Skip to main content

CIA examined the possibility of assassination of the Iranian PM Mohammad Mosaddegh before the 1953 coup

On June 15th, the State Department released a long-awaited “retrospective” volume of declassified U.S. government documents on the 1953 coup in Iran. The volume includes fascinating details on Iranian, American and British planning and implementation of the covert operation, as well as information about U.S. contacts with key figures such as Ayatollah Abol-Ghasem Kashani, and insights into U.S. concerns about the growing influence of communist Tudeh Party. This Foreign Relations volume focuses on the use of covert operations by the Truman and Eisenhower administrations as an adjunct to their respective policies toward Iran, culminating in the overthrow of the Mosadeq government in August 1953. Moreover, the volume documents the involvement of the U.S. intelligence community in the policy formulation process and places it within the broader Cold War context. [nsarchive.gwu.edu]


The volume contains a significant amount of new information related to the 1953 coup. A memorandum from the then Director of Central Intelligence, Allen Dulles, to President Eisenhower, on March 1st, 1953 (more than five months before the coup), shows that the US was monitoring closely the developments and the internal power balance in Iran.

Dulles examines the consequence of the "elimination of Mossadeq by assassination or otherwise", although it is not clear whether he refers to a possible operation that would be organized by the CIA.

He also monitors the power of Mossadeq's key opponent at that time, Mullah Kashani, and what would happen if Kashani would take power in case that "Mossadeq were to disappear".

He also describes the connections of the CIA and the British with Quasqai tribal leaders "with the view to eventual organization of resistance in southern Iran if the North should go Communist."

Some key points:

Ever since the assassination of General Razmara in March 1951, and the subsequent impasse and diplomatic break with Britain over the oil negotiations, the Iranian situation has been slowly disintegrating. The result has been a steady decrease in the power and influence of the Western democracies and the building up of a situation where a Communist takeover is becoming more and more of a possibility. However, even the present crisis is likely to be unsatisfactorily compromised without a Communist Tudeh victory. Of course, the elimination of Mossadeq by assassination or otherwise might precipitate decisive events except in the unlikely alternative that the Shah should regain courage and decisiveness.

The principal opposing forces are represented on the one hand by Prime Minister Mossadeq and, on the other, by Mullah Kashani, with the Shah apparently being used by Kashani.

Significant elements of the Army will probably remain loyal to the Shah, but whether or not they can be forged into an effective weapon in shaping political developments depends on the Shah’s determination to use them. So far this determination has not appeared. On the other hand, Mossadeq appears to retain control of the chain of command.

As between Mossadeq and Kashani, it appears that Mossadeq has still the greater strength although he has obviously lost some prestige in Parliament and among the people. Kashani’s following, however, is better consolidated in the capital through a well organized “street machine”, which Mossadeq does not possess.

If Mossadeq maintains control he will increase his efforts to remove or neutralize all opposition. His latent hostility toward the Shah is likely to increase. He might resent Henderson’s activities during the crisis. Mullah Kashani has been a key figure in promoting the pro-Shah street demonstrations. He has also led Parliament’s attack on Mossadeq. If Mossadeq were to disappear, Kashani would be a serious contender for his position. Although personally not acceptable to the Shah, the latter would be inclined to appoint him prime minister if recommended by Parliament.

CIA has been maintaining close contact with the Quasqai tribal leaders with the view to eventual organization of resistance in southern Iran if the North should go Communist. A considerable supply of small arms and ammunition has been assembled [less than 1 line not declassified] the nearest safe available base. A considerable amount of cash is available in Teheran. Both the arms and the cash could quickly be supplemented.

Although the British have steadfastly denied it, there have been persistent rumors that they have been organizing the southern Iranian tribes with a view to an uprising at an appropriate moment to preserve the southern portion of Iran from Communist control. British contact with these tribes in the past has been close, and this may constitute a contingent asset of some value to the West if the situation deteriorates further.


Mohammad Mosaddegh was an Iranian politician. He was the head of a democratically elected government, holding office as the Prime Minister of Iran from 1951 until 1953, when his government was overthrown in a coup d'état aided by the United States' Central Intelligence Agency and the United Kingdom's Secret Intelligence Service.

An author, administrator, lawyer, and prominent parliamentarian, his administration introduced a range of progressive social and political reforms such as social security and land reforms, including taxation of the rent on land. His government's most notable policy, however, was the nationalization of the Iranian oil industry, which had been under British control since 1913 through the Anglo-Persian Oil Company (APOC/AIOC) (later British Petroleum and BP).

