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Mohammad Mosaddegh
محمد مصدق


In office
28 April 1951 – 16 July 1952
Preceded by Hossein Ala'
Succeeded by Ahmad Qavam
In office
21 July 1952 – 19 August 1953
Preceded by Ahmad Qavam
Succeeded by Fazlollah Zahedi

In office
1 May 1920 – 1 May 1948
Constituency Tehran

Born 16 June 1882(1882-06-16)
Tehran, Iran
Died 5 March 1967 (aged 84)
Tehran, Iran
Political party National Front
Spouse(s) Zahra Khanum (m. 1901)
Religion Shi'a Islam

Mohammad Mosaddegh (Persian: محمد مصدّق, IPA: [mohæmˈmæd(-e) mosædˈdeɣ]  ( listen)[1]; also Mossadegh, Mosaddeq, Mossadeq, or Musaddiq) (19 May 1882 – 5 March 1967) was the Prime Minister of Iran[2][3] from 1951 to 1953 when he was removed from power by a coup d'état. From an aristocratic background, Mosaddegh was an author, administrator, lawyer, prominent parliamentarian, and politician, famous for his passionate opposition to foreign intervention in Iran. He is most famous as the architect of the nationalization of the Iranian oil industry,[4] which had been under British control since 1913 through the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (AIOC) (later British Petroleum or BP). The Anglo-Iranian Oil Co. was controlled by the British government.[5] Mosaddegh was removed from power in a coup on 19 August 1953, organised and carried out by the United States CIA at the request of the British MI6 which chose Iranian General Fazlollah Zahedi to succeed Mosaddegh.[6] The CIA called the coup Operation Ajax[7] after its CIA cryptonym, and as the 28 Mordad 1332 coup in Iran, after its date on the Iranian calendar.[8] Mosaddegh was imprisoned for three years, then put under house arrest until his death.

Among many in the Middle East, Mosaddegh is viewed as a hero of anti-imperialism, and a victim of imperialist greed for Iran's oil.[9] Clerical dissatisfaction with Mosaddegh's secular rule played a role in the coup, fomented by CIA propaganda.[10]

Contents

Early life

Mosaddegh was born in 1882 in Tehran to an Ashtian Bakhtiari finance minister, Mirza Hideyatu'llah Khan (d.1892) and a Qajar princess, Shahzadi Malika Taj Khanum (1858–1933). By his mother's elder sister, Mosaddegh was the nephew of Mozaffar al-Din Shah Qajar. When his father died in 1892, his uncle was appointed the tax collector of the Khorasan province and was bestowed with the title of Mosaddegh-os-Saltaneh by Nasser al-Din Shah.[11]

In 1901, Mosaddegh married Zahra Khanum (1879–1965), a granddaughter of Nasser al-Din Shah through her mother. The couple had five children, two sons (Ahmad and Ghulam Hussein) and three daughters (Mansura, Zia Ashraf and Khadija).

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Education

Mosaddegh received his Bachelor of Arts and Masters in (International) Law from University of Paris (Sorbonne) before pursuing a Doctorate in Law from the University of Neuchâtel in Switzerland. Mosaddegh also taught at the University of Tehran at the start of WWI before beginning his long political career.[12]

Early political career

Mosaddegh started his career in Iranian politics with the Iranian Constitutional Revolution, when at the age of 24, he was elected from Isfahan to the newly inaugurated Persian Parliament, the Majlis of Iran. In 1920, after being self-exiled to Switzerland in protest at the Anglo-Persian Treaty of 1919, he was invited by the new Persian Prime Minister, Hassan Pirnia (Moshir-ed-Dowleh), to become his Minister of Justice; but while en route to Tehran, he was asked by the people of Shiraz to become Governor of the Fars” Province. He was later appointed Finance Minister, in the government of Ahmad Ghavam (Ghavam os-Saltaneh) in 1921, and then Foreign Minister in the government of Moshir-ed-Dowleh in June 1923. He then became Governor of the Azerbaijan Province. In 1923, he was re-elected to the Majlis and voted against the selection of the Prime Minister Reza Khan as the new Shah of Persia.

In 1941 Reza Shah Pahlavi abdicated in favor of his son Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, and by 1944 Mosaddegh was once again elected to parliament. This time he took the lead of Jebhe Melli (National Front of Iran), an organisation he had founded with nineteen others like Dr.Hossein Fatemi, Ahmad Zirakzadeh, Ali Shayegan and Karim Sanjabi, aiming to establish democracy and end the foreign presence in Iranian politics, especially by nationalising the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company's (AIOC) operations in Iran.

Prime Minister

Support for oil nationalisation

Most of Iran's oil reserves were in the Persian Gulf area and had been developed by the British Anglo-Iranian Oil company and exported to Britain. For a number of reasons — a growing consciousness of how little Iran was getting from the Anglo-Iranian Oil company for its oil; refusal of AIOC to offer of a ‘50–50% profit sharing deal' to Iran as Aramco had to Saudi Arabia; anger over Iran's defeat and occupation by the Allied powers — nationalization of oil was an important and popular issue with "a broad cross-section of the Iranian people."[13]

General Haj-Ali Razmara, the Shah's choice, was approved as prime minister June 1950. On 3 March 1951 he appeared before the Majlis in an attempt to persuade the deputies against "full nationalization on the grounds that Iran could not override its international obligations and lacked the capacity to run the oil industry on its own." He was assassinated four days later by Khalil Tahmasebi, a member of the militant fundamentalist group Fadayan-e Islam.[14] This order of events, while appearing in many mainstream historical accounts, confronts countervailing evidence. Firstly, "[US]embassy staffers early on speculated that Razmara might either be assassinated or become involved in a power struggle with the Shah."[15] These two concerns appear to converge according to Steven Kinzer, who notes that:

“[e]vidence emerged to suggest that the fatal shot had been fired not by Tahmasibi but by a soldier acting on behalf of the Shah or members of his inner circle, and that Asadollah Alam had knowingly driven him to his fatal rendezvous. Years later a retired Iranian colonel wrote in his memoir that the fatal shot had come from a Colt revolver, available only to soldiers. “An army sergeant, in civilian clothes, was chosen for the deed”, he asserted. “He had been told to shoot and kill Razmara with a Colt, the moment Tahmasibi began to shoot… Those who had examined the wounds in Razmara’s body were in no doubt that he had been killed by a Colt bullet, not by the bullet of a weak gun.”[16][17]

While this account is corroborated by several other studies,[18] it remains a point of contention among historians. After negotiations for higher oil royalties failed, on 15 March and 20 March 1951, the Iranian Majlis and Senate voted to nationalize the British-owned and operated AIOC, taking control of Iran's oil industry.

