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When the cia overthrew iran FOR BRITISH PETROLEUM
Iran 1953
Making it safe for the King of Kings
"So this is how we get rid of that madman Mossadegh," announced John Foster
Dulles to a group of top Washington policy makers one day in June 1953.1 The
Secretary of State held in his hand a plan of operation to overthrow the prime minister
of Iran prepared by Kermit (Kim) Roosevelt of the CIA. There was scarcely any
discussion amongst the high-powered men in the room, no probing questions, no legal
or ethical issues raised.
"This was a grave decision to have made," Roosevelt later wrote. "It involved
tremendous risk. Surely it deserved thorough examination, the closest consideration,
somewhere at the very highest level. It had not received such thought at this meeting. In
fact, I was morally certain that almost half of those present, if they had felt free or had
the courage to speak, would have opposed the undertaking."2
Roosevelt, the grandson of Theodore and distant cousin of Franklin, was
expressing surprise more than disappointment at glimpsing American foreign-policymaking
undressed. The original initiative to oust Mossadegh had come from the British,
for the elderly Iranian leader had spearheaded the parliamentary movement to
nationalize the British-owned Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (AIOC), the sole oil
company operating in Iran, In March 1951, the bill for nationalization was passed, and
at the end of April Mossadegh was elected prime minister by a large majority of
Parliament, On 1 May, nationalization went into effect. The Iranian people, Mossadegh
declared, "were opening a hidden Treasure upon which lies a dragon".3
As the prime minister had anticipated, the British did not take the national
Nation grace-fully, though it was supported unanimously by the Iranian parliament and
by the overwhelming majority of the Iranian people for reasons of both economic
justice and national pride. The Mossadegh government tried to do all the right things to
placate the British: It offered to set aside 25 percent of the net profits of the oil
operation as compensation; it guaranteed the safety and the jobs of the British
employees; it was willing to sell its oil without disturbance to the tidy control system so
dear to the hearts of the international oil giants. But the British would have none of it.
What they wanted was their oil company back. And they wanted Mossadegh's head. A
servant does not affront his lord with impunity.
A military show of force by the British navy was followed by a ruthless
international economic blockade and boycott, and a freezing of Iranian assets which
brought Iran's oil exports and foreign trade to a virtual standstill, plunged the already
impoverished country into near destitution, and made payment of any compensation
impossible. Nonetheless, and long after they had moved to oust Mossadegh, the British
demanded compensation not only for the physical assets of the AIOC, but for the value
of their enterprise in developing the oil fields; a request impossible to meet, and, in the
eyes of Iranian nationalists, something which decades of huge British profits had paid
for many times over.
The British attempt at economic strangulation of Iran could not have gotten off
the ground without the active co-operation and support of the Truman and Eisenhower
administrations and American oil companies. At the same time, the Truman
administration argued with the British that Mossadegh's collapse could open the door to
the proverbial communist takeover.4 When the British were later expelled from Iran,
however, they had no alternative but to turn to the United States for assistance in
toppling Mossadegh. In November 1952, the Churchill government approached
Roosevelt, the de facto head of the CIA's Middle East division, who told the British that
he felt that there was "no chance to win approval from the outgoing administration of
Truman and Acheson. The new Republicans, however, might be quite different."5
John Foster Dulles was certainly different. The apocalyptic anti-communist saw
in Mossadegh the epitome of all that he detested in the Third World: unequivocal
neutralism in the cold war, tolerance of Communists, and disrespect for free enterprise,
as demonstrated by the oil nationalization. (Ironically, in recent years Great Britain had
nationalized several of its own basic industries, and the government was the majority
owner of the AIOC.) To the likes of John Foster Dulles, the eccentric Dr. Mohammed
Mossadegh was indeed a madman. And when the Secretary of State considered further
that Iran was a nation exceedingly rich in the liquid gold, and that it shared a border
with the Soviet Union more than 1,000 miles long, he was not unduly plagued by
indecision as to whether the Iranian prime minister should finally retire from public life.
