I believe Mossadegh's error was
that he did not take the next step, when Shah escaped from
I think why he did not make a move towards a republic had the following reasons, but I believe he should have made such a move, nevertheless:
1. Mossadegh thought that the West
did not want a republic in
2. Mossadegh knew such a move would mean that he would become the ally of Iranian leftists and the Soviet Union, as they were the only ones asking for a republic for decades (except for a short episode of Reza Khan's republicanism, which again had the left's support).
But Mossadegh and Iranian liberals in general were always more scared of the left than of monarchy. It is interesting that decades later, Ayatollah Khomeini, in his bid for an Islamic version of a republic, was not afraid to be the ally of the left, but the Iranian liberals were still afraid and made themselves the losers.
3. Mossadegh was afraid that Islamic forces would oppose republicanism. He had seen the time of Reza Khan's republicanism and the opposition of clergy to the idea.
If Mossadegh had lived to see Ayatollah Khomeini, decades later, to go for a republic, to win an Islamic movement, he would be amazed, to see the irony that he had feared the clergy's strong opposition to a republic, thus avoiding to push for a republic.
At any rate, Ayatollah Kashani left his support of Mossadegh, despite Mossadegh distancing himself from the left and from the idea of a republic.
4. Mossadegh had seen the time of
Reza Shah's republican movement and how only people like Ali Dashti were in such a movement, and the respected liberals
had opposed it. Thus having seen all respectable liberals not joining such a
movement was enough for him not seeing it as an alternative of forces of
Mossadegh could not see that a demand for a secular republic could be a genuine liberal demand and not just an imperialist ploy or a communist tactical demand. And if successful, finally even the West would have to come to terms with it.
I think Mossadegh should have
broken with the existing liberal traditions of
* The above article was first
posted on SCI (soc.culture.iranian) Usenet newsgroup