Another force for nationalization was the Tudeh or Communist party. In early April 1951 the party unleashed nationwide strikes and riots in protest against delays in nationalization of the oil industry along with low wages and bad housing in oil industry. This display of strength, along with public celebration at the assassination of General Razmara made an impact on the deputies of the Majlis.[19]

Election as prime minister

On 28 April 1951, the Majlis (Parliament of Iran) named Mosaddegh as new prime minister by a vote of 79–12. Aware of Mosaddegh's rising popularity and political power, the young Shah appointed Mosaddegh to the Premiership. On 1 May, Mosaddegh nationalized the AIOC, cancelling its oil concession due to expire in 1993 and expropriating its assets. The next month a committee of five majlis deputies was sent to Khuzistan to enforce the nationalization.[20]

Mosaddegh explained his nationalisation policy in a 21 June 1951 speech:

Our long years of negotiations with foreign countries… have yielded no results this far. With the oil revenues we could meet our entire budget and combat poverty, disease, and backwardness among our people. Another important consideration is that by the elimination of the power of the British company, we would also eliminate corruption and intrigue, by means of which the internal affairs of our country have been influenced. Once this tutelage has ceased, Iran will have achieved its economic and political independence.
The Iranian state prefers to take over the production of petroleum itself. The company should do nothing else but return its property to the rightful owners. The nationalization law provide that 25% of the net profits on oil be set aside to meet all the legitimate claims of the company for compensation…
It has been asserted abroad that Iran intends to expel the foreign oil experts from the country and then shut down oil installations. Not only is this allegation absurd; it is utter invention…[21]

The confrontation between Iran and Britain escalated from there with Mosaddegh's government refusing to allow the British any involvement in Iran's oil industry, and Britain making sure Iran could sell no oil. In July, Mosaddegh broke off negotiations with AIOC after it threatened "to pull out its employees", and told owners of oil tanker ships that "receipts from the Iranian government would not be accepted on the world market." Two months later the AIOC evacuated its technicians and closed down the oil installations. Under nationalized management many refineries lacked the trained technicians that were needed to continue production. The British government announced a de facto blockade and reinforced its naval force in the Persian Gulf and lodged complaints against Iran before the United Nations Security Council.[20]

The British government also threatened legal action against purchasers of oil produced in the formerly British-controlled refineries and obtained an agreement with its sister international oil companies not to fill in where the AIOC was boycotting Iran. The AIOC withdrew its technicians from the refineries and the entire Iranian oil industry came to a virtual standstill, oil production dropping from 241.4 million barrels in 1950 to 10.6 million in 1952. This Abadan Crisis reduced Iran's oil income to almost nil, putting a severe strain on the implementation of Mosaddegh's promised domestic reforms. At the same time BP and Aramco doubled their production in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Iraq, to make up for lost production in Iran so that no hardship was felt in Britain.

Still enormously popular in late 1951, Mosaddegh called elections. His base of support was in urban areas and not in the provinces.[22] This fact was reflected in the Mosaddegh's rejection of the bill for electoral reform (which no longer disqualified illiterates from electoral participation) by the conservative bloc, on the grounds that it would "unjustly discriminate patriots who had been voting for the last forty years".[23]

According to Ervand Abrahamian: "Realizing that the opposition would take the vast majority of the provincial seats, Mosaddegh stopped the voting as soon as 79 deputies – just enough to form a parliamentary quorum — had been elected."[24] An alternative account is offered by Stephen Kinzer. Beginning in the early 1950s under the guidance of C.M. Woodhouse, chief of the British intelligence station in Tehran, Britain's covert operations network had funneled roughly £10,000 per month to the Rashidian brothers (two of Iran's most influential royalists) in the hope of buying off, according to CIA estimates, "the armed forces, the Majlis (Iranian parliament), religious leaders, the press, street gangs, politicians and other influential figures".[25] Thus, in his statement asserting electoral manipulation by "foreign agents", Mosaddegh suspended the elections. His National Front party had made up 30 of the 79 deputies elected. Yet none of those present vetoed the statement, and the elections were postponed indefinitely. The 17th Majlis convened on February 1952.

Tension soon began to escalate in Majlis. Conservative opponents refused to grant Mosaddegh special powers to deal with the economic crisis caused by the sharp drop in revenue and voiced regional grievances against the capital Tehran, while the National Front waged "a propaganda war against the landed upper class".[22]

Resignation and uprising

On 16 July 1952, during the royal approval of his new cabinet, Mosaddegh insisted on the constitutional prerogative of the prime minister to name a Minister of War and the Chief of Staff, something the Shah had done hitherto. The Shah refused, and Mosaddegh announced his resignation appealing directly to the public for support, pronouncing that "in the present situation, the struggle started by the Iranian people cannot be brought to a victorious conclusion".[26]

Veteran politician Ahmad Qavam (also known as Ghavam os-Saltaneh) was appointed as Iran's new prime minister. On the day of his appointment, he announced his intention to resume negotiations with the British to end the oil dispute, a reversal of Mosaddegh's policy. The National Front — along with various Nationalist, Islamist, and socialist parties and groups[27] — including Tudeh — responded by calling for protests, strikes and mass demonstrations in favor of Mosaddegh. Major strikes broke out in all of Iran's major towns, with the Bazaar closing down in Tehran. Over 250 demonstrators in Tehran, Hamadan, Ahvaz, Isfahan, and Kermanshah were killed or suffered serious injuries.[28]

After five days of mass demonstrations on Siyeh-i Tir (the 30th of Tir on the Iranian calendar), military commanders, ordered their troops back to barracks, fearful of overstraining the enlisted men's loyalty and left Tehran in the hands of the protesters.[29] Frightened by the unrest, Shah dismissed Qavam and re-appointed Mosaddegh, granting him the full control of the military he had previously demanded.