As matters turned out, the overthrow of Mossadegh in August 1953 was much
more an American operation than a British one. Twenty-six years later, Kermit
Roosevelt took the unusual step of writing a book about how he and the CIA carried out
the operation. He called his book Countercoup to press home the idea that the CIA coup
was staged only to prevent a takeover of power by the Iranian Communist Party (The
Tudeh) closely backed by the Soviet Union. Roosevelt was thus arguing that Mossadegh
had to be removed to prevent a Communist takeover, whereas the Truman
administration had felt that Mossadegh had to be kept in power to prevent one.
It would be incorrect to state that Roosevelt offers little evidence to support his
thesis of the Communist danger. It would be more precise to say that he offers no
evidence at all. Instead, the reader is subjected to mere assertions of the thesis which are
stated over and over, apparently in the belief that enough repetition will convince even
the most skeptical. Thus are we treated to variations on the theme such as the following:
"The Soviet threat [was] indeed genuine, dangerous and imminent" ...
Mossadegh "had formed an alliance" with the Soviet Union to oust the Shah ... "the
obvious threat of Russian takeover" ... "the alliance between [Mossadegh] and the
Russian-dominated Tudeh was taking on a threatening shape" ... Mossadegh's
"increasing dependence on the Soviet Union" ... "the hand of the Tudeh, and behind
them the Russians, is showing more openly every day" ... "Russian backing of the
Tudeh and Tudeh backing of [Mossadegh] became ever more obvious" ... the Soviet
Union was "ever more active in Iran. Their control over Tudeh leadership was growing
stronger all the time. It was exercised often and, to our eyes, with deliberate ostentation"
But none of this subversive and threatening activity was, apparently, ever open,
obvious, or ostentatious enough to provide Roosevelt with a single example he could
impart to a curious reader.
In actuality, although the Tudeh Party more or less faithfully followed the
fluctuating Moscow line on Iran, the relation of the party to Mossadegh was much mote
complex than Roosevelt and other cold-war chroniclers have made it out to be. The
Tudeh felt very ambiguous about the wealthy, eccentric, land-owning prime minister
who, nonetheless, was standing up to imperialism. Dean Acheson, Truman's Secretary
of State, described Mossadegh as "essentially a rich, reactionary, feudal-minded
Persian",7 hardly your typical Communist Party fellow-traveler.
On occasion the Tudeh had supported Mossadegh's policies; more often it had
attacked them bitterly, and in one instance, on 15 July 1951, a Tudeh-sponsored
demonstration was brutally suppressed by Mossadegh, resulting in some 100 deaths and
500 injured. The Iranian leader, moreover, had campaigned successfully against
lingering Soviet occupation of northern Iran after World War II, and in October 1947
had led Parliament in its rejection of a government proposal that a joint Irano-Soviet oil
company be set up to exploit the oil of northern Iran.8
What, indeed, did Mossadegh have to gain by relinquishing any of his power to
the Tudeh and/or the Soviet Union? The idea that the Russians even desired the Tudeh
to take power is no more than speculation. There was just as much evidence, or as little,
to conclude that the Russians, once again, were more concerned about their relationship
with Western governments than with the fate of a local Communist Party in a country
outside the socialist bloc of Eastern Europe.
A secret State Department intelligence report, dated 9 January 1953, in the
closing days of the Truman administration, stated that Mossadegh had not sought any
alliance with the Tudeh, and that "The major opposition to the National Front
[Mossadegh's governing coalition] arises from the vested interests, on the one hand, and
the Tudeh Party on the other."9
The Tudeh Party had been declared illegal in 1949 and Mossadegh had not lifted
that ban although he allowed the party to operate openly, at least to some extent because
of his democratic convictions, and had appointed some Tudeh sympathizers to
government posts.
Many of the Tudeh's objectives paralleled those espoused by the National Front,
the State Department report observed, but "An open Tudeh move for power ... would
probably unite independents and non-Communists of all political leanings and would
result ... in energetic efforts to destroy Tudeh by force."10
The National Front itself was a coalition of highly diverse political and religious
elements including right-wing anti-communists, held together by respect for
Mossadegh's personal character and honesty, and by nationalistic sentiments,
particularly in regard to the nationalization of oil.