Many Iranians regard Mosaddegh as the leading champion of secular democracy and resistance to foreign domination in Iran's modern history. Mosaddegh was removed from power in a coup on 19 August 1953, organised and carried out by the CIA at the request of MI6, which chose Iranian General Fazlollah Zahedi to succeed Mosaddegh.

While the coup is commonly referred to in the West as Operation Ajax after its CIA cryptonym, in Iran it is referred to as the 28 Mordad 1332 coup, after its date on the Iranian calendar. Mosaddegh was imprisoned for three years, then put under house arrest until his death and was buried in his own home so as to prevent a political furor.


The Tudeh Party of Iran is an Iranian communist party. Formed in 1941, with Soleiman Mohsen Eskandari as its head, it had considerable influence in its early years and played an important role during Mohammad Mosaddegh's campaign to nationalize the Anglo-Persian Oil Company and his term as prime minister. The crackdown that followed the 1953 coup against Mosaddegh is said to have "destroyed" the party, although it continued. The party still exists, but is much weaker as a result of the banning of the party and mass arrests by the Islamic Republic in 1982 and the executions of political prisoners in 1988.


Allen Welsh Dulles was an American diplomat and lawyer who became the first civilian but third Director of Central Intelligence and its longest-serving director to date. As head of the Central Intelligence Agency during the early Cold War, he oversaw the 1954 Guatemalan coup d'état, Operation Ajax (the overthrow of Iran's elected government), the Lockheed U-2 aircraft program and the Bay of Pigs Invasion. Following the assassination of John F. Kennedy, Dulles was one of the members of the Warren Commission. Between his stints of government service, Dulles was a corporate lawyer and partner at Sullivan & Cromwell. His older brother, John Foster Dulles, was the Secretary of State during the Eisenhower Administration.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Pro-Trump capitalists fire the first serious warning shot in Capitol

globinfo freexchange In June, 2020, we wrote that, the whole picture indicates that all these far-right militia groups together with a significant part the US police force are forming a loony army of Trump defenders, driven by racism, ultra-conservative ideas and far-right extreme conspiracy theories. These fanatics have become so loyal to their leader - who happens to be the President of the United States - that they will do whatever it takes to see him in charge for another four years. As Trump's popularity has taken a downturn, his "brigades" are ready to take action in case he loses November's election. Especially if he loses marginally. Previously, we explained that, what we see now in the United States with Trump, is a counter-attack by the part of the American capital against the globalist faction. The faction that is primarily consisted by the liberal plutocracy . Therefore, as the capitalist class splits, the capitalists around Trump are now taking with the

The DNC mafia is about to complete the process of assimilation of the progressives, exactly as predicted

globinfo freexchange   Since already July 2018, we identified an immediate mobilization by the corporate media in the US to force the progressive wing of the Democratic party comply with the DNC neoliberal norm. In the specific example , we analyzed how the corporate pundit forced the new star of the progressive wing, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, to literally declare loyalty to the DNC corporate "chief-baroness" Nancy Pelosi. After that, we saw an unexplained and bizarre contribution of both Bernie Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez to the establishment pro-McCain 'litanies'. In this totally unnecessary self-recruitment for the McCain's legacy whitewash operation, Cortez retreated unconditionally and the establishment marked a second victory against her. As we had mentioned , the corporate media will focus mainly on pushing progressives to be 'swallowed' by the current DNC establishment in order to destroy the political revolution of Bernie Sanders. Yet, it is expect

George Monbiot got it half-right: There is a capitalist civil war, but not exactly the kind of war he describes

by system failure  Since at least July 2019, we were supporting the idea that Brexit is primarily the result of a capitalist civil war. Very few people (mostly in social media), were eager to accept this theory, while several were even mocking it as some kind of crazy conspiracy theory.    What puzzled us most, was the fact that even people from the global real Left were completely ignoring the capitalist-civil-war factor in Brexit equation during public debates. Many of them were seeing Brexit mainly as an angry response by the UK working class against the political and financial elites. We thought it would take forever to find someone from the Left to support the capitalist-civil-war theory.   Finally, at last, it was George Monbiot who spoke clearly about a capitalist civil war. And not only that. He correctly supported (as you can hear in the beginning of his analysis) that " The only way really to understand Brexit is as the outcome of a civil war within capitalism. " 

Venezuelan Foreign Minister on why Juan Guaidó wasn't arrested & the Left's revival in Latin America

The Grayzone   As Venezuela elects and swears in a new National Assembly Red Lines host Anya Parampil sits down with the country's Foreign Minister, Jorge Arreaza, in their latest conversation since the US launched its coup attempt against his government in January of 2019. They discuss the impact of US regime change policy on Venezuela's domestic political situation, why Juan Guaidó has not been arrested, hope for diplomacy with the incoming Biden Administration, the left's resurgence in Latin America, and more. 