Reinstatement and emergency powers

With further rise of his popularity, a greatly strengthened Mosaddegh convinced the parliament to grant him emergency powers for six months "to decree any law he felt necessary for obtaining not only financial solvency, but also electoral, judicial, and educational reforms".[30] Mosaddegh appointed Ayatollah Abol-Ghasem Kashani as house speaker. Kashani's Islamic scholars, as well as the Tudeh Party, proved to be two of Mosaddegh's key political allies, although both relationships were often strained.

With his emergency powers, Mosaddegh tried to strengthen the democratically-elected political institutions by limiting the monarchy's unconstitutional powers,[31] cutting Shah's personal budget, forbidding him to communicate directly with foreign diplomats, transferring royal lands back to the state, expelling his politically active sister Ashraf Pahlavi.[29]

In January 1953 Mosaddegh successfully pressed Parliament to extend "emergency powers for another 12 months". With these powers, he decreed a land reform law that establishes village councils and increases in peasants shares of production.[30] This weakened the landed aristocracy, abolishing Iran's centuries-old feudal agriculture sector.

However during this time Iranians were "becoming poorer and unhappier by the day" thanks to the British boycott. Mosaddegh's political coalition began to fray, his enemies increasing in number.[32]

Partly through the efforts of Iranians working as British agents, several former members of Mosaddegh's coalition turned against him. They included Muzzaffar Bazaui, head of the worker-based Toilers party; Hussein Makki, who had helped lead the takeover of the Abadan refinery and was at one point considered Mosadegh's heir apparent; and most outspokenly Ayatollah Kashani, who damned Mosaddegh with the "vitriol he had once reserved for the British".[33]

Overthrow of Mosaddegh

Plot to depose Mosaddegh

Soldiers surround the Parliament building in Tehran on 19 August 1953.

The government of the United Kingdom had grown increasingly distressed over Mosaddegh's policies and were especially bitter over the loss of their control of the Iranian oil industry. Repeated attempts to reach a settlement had failed.

Unable to resolve the issue single handedly due to its post-World War II problems, Britain looked towards the United States to settle the issue. Initially America had opposed British policies. After American mediation had failed several times to bring about a settlement, American Secretary of State Dean Acheson concluded that the British were "destructive and determined on a rule or ruin policy in Iran."[34] By early 1953, however, Dwight D. Eisenhower won the presidential election in the United States and a change in US policy toward Iran ensued.

Despite Mosaddegh's open disgust with socialism, Winston Churchill told the United States that Mosaddegh was "increasingly turning towards communism" and was moving Iran towards the Soviet sphere at a time of high Cold War fears.[35][36][37][38]

Acting on the opposition to Mosaddegh by the British government and fears that he was, or would become, dependent on the pro-Soviet Tudeh Party at a time of expanding Soviet influence,[39] the United States and Britain began to publicly denounce Mosaddegh's policies for Iran as harmful to the country.

In the mean time the already precarious alliance between Mosaddegh and Kashani was severed in January 1953, when Kashani opposed Mosaddegh's demand that his increased powers be extended for a period of one year.

Operation Ajax

Mosaddegh at the tomb of the Unkown Soldier of WWI in Arlington National Cemetery in Washington D.C.

In October 1952, Mosaddegh declared Britain an enemy, and cut all diplomatic relations.[40] In November and December 1952, British intelligence officials suggested to American intelligence that the prime minister should be ousted. The new US administration under Dwight D. Eisenhower and the British government under Winston Churchill agreed to work together toward Mosaddegh's removal. In March 1953, Secretary of State John Foster Dulles directed the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), which was headed by his younger brother Allen Dulles, to draft plans to overthrow Mosaddegh.[41]

On 4 April 1953, CIA director Dulles approved US$1 million to be used "in any way that would bring about the fall of Mosaddegh". Soon the CIA's Tehran station started to launch a propaganda campaign against Mosaddegh. Finally, according to The New York Times, in early June, American and British intelligence officials met again, this time in Beirut, and put the finishing touches on the strategy. Soon afterward, according to his later published accounts, the chief of the CIA's Near East and Africa division, Kermit Roosevelt, Jr. the grandson of U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt, arrived in Tehran to direct it.[42] In 2000, The New York Times made partial publication of a leaked CIA document titled, Clandestine Service History – Overthrow of Premier Mosaddegh of Iran – November 1952-August 1953. This document describes the point-by-point planning of the coup by agent Donald Wilbur, and execution conducted by the American and British governments. The New York Times published this critical document with the names censored. The New York Times also limited its publication to scanned image (bitmap) format, rather than machine-readable text. This document was eventually published properly – in text form, and fully unexpurgated. The complete CIA document is now web published. The word ‘blowback' appeared for the very first time in this document.

The plot, known as Operation Ajax, centered on convincing Iran's monarch to issue a decree to dismiss Mosaddegh from office, as he had attempted some months earlier. But the Shah was terrified to attempt such a dangerously unpopular and legally questionable move, and it would take much persuasion and many U.S. funded meetings, which included bribing his sister Ashraf with a mink coat and money, to successfully change his mind[citation needed].

Mosaddegh became aware of the plots against him and grew increasingly wary of conspirators acting within his government[43]. Mosaddegh then moved to dissolve the parliament "by calling for a national referendum"[43]. After taking the additional step of abolishing the Constitutional guarantee of a secret ballot[citation needed], Mosaddegh's victory in the national plebiscite was assured[citation needed]. The electorate was forced into a non-secret ballot[citation needed] and Mosaddegh won "99.9 percent the vote" in the Aug. 4, 1953 referendum[43]. The tactics employed by Mosaddegh to remain in power were dictatorial in their result, playing into the propaganda efforts of those who favoured his removal.[citation needed] On or around Aug. 16, Mosaddegh "overreached, playing into the C.I.A.'s hands by dissolving Parliament"[44], and Mosaddegh's emergency powers were extended[citation needed].

A few days later on Aug. 19, 1953 Mosaddegh was rounded up as the CIA-backed coup came to a successful end[45]. He was then tried, imprisoned for three years and kept "under house arrest at his estate" until he died in March 1967[46].