In 1979, when he was asked about this State Department report, Kermit
Roosevelt replied: "I don't know what to make of that ... Loy Henderson [US
ambassador to Iran in 1953] thought that there was a serious danger that Mossadegh was
going to, in effect, place Iran under Soviet domination."11 Though he was the principal
moving force behind the coup, Roosevelt was now passing the buck, and to a man who,
as we shall see in the Middle East chapter, was given to alarmist statements about
"communist takeovers".
One can but wonder what Roosevelt, or anyone else, made of a statement by
John Foster Dulles before a Senate committee in July 1953, when the operation to oust
Mossadegh was already in process. The Secretary of State, the press reported, testified
"that there was 'no substantial evidence' to indicate that Iran was cooperating with
Russia. On the whole, he added, Moslem opposition to communism is predominant,
although at times the Iranian Government appears to rely for support on the Tudeh
party, which is communistic." l2
The young Shah of Iran had been relegated to little more than a passive role by
Mossadegh and the Iranian political process. His power had been whittled away to the
point where he was "incapable of independent action", noted the State Department
intelligence report. Mossadegh was pressing for control of the armed forces and more
say over expenditures of the royal court, and the inexperienced and indecisive Shah—
the "King of Kings"—was reluctant to openly oppose the prime minister because of the
latter's popularity-
The actual sequence of events instigated by Roosevelt which culminated in the
Shah's ascendancy appears rather simple in hindsight, even naive, and owed not a little
to luck. The first step was to reassure the Shah that Eisenhower and Churchill were
behind him in his struggle for power with Mossadegh and were willing to provide
whatever military and political support he needed. Roosevelt did not actually know
what Eisenhower felt, or even knew, about the operation and went so far as to fabricate
a message from the president to the Shah expressing his encouragement.13
At the same time, the Shah was persuaded to issue royal decrees dismissing
Mossadegh as prime minister and replacing him with one Fazlollah Zahedi, a general
who had been imprisoned during the war by the British for collaboration with the
Nazis.14 Late in the night of 14/15 August, the Shah's emissary delivered the royal
decree to Mossadegh's home, which was guarded by troops. Not surprisingly, he was
received very coolly and did not get in to see the prime minister. Instead, he was obliged
to leave the decree with a servant who signed a receipt for the piece of paper dismissing
his master from power. Equally unsurprising, Mossadegh did not abdicate. The prime
minister, who maintained that only Parliament could dismiss him, delivered a radio
broadcast the following morning in which he stated that the Shah, encouraged by
"foreign elements", had attempted a coup d'etat. Mossadegh then declared that he was,
therefore, compelled to cake full power unto himself. He denounced Zahedi as a traitor
and sought to have him arrested, but the general had been hidden by Roosevelt's team.
The Shah, fearing all was lost, fled with his queen to Rome via Baghdad without
so much as packing a suitcase. Undeterred, Roosevelt went ahead and directed the
mimeographing of copies of the royal decrees for distribution to the public, and sent two
of his Iranian agents to important military commanders to seek their support. It appears
that this crucial matter was left to the last minute, almost as an afterthought. Indeed, one
of the two Iranians had been recruited for the cause only the same day, and it was only
he who succeeded in winning a commitment of military support from an Iranian colonel
who had tanks and armored cars under his command.15
Beginning on 16 August, a mass demonstration arranged by the National Front,
supporting Mossadegh and attacking the Shah and the United States, took place in the
capital city, Teheran. Roosevelt characterizes the demonstrators simply as "the Tudeh,
with strong Russian encouragement", once again failing to offer any evidence to support
his assertion. The New York Times referred to them as "Tudeh partisans and Nationalist
extremists", the latter term being one which could have applied to individuals
comprising a wide range of political leanings.16
Among the demonstrators there were as well a number of individuals working
for the CIA. According to Richard Cottam, an American academic and author
reportedly in the employ of the Agency in Teheran at this time, these agents were sent
"into the streets to act as if they were Tudeh. They were more than just provocateurs,
they were shock troops, who acted as if they were Tudeh people throwing rocks at
mosques and priests", the purpose of which was to stamp the Tudeh and, by implication,
Mossadegh as being anti-religion.17
During the demonstrations, the Tudeh raised their familiar demand for the
creation of a democratic republic. They appealed to Mossadegh to form a united front
and to provide them with arms to defend against the coup, but the prime minister
refused.18 Instead, on 18 August he ordered the police and army to put an end to the
Tudeh demonstrations which they did with considerable force. According to the
accounts of Roosevelt and Ambassador Henderson, Mossadegh took this step as a result
of a meeting with Henderson in which the ambassador complained of the extreme
harassment being suffered by US citizens at the hands of the Iranians. It is left unclear
by both of the Americans how much of this harassment was real and how much
manufactured by them for the occasion. In any event, Henderson told Mossadegh that
unless it ceased, he would be obliged to order all Americans to leave Iran at once.
