Friday, May 6, 2005

Obscure document for the day: CIA history of the 1953 coup in Iran

The Secret CIA History of the Iran Coup, 1953 George Washington University National Security Archive.

I wonder if they said, "Freedom is on the march," after this one?

Here are a few excerpts from the Summary.  Notice the first problem that is listed necessitating the overthrow of the Iranian government (my emphasis):

By the end of 1952, It had become clear that the Mossadeq government In Iran was incapable of reaching an oil settlement with interested Western countries; was reaching a dangerous and advanced stage of illegal, deficit financing; was disregarding the Iranian constitution in prolonging Premier Mohammed Mossadeq's tenure of office; was motivated mainly by Mossadeq's desire for personal power; was governed by irresponsible policies based on emotion; had weakened the Shah and the Iranian Army to a dangerous degree; and had cooperated closely with the Tudeh (Communist) Party of Iran.  In view of these factors, it was estimated that Iran was in real danger of falling behind the Iron Curtain; if that happened it would mean a victory for the Soviets in the Cold War and a major setback for the West in the Middle East. No remedial action other than the covert action plan set forth below could be found to improve the existing state of affairs.

It was the aim of the TPAJAX project to cause the fall of the Mossadeq. government; to reestablish the prestige and power of the Shah; and to replace the Mossadeq government with one which would govern Iran according to constructive policies.  Specifically, the aim was to bring to power a government which would reach an equitable oil settlement, enabling Iran to become economically sound, and financially solvent, and which would vigorously prosecute the dangerously strong Communist Party.

We've got to get a better deal for Western oil companies.  And, oh yeah, stop the evil commies, too.  Actually, after this coup, American oil companies started getting much better deals relative to British oil companies in Iraq than before.  Imagine that.

Here's a short version of the finale:

On 19 August 1953, a pro-Shah demonstration, originating in the bazaar area, took on overwhelming proportions. The demonstration appeared to start partially spontaneously, revealing the fundamental prestige of the Shah and the public alarm at the undisguised republican move being started by the Communists as well as by certain National Frontists. Station political action assets also contributed to the beginnings of the pro-Shah demonstrations. The Army very soon joined the pro-Shah movement and by noon of that day it was clear that Tehran, as well as certain provincial areas, were controlled by pro-Shah street groups and Army units.  The situation was such that the above-mentioned military plan could then be implemented. At the station's signal, Zahedi came out of hiding to lead the movement. He first broadcast over Radio Tehran and announced that the government was his. The General Staff offices were then seized, Mossadeq's home was gutted, and pro-Mossadeq politicians and officers arrested. By the end of 19 August, the country was in the hands of the new Premier, Zahedi, and members of the Mossadeq government were either in hiding or were incarcerated.

This little adventure was in 1953, over a half century ago.  And we're still feeling the repercussions of this one.

Imagine how long the repercussions from the Iraq War will go on.

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