Shah's exile

Shaban Jafari in Tehran on 19 August 1953.

In August 1953, the Shah finally succumbed to the CIA plot, having been finally told by Roosevelt[citation needed] that the U.S. would proceed with him or without him, and formally dismissed the Prime Minister in a written decree, an act explicitly permitted under the constitution.[47] Then, as a precautionary measure, he flew to Baghdad and from there hid safely in Rome, Italy. He actually signed two decrees, one dismissing Mosaddegh and the other nominating the CIA's choice, General Fazlollah Zahedi, as Prime Minister.These decrees, or Farmāns as they are called, were specifically written as dictated by Donald Wilbur the CIA architect of the plan, which were designed as a major part of Wilbur's strategy to give the impression of legitimacy to the secret coup, as can be read in the declassified plan itself which bears his name. Wilbur was later given a letter of commendation by Alan Dulles, CIA head, for his work. It too is now declassified, and appears in Wilbur's autobiography.

Coup d'état

Soon, massive protests, engineered by Roosevelt's team, took place across the city and elsewhere with tribesmen paid to be at the ready to assist the coup. Fake anti- and pro-monarchy protesters, both paid by Roosevelt (as he reports in his book, cited), violently clashed in the streets, looting and burning mosques and newspapers, leaving almost 300 dead. The pro-monarchy leadership, chosen, hidden and finally unleashed at the right moment by the CIA team, led by retired army General and former Minister of Interior in Mosaddegh's cabinet, Fazlollah Zahedi joined with underworld figures such as the Rashidian brothers and local strongman Shaban Jafari,[48] to gain the upper hand on 19 August 1953 (28 Mordad). The military joined on cue: pro-Shah tank regiments stormed the capital and bombarded the prime minister's official residence, on Roosevelt's cue, according to his book. Mosaddegh managed to flee from the mob that set in to ransack his house, and, the following day, surrendered to General Zahedi, who was meanwhile set up by the CIA with makeshift headquarters at the Officers' Club. Mosaddegh was arrested at the Officers' Club and transferred to a military jail shortly after.

Shah's return

Shortly after the return of the Shah, on 22 August 1953, from his flight to Rome, Mosaddegh was tried by a military tribunal for high treason. Zahedi and the Shah were inclined, however, to spare the man's life (the death penalty would have applied according to the laws of the day). Mosaddegh received a sentence of 3 years in solitary confinement at a military jail and was exiled to his village not far from Tehran, where he remained under house arrest on his estate until his death, on 5 March 1967.[49]

Zahedi's new government soon reached an agreement with foreign oil companies to form a consortium and "restore the flow of Iranian oil to world markets in substantial quantities", giving the U.S. and Great Britain the lion's share of Iran's oil. In return, the U.S. massively funded the Shah's resulting government, including his army and secret police force, SAVAK, until the Shah's overthrow in 1979.[50]

Opinions

Mosaddegh was a fervent anti-Monarchist. Many times he reminds in his writings his great distaste for the Shah and the Monarchy. Moreover, Mosaddegh was opposed to the Tudeh Party and to communism, having a great respect for private property. However, he also had a great social spirit. Following his orders, the monthly salary he had to receive each time he was deputy or minister was distributed to poor students. Contrary to the majority of the Iranian political personalities, Mosaddegh paid his taxes very scrupulously and had become one of the greatest taxpayers of Iran. During the White Revolution of the Shah, he voluntarily distributed all his estates and ordered his children to do the same.

Mosaddegh is regarded as a great democrat who did everything he could to defend the people of Iran. He was also a secular person: he did not let Mehdi Bazargan take the post of Minister of Culture because he considered him being too religious for this post, thinking he would "put the veil on the head of all the girls in schools".

Mosaddegh was probably the most pro-American prime minister Iran had ever had.[51] He never really blamed the U.S. for the coup and mostly blamed the British government.

Legacy

Iran

The secret U.S. overthrow of Mosaddegh served as a rallying point in anti-US protests during the 1979 Iranian Revolution and to this day he is said to be one of the most popular figures in Iranian history.[9] Despite this he is generally ignored by the government of the Islamic Republic because of his secularism and western manners.[52]

The withdrawal of support for Mosaddegh by the powerful Shia clergy has been regarded as having been motivated by their fear of the chaos of a communist takeover.[53] Some argue that while many elements of Mosaddegh's coalition abandoned him it was the loss of support from Ayatollah Abol-Ghasem Kashani and other clergy that was fatal to his cause, reflective of the dominance of the Ulema in Iranian society and a portent of the Islamic Revolution to come. The loss of the political clerics effectively cut Mosaddegh's connections with the lower middle classes and the Iranian masses which are crucial to any popular movement in Iran.[54]

U.S. and other countries

Prime Minister Mosaddegh with President Truman

The US role in Mosaddegh's overthrow was not formally acknowledged for many years, although the Eisenhower administration vehemently opposed Mossadegh's policies. President Eisenhower wrote angrily about Mosaddegh in his memoirs, describing him as impractical and naive. However, Eisenhower did not admit any involvement with the coup.

Eventually the CIA's involvement with the coup was exposed. This caused controversy within the organization and the CIA congressional hearings of the 1970s. CIA supporters maintained that the coup was strategically necessary, and praised the efficiency of the agents responsible. Critics say the scheme was paranoid, colonial, illegal, and immoral.

In March 2000, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright stated her regret that Mosaddegh was ousted: "The Eisenhower administration believed its actions were justified for strategic reasons. But the coup was clearly a setback for Iran's political development and it is easy to see now why many Iranians continue to resent this intervention by America." In the same year, The New York Times published a detailed report about the coup based on declassified CIA documents.[6]

Due to his worldwide popularity, defiance of Britain, and fight for democracy, Mosaddegh was named as Time Magazine's 1951 Man of the Year. Others considered for that year's title included Dean Acheson, then-General (and future President) Dwight D. Eisenhower and General Douglas MacArthur.[55]

In early 2004, the Egyptian government changed a street name in Cairo from Pahlavi to Mosaddegh to improve relations with Iran.

Mosaddegh was good friends with Mohammad Mokri.