Mossadegh, says Henderson, begged him not to do this for an American evacuation
would make it appear that his government was unable to control the country, although at
the same time the prime minister was accusing the CIA of being behind the issuance of
the royal decrees.19 (The Tudeh newspaper at this time was demanding the expulsion of
"interventionist" American diplomats.)20
Whatever Mossadegh's motivation, his action was again in sharp contradiction to
the idea that he was in alliance with the Tudeh or that the party was in a position to grab
the reins of power. Indeed, the Tudeh did not take to the streets again.
The following day, 19 August, Roosevelt's Iranian agents staged a parade
through Teheran. With a fund of some one million dollars having been established in a
safe in the American embassy, the "extremely competent professional 'organizers'," as
Roosevelt called them, had no difficulty in buying themselves a mob, probably using
but a small fraction of the fund. (The various accounts of the CIA role in Iran have the
Agency spending from $10,000 to $19 million to overthrow Mossadegh. The larger
amounts are based on reports that the CIA engaged in heavy bribery of members of
Parliament and other influential Iranians to enlist their support against the prime
Soon a line of people could be seen coming out of the ancient bazaar, led by
circus and athletic performers to attract the public. The marchers were waving banners,
shouting "Long live the Shah!" Along the edges of the procession, men were passing
out Iranian currency adorned with a portrait of the Shah. The demonstrators gathered
followers as they went, people joining and picking up the chants, undoubtedly for a
myriad of political and personal reasons. The balance of psychology had swung against
Along the way, some matchers broke ranks to attack the offices of proMossadegh
newspapers and political parries, Tudeh and government offices. Presently,
a voice broke in over the radio in Teheran announcing that "The Shah's instruction that
Mossadegh be dismissed has been carried out. The new Prime Minister, Fazlollah
Zahedi, is now in office. And His Imperial Majesty is on his way home!"
This was a lie, or a "pre-truth" as Roosevelt suggested. Only then did he go to
fetch Zahedi from his hiding place. On the way, he happened to run into the commander
of the air force who was among the marching throng. Roosevelt told the officer to get
hold of a tank in which to carry Zahedi to Mossadegh's house in proper fashion.21
Kermit Roosevelt would have the reader believe that at this point it was all over
but the shouting and the champagne he was soon to uncork: Mossadegh had fled,
Zahedi had assumed power, the Shah had been notified to return—a dramatic, joyful,
and peaceful triumph of popular will. Inexplicably, he neglects to mention at all that in
the streets of Teheran and in front of Mossadegh's house that day, a nine-hour battle
raged, with soldiers loyal to Mossadegh on one side and those supporting Zahedi and
the Shah on the other. Some 300 people were reported killed and hundreds more
wounded before Mossadegh's defenders finally succumbed.22
Roosevelt also fails to mention any contribution of the British to the whole
operation, which considerably irritated the men in MI6, the CIA's counterpart, who
claim that they, as well as AIOC staff, local businessmen and other Iranians, had indeed
played a role in the events. But they have been tight-lipped about what that role was
The US Military Mission in Iran also claimed a role in the action, as Major
General George C. Stewart later testified before Congress:
Now, when this crisis came on and the thing was about to collapse, we violated
our normal criteria and among the other things we did, we provided the army
immediately on an emergency basis, blankets, boots, uniforms, electric
generators, and medical supplies that permitted and created the atmosphere in
which they could support the Shah ... The guns that they had in their hands, the
trucks that they rode in, the armored cars that they drove through the streets, and
the radio communications that permitted their control, were all furnished through
the military defense assistance program.24
The latter part of the General's statement would, presumably, apply to the other
side as well.
