My father Abolhassan Diba, Saghat-ed-Dowleh, with
28th of Mordad
Written and photographed By Farhad Diba
Mosaddegh was my uncle and I have written his biography (Dr.Mohammad Mosaddegh: A political biography. London & New York, Croom Helm, 1986), but I think that your younger readers would be more interested in my memories as a teenager in Tehran, during August 1953.
The town had been buzzing for the past few days and all the action was on the streets. Tehran was far smaller then, and it was quite easy to get about from the Baharistan Square (in front of the Majless) to the Bazaar, or up to the university campus, the three main points of action. I would escape from home and roam around the streets, taking photos of street scenes on Eslambol Avenue, looking towards Baharistan Square, Naderi Avenue next to the British Embassy, and others. There are two photos of truck tire tracks in blood, because someone had been killed there just before.
The intensity of the demonstrations rose after the failed "Nassiri" coup d'etat of August 16 and culminated in the victory of the pro-Shah mobs on August 19. Without going into the CIA involvement, the main protagonist of the pro-Shah faction was Shaban Bi-mokh (The Brainless), who started out from the Zurkhaneh (the "gym") and marched up Avenue Hafez.
At the time, I was in the Park Hotel (on Hafez) and, before they slammed shut the heavy main gates, I slipped out and followed this quite scary mob. Later, I was found by one of the people sent out to search for me and taken to our garden in Shemiran, where my parents were frantically expecting me. The next day, two army lorries drove to our gate and had to be let in. The soldiers swarmed all over our house and garden, as they claimed that Mosaddegh was in hiding at his brother's house.
My father ran a summer extension of the Park Hotel, called Park-e-Now (New Park), on the old Shemiran Road (now Shariati), opposite the gas station. That place was totally sacked by the soldiers, and left in ruins, since it belonged to Mosaddegh's brother. Next, we were kept under house arrest, until my father could secure the release of my sister and myself, to return to school in England.
A Footnote: The Mosaddegh Foundation has just recently been established in Geneva, Switzerland, and the building is nearly completed. The aim of the Foundation is to bring under one roof ALL material dealing with Mosaddegh. If any one is interested, they can email me.
Copyright © 1997 Abadan Publishing Co. All Rights Reserved. May not be duplicated or distributed in any form
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