Mosaddegh in the media

Mohammad Mosaddegh plays an important role in the 2003 TV production Soraya,[56] which deals with the life of the Shah's second wife and former Queen of Iran, Princess Soraya Esfandiary Bakhtiari. Mosaddegh's role is played by Claude Brasseur.

See also

References

  1. ^ The ‹-e› is the Izāfa, which is a grammatical marker linking two words together. It is not indicated in writing, and is not part of the name itself, but is used when a first and last name are used together.
  2. ^ Mike Thomson (2005-08-22). "A Very British Coup, An award winning radio documentary from the BBC revealing ”the true extent of Britain's involvement in the coup of 1953 which toppled Iran's democratically elected government and replaced it with the tyranny of the Shah”". BBC Radio 4. http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/history/document/document_20050822.shtml. Retrieved 2006-11-03. 
  3. ^ "Leading Article: A counter-productive policy towards Iran". The Independent. 2003-06-16. http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qn4158/is_20030616/ai_n12691139. Retrieved 2007-04-07. 
  4. ^ The Middle East by John Coert Campbell, Arleen Keylin, p. 205.
  5. ^ The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money & Power by Daniel Yergin ISBN 9781439110126.
  6. ^ a b James Risen (2000-04-16). "Secrets of History: The C.I.A. in Iran". The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/library/world/mideast/041600iran-cia-index.html. Retrieved 2006-11-03. 
  7. ^ Dan De Luce (2003-09-20). "The Spectre of Operation Ajax". Guardian Unlimited. http://www.guardian.co.uk/iran/story/0,12858,1022065,00.html. Retrieved 2006-11-03. 
  8. ^ Mark J. Gasiorowski; Malcolm Byrne (2004-06-22). "Mohammad Mosaddegh and the 1953 Coup in Iran". National Security Archive. http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB126/index.htm. Retrieved 2006-11-03. 
  9. ^ a b Noreena Hertz, The Silent Takeover: Global Capitalism and the Death of Democracy, HarperCollins, 2003, ISBN 006055973X, Page 88
  10. ^ How to Overthrow A Government Pt. 1 on March 5, 2004
  11. ^ Key figures, telegaph.co.uk, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/campaigns/iran/irankey.xml, retrieved 2007-11-07 
  12. ^ IFVC, The Political Life and Legacy of Mosaddegh, Bahman Maghsoudlou, Iranian Film Directors, New Productions
  13. ^ Saikal, Amin The Rise and Fall of the Shah, Princeton University Press, 1980, p. 38.
  14. ^ Saikal, 1980, p. 38–9.
  15. ^ Linda Wills Qaimmaqami (1995), "The Catalyst of Nationalization: Max Thornburg and the Failure of Private Sector Developmentalism in Iran, 1947 - 1951", Diplomatic History, vol.19, no.1, pp.1-31
  16. ^ Stephen Kinzer (2003), All the Shah's Men, Wiley, ISBN 0471265179 pp.78-9
  17. ^ HarperCollins, 2003, ISBN 006055973X, Page 88
  18. ^ See, for example, Homa Katouzian (1981), Political Economy of Modern Iran, p.160; Mostafa Elm (1992), Oil, Power, and Principle, p.80;
  19. ^ Abrahamian, Ervand. Iran Between Two Revolutions, Princeton University Press, 1982, p. 266.
  20. ^ a b Abrahamian (1982) p. 268.
  21. ^ M. Fateh, Panjah Sal-e Naft-e Iran, p. 525.
  22. ^ a b Abrahamian (1982), p. 268–70.
  23. ^ Abrahamian (1982), p. 268–9.
  24. ^ Abrahamian (1982), p. 269.
  25. ^ Kinzer, All the Shah's Men, (2003) p.150-1.
  26. ^ Abrahamian (1982), p. 270–1.
  27. ^ Mosaddegh: The Years of Struggle and Opposition by Col. Gholamreza Nejati, p. 761.
  28. ^ Abrahamian (1982), p. 271.
  29. ^ a b Abrahamian (1982), p. 272.
  30. ^ a b Abrahamian (1982), p. 273.
  31. ^ Zabih, Sepehr. The Mosaddegh Era: Roots of the Iranian Revolution, p. 65.
  32. ^ Kinzer, All the Shah's Men (2003) p.135-6
  33. ^ Kinzer, All the Shah's Men (2003) p.159
  34. ^ Saikal, Amin, The Rise and Fall of the Shah, Princeton University Press, 1980, p. 42.
  35. ^ Mark J. Gasiorowski and Malcolm Byrne Mohammad Mosaddegh and the 1953 Coup in Iran, Syracuse University Press, May 2004. ISBN 0-8156-3018-2, p. 125.
  36. ^ James S. Lay, Jr. (20 November 1952) (pdf), United States policy regarding the current situation in Iran, George Washington University, http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB126/iran521120.pdf, retrieved 2007-11-07  Statement of policy proposed by the National Security Council
  37. ^ Walter B. Smith, Undersecretary (20 March 1953) (pdf), First Progress Report on Paragraph 5-1 of NSC 136/1, "U.S. Policy Regarding the Current Situation in Iran", George Washington University, http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB126/iran530320.pdf, retrieved 2007-11-07 
  38. ^ (pdf) Measures which the United States Government Might Take in Support of a Successor Government to Mosaddegh, George Washington University, March 1953, http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB126/iran530300.pdf, retrieved 2007-11-07 
  39. ^ Review of All the Shah's Men by Jonathan Schanzer
  40. ^ No traction for proposal to name street after Mosaddegh. Tehran Times. April 10, 2009
  41. ^ Malcolm Byrne, ed. (2 November 2000), The Secret CIA History of the Iran Coup, 1953, George Washington University, quoting National security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 28, http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB28/, retrieved 2007-11-07 
  42. ^ Halberstam, David (1993). The Fifties. New York: Ballentine Books. pp. 366–367. ISBN 0-449-90933-6. 
  43. ^ a b c Trying to Persuade a Reluctant Shah, New York Times Dec. 7, 2009.
  44. ^ First Few Days Look Disastrous, New York Times Dec. 7, 2009.
  45. ^ C.I.A. and Moscow Are Both Surprised, New York Times Dec. 7, 2009.
  46. ^ Eccentric Nationalist Begets Strange History, New York Times Dec. 7, 2009.
  47. ^ Iranian Constitution of 1906, Section 4, Article 46, 5 August 1906, http://www.worldstatesmen.org/Iran_const_1906.doc, retrieved 2009-06-20 
  48. ^ Pahlavani: Misinformation, Misconceptions and Misrepresentations
  49. ^ Photograph of the gravesite of Mohammad Masaddeq.
  50. ^ Associated Press (6 August 1954), Statements on Iran Oil Accord, The New York Times, http://www.nytimes.com/library/world/mideast/080654iran-statements.html, retrieved 2007-11-07 
  51. ^ http://cgi.stanford.edu/group/wais/cgi-bin/?tag=iran-mossadegh
  52. ^ Abrahamian, Khomeinism (c. 1993).
  53. ^ Nasr, Vali, The Shia Revival, Norton (2006), p. 124.
  54. ^ Mackay, Sandra, The Iranians, Plume (1997), p. 203, 4.
  55. ^ "Mohammad Mosaddegh, Man of the Year". Time magazine. 1951-01-07. http://www.time.com/time/subscriber/personoftheyear/archive/stories/1951.html. Retrieved 2006-11-19. 
  56. ^ Soraya (2003) (TV), Internet Movie Database, http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0348076/, retrieved 2007-11-07 