"It is conceivable that the Tudeh could have turned the fortunes of the day
against the royalists," wrote Kennett Love, a New York Times reporter who was in
Teheran during the crucial days of August. "But for some reason they remained
completely aloof from the conflict. ... My own conjecture is that the Tudeh were
resrrained by the Soviet Embassy because the Kremlin, in the first post-Stalin year, was
not willing to take on such consequences as might have resulted from the establishment
of a communist-controlled regime in Teheran."
Love's views, contained in a paper he wrote in 1960, may well have been
inspired by information received from the CIA. By his own admission, he was in close
contact with the Agency in Teheran and even aided them in their operation.25
Earlier in the year, the New York Times had noted that "prevailing opinion
among detached observers in Teheran" was that "Mossadegh is the most popular
politician in the country". During a period of more than 40 years in public life,
Mossadegh had "acquired a reputation as an honest patriot".26
In July, the State Department Director of Iranian Affairs had testified that
"Mossadegh has such tremendous control over the masses of people that it would be
very difficult to throw him out."27
A few days later, "at least 100,000" people filled the streets of Teheran to
express strong anti-US and anti-Shah sentiments. Though sponsored by the Tudeh, the
turnout far exceeded any estimate of party adherents.28
But popularity and masses, of the unarmed kind, counted for little, for in the
final analysis what Teheran witnessed was a military showdown carried out on both
sides by soldiers obediently following the orders of a handful of officers, some of whom
were staking their careers and ambitions on choosing the winning side: some had a more
ideological commitment. The New York Times characterized the sudden reversal of
Mossadegh's fortunes as "nothing mote than a mutiny ... against pro-Mossadegh
officers" by "the lower ranks" who revered the Shah, had brutally quelled the
demonstrations the day before, but refused to do the same on 19 August, and instead
turned against their officers.29
What connection Roosevelt and his agents had with any of the pro-Shah officers
beforehand is not clear. In an interview given at about the same time that he finished his
book, Roosevelt stated that a number of pro-Shah officers were given refuge in the CIA
compound adjoining the US Embassy at the time the Shah fled to Rome.30 But
inasmuch as Roosevelt mentions not a word of this rather important and interesting
development in his book, it must be regarded as yet another of his assertions to be
approached with caution.
In any event, it may be that the 19 August demonstration organized by
Roosevelt's team was just the encoutagement and spark these officers were waiting for.
Yet, if so, it further illustrates how much Roosevelt had left to chance.
In light of all the questionable, contradictory, and devious statements which
emanated at times from John Foster Dulles, Kermit Roosevelt, Loy Henderson and other
American officials, what conclusions can be drawn about American motivation in the
toppling of Mossadegh? The consequences of the coup may offer the best guide.
For the next 25 years, the Shah of Iran stood fast as the United States' closest
ally in the Third World, to a degree that would have shocked the independent and
neutral Mossadegh. The Shah literally placed his country at the disposal of US military
and intelligence organizations to be used as a cold-war weapon, a window and a door to
the Soviet Union—electronic listening and radar posts were set up near the Soviet
border; American aircraft used Iran as a base to launch surveillance flights over the
Soviet Union; espionage agents were infiltrated across the border; various American
military installations dotted the Iranian landscape. Iran was viewed as a vital link in the
chain being forged by the United States to "contain" the Soviet Union. In a telegram to
the British Acting Foreign Secretary in September, Dulles said: "I think if we can in
coordination move quickly and effectively in Iran we would close the most dangerous
gap in the line from Europe to South Asia."31 In February 1955, Iran became a member
of the Baghdad Pact, set up by the United States, in Dulles's words, "to create a solid
band of resistance against the Soviet Union".32
One year after the coup, the Iranian government completed a contract with an
international consortium of oil companies. Amongst Iran's new foreign partners, the
British lost the exclusive rights they had enjoyed previously, being reduced now to 40
percent. Another 40 percent now went to American oil firms, the remainder to other
countries. The British, however, received an extremely generous compensation for their
former property.33
In 1958, Kermit Roosevelt left the CIA and presently went to work for Gulf Oil
Co., one of the American oil firms in the consortium. In this position, Roosevelt was
director of Gulfs relations with the US government and foreign governments, and had
occasion to deal with the Shah. In 1960, Gulf appointed him a vice president.
