Jump to content
The Education Forum

Iran Coup 1953


Recommended Posts

US quietly publishes once-expunged papers on 1953 Iran coup

By JON GAMBRELL

Today

https://apnews.com/5111167bcaf84892b01eea93eea4bc01/US-quietly-publishes-once-expunged-papers-on-1953-Iran-coup

 

The 1,007-page report ,  https://history.state.gov/historicaldocuments/frus1951-54Iran comprised of letters and diplomatic cables, shows U.S. officials discussing a coup up to a year before it took place. While America worried about Soviet influence in Iran, the British remained focused on resolving a dispute over the nationalization of the country’s oil refinery at Abadan, at the time one of the world’s largest. Many also feared further instability following the 1951 assassination of Premier Ali Razmara.

“Nationalization of the oil industry possibly combined with further assassinations of top Iran officials, including even the shah, could easily lead to a complete breakdown of the Iran government and social order, from which a pro-Soviet regime might well emerge leaving Iran as a satellite state,” one undated CIA analysis from the report warned.

Out of that fear grew TPAJAX, the CIA codename for the coup plot. Papers show the CIA at one point “stockpiled enough arms and demolition material to support a 10,000-man guerrilla organization for six months,” and paid out $5.3 million for bribes and other costs, which would be equivalent to $48 million today. One CIA document casually refers to the fact that “several leading members of these (Iranian) security services are paid agents of this organization.”

 

Steve Thomas

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Interestingly while the CIA made a lot of preparations and took a lot of credit for the coup, several Iranian historical studies give a much more nuanced view, bringing both the Soviet and British activities into the mix as well as the complex Iranian internal politics of the time.  Several good books on this, one being "Nationalism in Iran" by Richard Cottam.  As with the CIA in Guatemala, other factors (including the harsh American naval blockade and a Navy task group with Marine landing craft poised offshore) came into play in these CIA "successes".  Not to mention Rip Robertson's unsanctioned sinking of a freighter during that blockade.

The Iranian coup is certainly more complex than it appeared to me when I first started studying it strictly from the CIA involvement.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Larry Hancock said:

Interestingly while the CIA made a lot of preparations and took a lot of credit for the coup, several Iranian historical studies give a much more nuanced view, bringing both the Soviet and British activities into the mix as well as the complex Iranian internal politics of the time.  Several good books on this, one being "Nationalism in Iran" by Richard Cottam.  As with the CIA in Guatemala, other factors (including the harsh American naval blockade and a Navy task group with Marine landing craft poised offshore) came into play in these CIA "successes".  Not to mention Rip Robertson's unsanctioned sinking of a freighter during that blockade.

The Iranian coup is certainly more complex than it appeared to me when I first started studying it strictly from the CIA involvement.

Larry,

 

I only skimmed through these papers briefly, but you're right about the situation being "nuanced". I read with some amusement about the concern of Iran falling into Russia's sphere of influence. We can see that playing out even today. There was concern about Iran becoming a Russian puppet state. Gee, I wonder how the Iranians felt about that idea?  :-)

 

I also read with a certain curiosity that not everyone was thrilled with propping up the British. Not everyone was an Anglophile. Now, the loss of Iranian oil - that everyone could agree on. It was interesting to see the worry about the "communist takeover domino affect" playing out in peoples' minds with respect to the Middle East as well as Southeast Asia should Iran fall. They just couldn't get the Shah to get off the pot could they?

 

Steve Thomas

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Steve, I've been studying this area a good deal recently for a sequal for Shadow Warfare - it would focus on covert political action, both Russian and American.  Don't know if that will ever happen but in regard to the regions of the Caucasus and Middle East I've gone all the way back to study the Great Game as played by Russia and the British...with a focus on Iran but also Afghanistan, Turkey and a host of small powers that don't exist today.  Its amazing to see how constant things are in this region and how the external powers never learn.  The extent to which we ignore the regional cultures, the tribal nature of much of the area and other truly basic facts (such as a somewhat unique form of nationalism) which seem so clear literally over centuries. The Iranians had no love for either the Russians or the Brits...or anybody else including us. Its always been a game of playing foreign powers against each other, and they are extremely good at it (given that they had empires whichlasted for centuries before any of today's super powers that might not be unexpected).

One of the things that comes out of all of this is how astute and sanguine JFK was in regard to international affairs, to anti-colonialism, to nationalism...his strategic understanding is virtually unique (not even going to how badly we are just about to jump off the deep end now).

To sum it all up simply, I'll put in this link to a favorite singer of mine who says it far too better than I do...and the song makes me shudder when I seriously listen to it.  

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

54 minutes ago, Larry Hancock said:

Steve, I've been studying this area a good deal recently for a sequal for Shadow Warfare - Its always been a game of playing foreign powers against each other, and they are extremely good at it (given that they had empires whichlasted for centuries before any of today's super powers that might not be unexpected).

One of the things that comes out of all of this is how astute and sanguine JFK was in regard to international affairs, to anti-colonialism, to nationalism...his strategic understanding is virtually unique (not even going to how badly we are just about to jump off the deep end now).

 

Larry,

 

I had a conversation with Jim DiEugenio recently about the idea that JFK was killed because of his belief in self-determination and allowing smaller States to control their own natural resources. I think I know where JFK would have stood with respect to Iran and its own oil. I had a conversation with Paul Brancato I think it was, about the role that Russian oil in the Central Asian "Stan" states played when looking at people like Jack Crichton and  Everett Lee DeGoyler. Like you said, the Caucasus is with us, even today.

 

Steve Thomas

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Steve

Mossadegh asked President Eisenhower for foreign aid to boost Iran's economy. Eisenhower turned him done since Operation Ajax was already in motion. He preferred regime change.

Mossadegh threatened to go to Russia for aid. That hardened the White House and CIA position on Iran. Mossadegh was a nationalist who placed Iran first and would not have allowed Russian meddling.

The CIA placed a target on Mossadegh's back when he nationalized British oil. It had nothing to do with communist takeover of Iran. That was an excuse by the Dulles brothers to sell the project to Ike. I doubt Ike would have approved Operation Ajax based on the Brits losing their oil concession.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...