Further reading

  • Abrahamian, Ervand, Khomeinism: essays on the Islamic Republic. Berkeley: University of California Press, c 1993. 0-520-08173-0
  • Abrahamian, Ervand, Iran Between Two Revolutions, By Ervand Abrahamian, Princeton University Press, 1982
  • Amir Taheri, The Persian Night: Iran under the Khomeinist Revolution. Encounter Books, 2009, ISBN 978-1594032400
  • Farhad Diba, Dr. Mohammad Mossadegh; A Political Biography. London: Croom Helm, 1986, ISBN 0-7099-4517-5
  • Mostafa Elm, Oil, Power, and Principle: Iran's Oil Nationalization and Its Aftermath. Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 1994, ISBN 0-8156-2642-8
  • Mark Gasiorowski, U.S. Foreign Policy and the Shah: Building a Client State in Iran, Cornell University Press, 1991, ISBN 0-8014-2412-7
  • Mary Ann Heiss, Empire and Nationhood: The United States, Great Britain, and Iranian Oil, 1950–1954, Columbia University Press,1997, ISBN 0-231-10819-2
  • Sattareh Farman Farmaian & Dona Munker, Daughter of Persia: A Woman's Journey from Her Father's Harem through the Islamic Revolution. New York: Three Rivers Press, 2006. ISBN 0-307-33974-2
  • Stephen Kinzer, All The Shah's Men: An American Coup and the Roots of Middle East Terror, John Wiley & Sons, 2003, ISBN 0-471-26517-9
  • Stephen Kinzer, Overthrow: America's Century of Regime Change from Hawaii to Iraq, Times Books, 2006, ISBN 0-8050-7861-4
  • Nikki R. Keddie, Modern Iran: Roots and Results of Revolution, Yale University Press, 2003, ISBN 0-300-09856-1
  • Homa Katouzian, Musaddiq and the Struggle for Power in Iran, I B Tauris & Co, 1991, ISBN 1-850-43210-4
  • Mohammad Mosaddeq and the 1953 Coup in Iran, edited by Mark J. Gasiorowski and Malcolm Byrne. Translated into Persian as Mosaddegh va Coup de Etat by Ali Morshedizad, Ghasidehsara Pub. Co.
  • Mark J. Gasiorowski, The 1953 Coup D'État in Iran, International Journal of Middle East Studies, Vol. 19, No. 3, p. 261–86 (1987). JSTOR

External links

Preceded by
Hossein Ala'
Prime Minister of Iran
1951 – 16 July 1952
Succeeded by
Ghavam os-Saltaneh
Preceded by
Ghavam os-Saltaneh
Prime Minister of Iran
21 July 1952 – 19 August 1953
Succeeded by
Fazlollah Zahedi

Mohammad Mosaddeq
محمد مصدق

In office
28 April 1951 – 19 August 1953
Preceded by Hossein Ala'
Succeeded by Fazlollah Zahedi

Born 16 June 1882(1882-06-16)
Tehran
Died 5 March 1967 (aged 84)
Political party National Front
Religion Islam

Mohammad Mosaddeq ( Mossadeq ) (Persian: محمد مصدق , pronounced [mohæmmæd-e mosæddeq], also Mosaddegh, Mossadegh, or Musaddiq) (19 May 1882 – 5 March 1967) was the Prime Minister of Iran[1][2] from 1951 to 1953 when he was removed from power by a coup d'état. From an aristocratic background, Mosaddeq was an author, administrator, lawyer, prominent parliamentarian, and politican, famous for his passionate opposition to foreign intervention in Iran. He is most famous as the architect of the nationalization of the Iranian oil industry,[3] which had been under British control through the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (AIOC), (later British Petroleum or BP), and which is thought by many to be the reason for his deposition.

Mosaddeq was removed from power in a 19 August 1953 coup supported and funded by the British and U.S. governments and led by General Fazlollah Zahedi. [4] The American operation came to be known as Operation Ajax in America, [5] after its CIA cryptonym, and as the 28 Mordad 1332 coup in Iran, after its date on the Iranian calendar. [6] Mosaddeq was imprisoned for three years and subsequently put under house arrest until his death.

Among many in Iran and abroad, Mosaddeq is viewed as a hero of Third World anti-imperialism, and a victim of imperialist greed for Iran's oil.[7] However a number of scholars and historians believe that besides the direct involvement of the UK and US, a major factor in Mossadeq's overthrow was the reactionary clerical dissatisfaction with a secular government, fomented with CIA propaganda.[8]

Contents

Early life

Mosaddeq was born in 1882 in Tehran to an Ashtian Bakhtiari finance minister, Mirza Hideyatu'llah Khan (d.1892) and a Qajar princess, Shahzadi Malika Taj Khanum (1858–1933). By his mother's elder sister, Mossadeq was the nephew of Mozaffar al-Din Shah Qajar. When his father died in 1892, he was appointed the tax collector of the Khorasan province and was bestowed with the title of Mossadegh-os-Saltaneh by Nasser al-Din Shah.[9]

In 1901, Mossadeq married his distant cousin, Zahra Khanum (1879–1965), a granddaughter of Nasser al-Din Shah through her mother. The couple had five children, two sons (Ahmad and Ghulam Hussein) and three daughters (Mansura, Zia Ashraf and Khadija).