Subsequently, Roosevelt formed a consulting firm, Downs and Roosevelt, which,
between 1967 and 1970, reportedly received $116,000 a year above expenses for its
efforts on behalf of the Iranian government. Another client, the Northrop Corporation, a
Los Angeles-based aerospace company, paid Roosevelt $75,000 a year to aid in its sales
to Iran, Saudi Arabia and other countries.34 (See the Middle East chapter for Roosevelt's
CIA connection with King Saud of Saudi Arabia.)
Another American member of the new consortium was Standard Oil Co. of New
Jersey (now Exxon), a client of Sullivan and Cromwell, the New York law firm of
which John Foster Dulles had long been the senior member. Brother Allen, Director of
the CIA, had also been a member of the firm.35 Syndicated columnist Jack Anderson
reported some years later that the Rockefeller family, who controlled Standard Oil and
Chase Manhattan Bank, had "helped arrange the CIA coup that brought down
Mossadegh". Anderson listed a number of ways in which the Shah demonstrated his
gratitude to the Rockefellers, including heavy deposits of his personal fortune in Chase
Manhattan, and housing developments in Iran built by a Rockefeller family company.36
The standard "textbook" account of what took place in Iran in 1953 is that—
whatever else one might say for or against the operation—the United States saved Iran
from a Soviet/Communist takeover. Yet, during the two years of American and British
subversion of a bordering country, the Soviet Union did nothing that would support
such a premise. When the British Navy staged the largest concentration of its forces
since World War II in Iranian waters, the Soviets took no belligerent steps; nor when
Great Britain instituted draconian international sanctions which left Iran in a deep
economic crisis and extremely vulnerable, did the oil fields "fall hostage" to the
Bolshevik Menace; this, despite "the whole of the Tudeh Party at its disposal" as agents,
as Roosevelt put it.37 Not even in the face of the coup, with its imprint of foreign hands,
did Moscow make a threatening move; neither did Mossadegh at any point ask for
Russian help.
One year later, however, the New York Times could editorialize that "Moscow ...
counted its chickens before they were hatched and thought that Iran would be the next
'People's Democracy." At the same time, the newspaper warned, with surprising
arrogance, that "underdeveloped countries with rich resources now have an object
lesson in the heavy cost that must be paid by one of their number which goes berserk
with fanatical nationalism."38
A decade later, Allen Dulles solemnly stared that communism had "achieved
control of the governmental apparatus" in Iran.39 And a decade after that, Fortune
magazine, to cite one of many examples, kept the story alive by writing that Mossadegh
"plotted with the Communist party of Iran, the Tudeh, to overthrow Shah Mohammed
Reza Pahlevi and hook up with the Soviet Union."40
And what of the Iranian people? What did being "saved from communism" do
for them? For the preponderance of the population, life under the Shah was a grim
tableau of grinding poverty, police terror, and torture. Thousands were executed in the
name of fighting communism. Dissent was crushed from the outset of the new regime
with American assistance. Kennett Love wrote that he believed that CIA officer George
Carroll, whom he knew personally, worked with General Farhat Dadsetan, the new
military governor of Teheran, "on preparations for the very efficient smothering of a
potentially dangerous dissident movement emanating from the bazaar area and the
Tudeh in the first two weeks of November, 1953".41
The notorious Iranian secret police, SAVAK, created under the guidance of the
CIA and Israel,42 spread its tentacles all over the world to punish Iranian dissidents.
