"Once upon a time, in a mountainous land between Baghdad and the Sea of Caviar, there lived a nobleman. This nobleman, after a lifetime of carping at the way the kingdom was run, became Chief Minister of the realm. In a few months he had the whole world hanging on his words and deeds, his jokes, his tears, his tantrums. Behind his grotesque antics lay great issues of peace or war, progress or decline, which would affect many lands far beyond his mountains."
What you just read is an extract from the Time cover story dated January 7, 1952 on Mohammad Mossaddegh (1882-1967), the popular and democratically elected prime minister of Iran who undertook the Herculean task of claiming the Iranian oil for the people of Iran. Disgruntled by this, the imperialists and the monarchists, hand in hand, contrived to topple him via a most treacherous coup on August 19, 1953; and then, after making him sit through a drumhead court-martial, confined him to his humble abode in exile to the end of his life, which coincides with today.
The derisive tone in this cover story, while conveying a reluctant confession to Mossaddegh's pivotal role in his contemporary world affairs, almost exactly matches that of the anti-democratic advocates of the former monarchic regime in Iran who even more than half a century past the coup can't stop reviling Mossaddegh; which attests to the fact that the Old Man of Persia has managed to stamp the mark of democracy on their foreheads forever. Rest in peace, old man!