IRAN: Onstage

The old man tottered into the improvised courtroom at Saltanatabad barracks, seven miles outside Teheran. Pallid, his bony frame trembling beneath two overcoats and a pair of wool pajamas he lurched dramatically to the defendant's bench and lay there on his side, gasping for air, his throat fluttering. He croaked feebly for Coramine (a stimulant) and sipped it from a cup, each lip movement seeming his last.

For all these signs, 74-year-old Mohammed Mossadegh, after 81 days in jail, was in his best fighting trim. As Premier, he had stood off the British Empire from his bedroom; lying languidly on...

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