According to a former CIA analyst on Iran, SAVAK was instructed in torture
techniques by the Agency.43 Amnesty International summed up the situation in 1976 by
noting that Iran had the "highest rate of death penalties in the world, no valid system of
civilian courts and a history of torture which is beyond belief. No country in the world
has a worse record in human rights than Iran."44
When to this is added a level of corruption that "startled even the most hardened
observers of Middle Eastern thievery",45 it is understandable that the Shah needed his
huge military and police force, maintained by unusually large US aid and training
programs,46 to keep the lid down for as long as he did. Said Senator Hubert Humphrey,
apparently with some surprise:
Do you know what the head of the Iranian Army told one of our people? He said
the Army was in good shape, thanks to U.S. aid—it was now capable of coping
with the civilian population. That Army isn't going to fight the Russians. It's
planning to fight the Iranian people.47
Where force might fail, the CIA turned to its most trusted weapon—money. To
insure support for the Shah, or at least the absence of dissent, the Agency began making
payments to Iranian religious leaders, always a capricious bunch. The payments to the
ayatollahs and mullahs began in 1953 and continued regularly until 1977 when
President Carter abruptly halted them. One "informed intelligence source" estimated
that the amount paid reached as much as $400 million a year; others thought that figure
too high, which it certainly seems to be. The cut-off of funds to the holy men, it is
believed, was one of the elements which precipitated the beginning of the end for the
King of Kings.48

IRAN 1953
A general account and overview of the events in this chapter can be obtained from the following:
a) Kermit Roosevelt, Countercoup: The Struggle for the Control of Iran (New York, 1979) passim.
b) Bahman Nirumand, Iran: The New Imperialism in Action (New York, 1969), chapters 2 to 4, particularly the
Iranian case for nationalization, British and American reaction, and post-coup developments.
c) Stephen Ambrose, Ike's Spies (Doubleday & Co., New York, 1981) chapters 14 and 15.
d) Barry Rubin, Paved With Good Intentions: The American Experience and Iran (New York, 1980) chapter 3.
e) David Wise and Thomas B. Ross, The Invisible Government (New York, 1965, paperback edition), pp. 116-21.
f) Andrew Tully, CIA: The Inside Story {New York, 1962), pp. 76-84.
g) Fred J. Cook in The Nation (New York) 24 June 1961, pp. 547-51, particularly conditions in Iran after the coup.
I. Roosevelt, p. 8.
2. Ibid., pp, 18-13.
3. Anthony Eden, The Memoirs of ^the Right Honourable Sir Anthony Eden: Full Circle (London, 1960) p. 194.
4. Dean Acheson, Present at the Creation: My Years in the State Department (New York, 1969) pp. 679-85; Eden,
pp. 201-2: Nirumand, pp. 73-4.
5. Roosevelt, p. 107.
6. Ibid., pp. II, 2, 3, 91-2,126, 134,164, 119.
7. Acheson, p. 504.
8. Relations between Mossadegh, Tudeh, and the Soviet Union:
a) Manfred Halpern, "Middle East and North Africa", in C.E. Black and T.P. Thornton, eds., Communism and
Revolution (U.S., 1964) pp. 316-19
b) Donald N, Wilber, Iran: Past and Present (Princeton University Press, Third Edition, 1955), p. 115. Wilber is an
historian who, by his own admission, was also a CIA operative. He claims, in a later book, to have been the principal
planner for the operation to overthrow Mossadegh {known as Operation AJAX), although he offers no evidence
to support this assertion. He also states that Roosevelt's book is full of factual errors. See Adventures in the
Middle East (1986), pp. 187-8.
c) Nirumand, op. cit.
d) Rubin, op. cit.
