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Peaceful resistance

* Through his peaceful resistance and Ghandi-like revolution, Dr. Mossadegh took a stand for Iran's nationality, economic stability, freedom and democracy. Mossadegh without shedding a drop of blood, kept the multi-ethnic region in peace and united as Iran. He stood up against British petroluem conglomerates and took back Iran's vast oil reserves out of British control and nationalized it. Not only cutting out the British agents, but protecting it from the intrusion of the ruling class and other special interest groups. He stood his ground for a democratic system of government and furthered the cause of people electing their own representatives. When the end came, he urged everybody not to get involved in the fever of violence, or to take sides and shed blood. He stood strong through his mock trial and used that tribune to inform, educate, and change the face of politics, and governship in Iran forever. Ali Chegini

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Decide for ourselves

* A true Iranian who believed in us as people who can decide for ourselves. God bless his soul. Mani V.

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Only democracy

* Mossadegh's government was the only attempt at democracy in Iran during the century and over the entire history of the country.

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* Because of his successful and peaceful leadership of Iranians toward the freedom. Farhad

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Effects still felt

* I was not alive when Iranian oil was nationalized. But the effects of his moves were felt by me and are still felt by Iranians and non-Iranians. Because of him, I believe, for the first time a Third World country asked for fair compensation of its natural resources. Amin Pashapour

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Great man

* He was a great man who started a sacred struggle against imperialism. Mahmoud Reza Zare

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* For his undying devotion to the ideals of the Iranian nation, and his single mindedness in holding those ideals above all other considerations. Roohash Shaad. Tony Noroozi

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* He was a national hero that kicked British out of Iran. Abadani

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No doubt

* I believe the Iranian of the century, without the slightest doubt (so much so that the runner up does not even come close) is Dr. Mohammad Mossadegh. I would like to summarise the reason by the following quotation: "To the memory of Dr. Mohammad Mossadegh; for his development of a genuinely Iranian concept of democracy, and his lifelong struggle for its realisation." Credits for this quotation goes to Dr. Homa Katouzian who has, with the above line dedicated his book (The Political Economy of Modern Iran) to Dr. Mossadegh. Roozbeh

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Absolute democracy

* Because of the "khal-e yad" and the fact that he was the only politician who came to power in Iran in the past two hundered years and believed in absolute democracy. Amir Pooya

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* He stood up for the Democracy and independence of Iran. His most significant character was consistancy in his political beliefs. Hooman Beygi

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Magnificient vision

* For his magnificient vision and long history of struggle for freedom and independence of Iran. Foad Adib

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Never forget

* What he did had the greatest influence on our country, and we will never forget his efforts to nationalize the oil industry in Iran. Amir Mahmoudkhani

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Honorable life

* Far ahead of his time, he demanded that Iran's oil belong to Iran and not the British or Americans. He led a honorable life that should be an example to all Iranians (especially the ones born into wealth). His ousting was the watershed moment of recent world history because it signified America as the world's most powerful nation over England. Mazda Aghamohammadi

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Untiring efforts

* My choice for the Iranian of the century is Dr. Mohammad Mosaddegh, because of his untiring efforts which led to the nationalization of the oil industry of Iran. Emilia Nazari

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* He desired independence and true sovereignty for his homeland and put Iran foremost. Ardavan Moini

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* Because he stood for democracy, national independence and social justice and was unswerving in his fight for these principles. Enayat

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Look around

* My choice for the Iranian of the century is: Dr. Mohammad Mossadegh. Why? - Just take a look around you! Hussein Banai

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* Because of his impact on Iran for the last 50 years and his roots in first 50 years of the century. Alireza Shieh

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