Education

Mossadeq received his Bachelor of Arts and Masters in (International) Law from University of Paris (Sorbonne) before pursuing a Doctorate in Law from the University of Lausanne in Switzerland. He received his Doctor of Philosophy in 1914 following a Bachelor of Economics in 1916. Mossadeq also taught at the University of Tehran before beginning his political career.[10]

Early political career

Mossadeq started his career in Iranian politics with the Iranian Constitutional Revolution, when at the age of 24, he was elected from Isfahan to the newly inaugurated Persian Parliament, the Majlis of Iran. In 1920, after being self-exiled to Switzerland in protest at the Anglo-Persian Treaty of 1919, he was invited by the new Persian Prime Minister, Hassan Pirnia (Moshir-ed-Dowleh), to become his Minister of Justice; but while en route to Tehran, he was asked by the people of Shiraz to become Governor of the Fars” Province. He was later appointed Finance Minister, in the government of Ahmad Ghavam (Ghavam os-Saltaneh) in 1921, and then Foreign Minister in the government of Moshir-ed-Dowleh in June 1923. He then became Governor of the Azerbaijan Province. In 1923, he was re-elected to the Majlis and voted against the selection of the Prime Minister Reza Khan as the new Shah of Persia.

In 1941 Reza Shah Pahlavi abdicated in favor of his son Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, and by 1944 Mosaddeq was once again elected to parliament. This time he took the lead of Jebhe Melli (National Front of Iran), an organization he had founded with nineteen others like Dr.Hossein Fatemi, Ahmad Zirakzadeh, Ali Shayegan and Karim Sanjabi, aiming to establish democracy and end the foreign presence in Iranian politics, especially by nationalizing the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company's (AIOC) operations in Iran.

Prime Minister

Support for oil nationalization

Most of Iran's oil reserves were in the Persian Gulf area and had been developed by the British Anglo-Iranian Oil company and exported to Britain. For a number of reasons — a growing consciousness of how little Iran was getting from the Anglo-Iranian Oil company for its oil; refusal of AIOC to offer of a ‘50–50% profit sharing deal' to Iran as Aramco had to Saudi Arabia; anger over Iran's defeat and occupation by the Allied powers — nationalization of oil was an important and popular issue with "a broad cross-section of the Iranian people."[11]

General Haj-Ali Razmara, the Shah's choice, was approved as prime minister June 1950. On 3 March 1951 he appeared before the Majlis in an attempt to persuade the deputies against "full nationalization on the grounds that Iran could not override its international obligations and lacked the capacity to run the oil industry on its own." He was assassinated four days later by Khalil Tahmasebi, a member of the militant fundamentalist group Fadayan-e Islam.[12] This order of events, while appearing in many mainstream historical accounts, confronts countervailing evidence. Firstly, "[US]embassy staffers early on speculated that Razmara might either be assassinated or become involved in a power struggle with the Shah."[13] These two concerns appear to converge according to Steven Kinzer, who notes that:

“[e]vidence emerged to suggest that the fatal shot had been fired not by Tahmasibi but by a soldier acting on behalf of the Shah or members of his inner circle, and that Asadollah Alam had knowingly driven him to his fatal rendezvous. Years later a retired Iranian colonel wrote in his memoir that the fatal shot had come from a Colt revolver, available only to soldiers. “An army sergeant, in civilian clothes, was chosen for the deed”, he asserted. “He had been told to shoot and kill Razmara with a Colt, the moment Tahmasibi began to shoot… Those who had examined the wounds in Razmara’s body were in no doubt that he had been killed by a Colt bullet, not by the bullet of a weak gun”.[14]

While this account is corroborated by several other studies[15], it remains a point of contention among historians. After negotiations for higher oil royalties failed, on 15 March and 20 March 1951, the Iranian Majlis and Senate voted to nationalize the British-owned and operated AIOC, taking control of Iran's oil industry.

Another force for nationalization was the Tudeh or Communist party. In early April 1951 the party unleashed nationwide strikes and riots in protest against delays in nationalization of the oil industry along with low wages and bad housing in oil industry. This display of strength, along with public celebration at the assassination of General Razmara made an impact on the deputies of the Majlis.[16]

Election as prime minister

On 28 April 1951, the Majlis named Mosaddeq as new prime minister by a vote of 79–12. Aware of Mosaddeq's rising popularity and political power, the young Shah appointed Mosaddeq to the Premiership. On 1 May, Mosaddeq nationalized the AIOC, cancelling its oil concession due to expire in 1993 and expropriating its assets. The next month a committee of five majlis deputies was sent to Khuzistan to enforce the nationalization.[17]

Mosaddeq explained his nationalization policy in a 21 June 1951 speech:

Our long years of negotiations with foreign countries… have yielded no results this far. With the oil revenues we could meet our entire budget and combat poverty, disease, and backwardness among our people. Another important consideration is that by the elimination of the power of the British company, we would also eliminate corruption and intrigue, by means of which the internal affairs of our country have been influenced. Once this tutelage has ceased, Iran will have achieved its economic and political independence.
The Iranian state prefers to take over the production of petroleum itself. The company should do nothing else but return its property to the rightful owners. The nationalization law provide that 25% of the net profits on oil be set aside to meet all the legitimate claims of the company for compensation…
It has been asserted abroad that Iran intends to expel the foreign oil experts from the country and then shut down oil installations. Not only is this allegation absurd; it is utter invention…[18]

The confrontation between Iran and Britain escalated from there with Mosaddeq's government refusing to allow the British any involvement in Iran's oil industry, and Britain making sure Iran could sell no oil. In July, Mossadeq broke off negotiations with AIOC after it threatened "to pull out its employees", and told owners of oil tanker ships that "receipts from the Iranian government would not be accepted on the world market." Two months later the AIOC evacuated its technicians and closed down the oil installations. Under nationalized management many refineries lacked the trained technicians that were needed to continue production. The British government announced a de facto blockade and reinforced its naval force in the Persian Gulf and lodged complaints against Iran before the United Nations Security Council.[17]

The British government also threatened legal action against purchasers of oil produced in the formerly British-controlled refineries and obtained an agreement with its sister international oil companies not to fill in where the AIOC was boycotting Iran. The AIOC withdrew its technicians from the refineries and the entire Iranian oil industry came to a virtual standstill, oil production dropping from 241.4 million barrels in 1950 to 10.6 million in 1952. This Abadan Crisis reduced Iran's oil income to almost nil, putting a severe strain on the implementation of Mossadeq's promised domestic reforms. At the same time BP and Aramco doubled their production in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Iraq, to make up for lost production in Iran so that no hardship was felt in Britain.