9. The Declassified Documents Reference System (Arlington, Va.) 1979 volume, document 79E.
10. Ibid.
II. Roosevelt interview by Robert Scheer in the Los Angeles Times, 29 March 1979, p. 1.
12. New York Times, 10 July 1953, p. 4.
13. Roosevelt, p. 168.
14. Fitzroy Maclean, Eastern Approaches (London, 1949) pp. 266, 274; Maclean was a British officer in World War
II who kidnapped Zahedi (or Zahidi) to keep him from further aiding the Nazis.
15. The details of the last days of the Mossadegh regime can be found in Roosevelt, chapters 11 and 12; Wilber pp.
124-7 (purposely makes no mention of the CIA — see Note 8); Ambrose, chapter 15, as well as in other books
mentioned in this section.
16. Demonstration: Wilber, p. 125; Roosevelt, p. 179; New York Times, 19 August 1953.
17. Brian Lapping, EndofFjnpire (Great Britain/US 1985) p. 220, based on the Granada Television series of the same
name broadcast in Britain in 1985.
IS. Halpern, p. 318; Wilber, p. 125.
19, Henderson meeting with Mossadegh: Ambrose, pp. 208-9, interview with Henderson by the author; Roosevelt,
pp. 183-5.
20, New York Times, 19 August 1953.
21. Roosevelt, p. 191-2.
22. New York Times, 20 August 1953, p. 1: The Times (London), 20 August 1953.
23. David Leigh, The Wilson Plot: How the Spycatcbers and Their American Allies Tried to Overthrow the British
Government (New York, 1988) pp. 14-15.
24. Hearings in 1954 before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on "The Mutual Security Act of 1954", pp. 503,
569-70. Stewartwas the Director of the Office of Military Assistance, Department of Defense.
25. Kennetr Love, The American Role in the Pahlevi Restoration on 19 August 1953 {Pahlevi was the Shah's name),
unpublished manuscript residing amongst the Allen Dulles papers, Princeton University; excerpted in Jonathan
Kwitny, Endless Enemies: The Making of an Unfriendly World (New York, 1984) pp. 164-177.
26. New York Times, 18 January 1953, IV, p. 8.
27. Arthur L. Richards, Director, Office of Greek, Turkish and Iranian Affairs, testimony 17 July 1953, before House
Committee on foreign Affairs in executive session, released in 1981, p. 148.
28. Mew York Times, 21 July 1953.
29. Ibid., 23 August 1953, IV, p. 1.
30. Scheer interview.
3 1. The Guardian (London) 2 January 1984, British Government papers of 1953, released 1 January 1984.
32. Testimony at "Hearings on the Situation in the Middle East", Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, 24
February 1956, p. 23.
33. Nirumand, pp. 100-108 explains the contract in derail.
34. Roosevelt's post-CLA career: Scheer interview; Wise and Ross, pp. 116-7; Kwitny, p. 183.
35. Robert Engler, The Politics of Oil: A Study of Private Pou/er and Democratic Directions (N.Y., 19*1) p. 310.
36. San Francisco Chronicle, 26 December 1979.
37. Roosevelt, p. 145.
38. New York Times, 6 August 1954.
39. Allen Dulles, The Craft of Intelligence (New York, 1965) p.216.
40. Fortune (New York) June 1975, p. 90.
41. Love, op. cit., cited in Kwitny, p, 175.
42. Roosevelt, p. 9.
43. Jesse J. Leaf, Chief CIA analyst on Iran for five years before resigning in 1973, interviewed by Seymour Hersh in
the New York Times, 7January 1979.
44. Martin Ennals, Secretary-General of Amnesty International, cited in an article by Reza Baraheni in Matchbox
(Amnesty publication in New York) Fall, 1976.
4J. Tully, p. 76.
46. See, e.g. Michael Klare, War Without End (New York, 1972) pp. 375, 379, 382, based on official US Government
tables covering the 1950s and 1960s.
47. Cook, p. 550.
48. San Francisco Chronicle, 3 March 1980, p. 15.
"Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws. - Mayer Rothschild
"Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience! People are obedient in the face of poverty, starvation, stupidity, war, and cruelty. Our problem is that grand thieves are running the country. That's our problem!" - Howard Zinn
"If there is no struggle there is no progress. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and never will" - Frederick Douglass

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