Mohammad Mossadegh was born on June 16, 1882 in Tehran. His father, Mirza Hedayat Ashtiani, was surveillant of the Iranian treasury, and his mother, Malek-Taj Najm al-Saltaneh, was closely related to the Qajar dynasty. His father died when he was ten. He and his sisters were then raised by their mother.
Having held several positions within the State, Dr. Mossadegh went to pursue his studies in France. He then lived in Switzerland from 1906 to 1913, the year he earned his doctorate in law at the University of Neuchatel.
His political life was sealed by his perseverance to instill democracy in Iran and – both during and after World War II – to ensure the political independence and economic development of the country. Believing that the first step to achieve this quest would be the nationalization of Iran’s natural wealth, in other words its natural resources, Mossadegh fiercely confronted British Petroleum (which controlled Iran’s oil resources). The consequences of this battle were not only limited to the political and personal fate of Mossadegh, but also dramatically determined the political developments of modern Iran.
Moreover, in the dawn of the fifties, the message of this frail man – who had won a showdown against unreasonnable colonial powers – echoed beyond the borders of Iran. Mossadegh passionately inspired emerging anticolonial movements in the then Third World.