The real reason corporate America fights Chinese high-tech giant Huawei so hard

globinfo freexchange   The short answer that comes immediately in mind is: competition.    Indeed, Huawei had been found frequently at the epicenter of Trump's "holly" trade war against China. Someone should expect this since Silicon Valley oligarchs see the Chinese high-tech giant rapidly penetrate into the global market, claiming bigger and bigger portion of the market pie.   As we reported previously, the US imperialist machine openly called Western allies (and particularly the UK), to sabotage China's economic and technological penetration in its Western sphere of influence, through a Foreign Policy article. According to the article, the UK appears to be the most suitable, among the US allies, to lead the race against China's 5G infrastructure deals with Western countries. In essence, it called the UK to play a leading role in sabotaging China's and Huawei's deals with the UK itself and other Western countries.   Also, according to MintPress , &

Assange wins - The cost: the crushing of Press Freedom

by Jonathan Cook   Part 2 - A moment of celebration   We have contributed collectively in our various small ways to win back for Assange some degree of freedom, and hopefully a reprieve from what could be a death sentence as his health continues to deteriorate in an overcrowded Belmarsh high-security prison in London that has become a breeding ground for Covid-19. For this we should allow ourselves a moment of celebration. But Assange is not out of the woods yet. The US has said it will appeal the decision. And it is not yet clear whether Assange will remain jailed in the UK – possibly in Belmarsh – while many months of further legal argument about his future take place. The US and British establishments do not care where Assange is imprisoned – be it Sweden, the UK or the US. What has been most important to them is that he continues to be locked out of sight in a cell somewhere, where his physical and mental fortitude can be destroyed and where he is effectively silenced, encouraging

Assange verdict: Statements from WikiLeaks, Assange's partner, Reporters Without Borders & more

acTVism Munich   These statements were recorded by the "Don't Extradite Assange" campaign. acTVism Munich has republished it today because of the lack of coverage of these statements in the local media landscape, as well as to foster understanding of the Julian Assange case.  

Spooky Western journalists regurgitate CIA and collaborate with spy agencies

The Grayzone  Max Blumenthal, reporting from Venezuela, discusses with Aaron Maté and Ben Norton how Western corporate media outlets are full of stenographers for spy agencies, how the CIA and MI6 drive reporting on Russia, how the US and UK governments fund regime-change website Bellingcat and its deceptive articles on Syria and the OPCW, and how the British military censors journalism.

Julian Casablancas Interviews Chris Hedges | S.O.S. Earth is a Mess

Rolling Stone   Julian Casablancas sits down with his “ personal hero and greatest intellectual (along with elder chieftain Noam Chomsky), ” journalist and professor Chris Hedges, on the latest episode of his Rolling Stone interview series, S.O.S. — Earth Is a Mess. 

UK judge justifies CIA spying on Assange citing debunked CNN report based on… CIA spying

UK judge Vanessa Baraitser justified CIA spying on Julian Assange by citing a falsehood-filled CNN report. Her judgment highlighted corporate media’s enthusiastic role in a state-sponsored assault on press freedom.   by Ben Norton   Part 2 - UK judge casts doubt on US spying on Assange while simultaneously justifying it   The Grayzone has published several investigations into the US government spying operation that targeted Julian Assange when he was trapped in the Ecuadorian embassy. The Spanish company hired by Ecuador to provide security, UC Global, was secretly working with the CIA, providing the US spy agency with 24/7 video and audio surveillance that covered almost every inch of the diplomatic building, including even the women’s bathroom. Max Blumenthal demonstrated that the CIA presided over this illegal spying ring with the help of a company owned by billionaire Republican mega-donor Sheldon Adelson, a close ally of President Donald Trump and former CIA Director and Secretar