Still enormously popular in late 1951, Mosaddeq called elections. His base of support was in urban areas and not in the provinces.[19] This fact was reflected in the rejection of Mossadeq's bill for electoral reform (which no longer disqualified illiterates from electoral participation) by the conservative bloc, on the grounds that it would "unjustly discriminate patriots who had been voting for the last forty years".[20]

According to Ervand Abrahamian: "Realizing that the opposition would take the vast majority of the provincial seats, Mossadeq stopped the voting as soon as 79 deputies – just enough to form a parliamentary quorum — had been elected."[21] An alternative account is offered by Stephen Kinzer. Beginning in the early 1950s under the guidance of C.M. Woodhouse, chief of the British intelligence station in Tehran, Britain's covert operations network had funneled roughly £10,000 per month to the Rashidian brothers (two of Iran's most influential royalists) in the hope of buying off, according to CIA estimates, "the armed forces, the Majlis (Iranian parliament), religious leaders, the press, street gangs, politicians and other influential figures".[22] Thus, in his statement asserting electoral manipulation by "foreign agents", Mossadeq suspended the elections. His National Front party had made up 30 of the 79 deputies elected. Yet none of those present vetoed the statement, and the elections were postponed indefinitely. The 17th Majlis convened on February 1952.

Tension soon began to escalate in Majlis. Conservative opponents refused to grant Mosaddeq special powers to deal with the economic crisis caused by the sharp drop in revenue and voiced regional grievances against the capital Tehran, while the National Front waged "a propaganda war against the landed upper class".[19]

Resignation and uprising

On 16 July 1952, during the royal approval of his new cabinet, Mosaddeq insisted on the constitutional prerogative of the prime minister to name a Minister of War and the Chief of Staff, something the Shah had done hitherto. The Shah refused, and Mosaddeq announced his resignation appealing directly to the public for support, pronouncing that "in the present situation, the struggle started by the Iranian people cannot be brought to a victorious conclusion".[23]

Veteran politician Ahmad Qavam (also known as Ghavam os-Saltaneh) was appointed as Iran's new prime minister. On the day of his appointment, he announced his intention to resume negotiations with the British to end the oil dispute, a reversal of Mosaddeq's policy. The National Front — along with various Nationalist, Islamist, and socialist parties and groups[24] — including Tudeh — responded by calling for protests, strikes and mass demonstrations in favor of Mossadeq. Major strikes broke out in all of Iran's major towns, with the Bazaar closing down in Tehran. Over 250 demonstrators in Tehran, Hamadan, Ahvaz, Isfahan, and Kermanshah were killed or suffered serious injuries.[25]

After five days of mass demonstrations on Siyeh-i Tir (the 30th of Tir on the Iranian calendar), military commanders, ordered their troops back to barracks, fearful of overstraining the enlisted men's loyalty and left Tehran in the hands of the protesters.[26] Frightened by the unrest, Shah dismissed Qavam and re-appointed Mosaddeq, granting him the full control of the military he had previously demanded.

Reinstatement and emergency powers

With further rise of his popularity, a greatly strengthened Mosaddeq convinced the parliament to grant him emergency powers for six months "to decree any law he felt necessary for obtaining not only financial solvency, but also electoral, judicial, and educational reforms".[27] Mosaddeq appointed Ayatollah Abol-Ghasem Kashani as house speaker. Kashani's Islamic scholars, as well as the Tudeh Party, proved to be two of Mosaddeq's key political allies, although both relationships were often strained.

With his emergency powers, Mosaddeq tried to strengthen the democratically-elected political institutions by limiting the monarchy's unconstitutional powers,[28] cutting Shah's personal budget, forbidding him to communicate directly with foreign diplomats, transferring royal lands back to the state, expelling his politically active sister Ashraf Pahlavi.[26]

In January 1953 Mosaddeq successfully pressed Parliament to extend "emergency powers for another 12 months". With these powers, he decreed a land reform law that establishes village councils and increases in peasants shares of production.[29] This weakened the landed aristocracy, abolishing Iran's centuries-old feudal agriculture sector. Although Mosaddeq had previously been opposed to these policies when implemented unilaterally by the Shah[citation needed], he saw it as a means of checking the power of the Tudeh Party, which had been agitating for general land reform among the peasants.[citation needed]

However during this time Iranians were "becoming poorer and unhappier by the day" thanks to the British boycott. Mossadeq's political coalition began to fray, his enemies increasing in number.[30]

Partly through the efforts of Iranians working as British agents, several former members of Mossadeq's coalition turned against him. They included Muzzaffar Bazaui, head of the worker-based Toilers party; Hussein Makki, who had helped lead the takeover of the Abadan refinery and was at one point considered Mossadeq's heir apparent; and most outspokenly Ayatollah Kashani, who damned Mossadeq with the "vitriol he had once reserved for the British".[31]

Overthrow of Mosaddeq

Plot to depose Mosaddeq

[[File:|right|thumb|250px|Soldiers surround the Parliament building in Tehran on 19 August 1953.]] The government of the United Kingdom had grown increasingly distressed over Mosaddeq's policies and were especially bitter over the loss of their control of the Iranian oil industry. Repeated attempts to reach a settlement had failed.

Unable to resolve the issue single handedly due to its post-World War II problems, Britain looked towards the United States to settle the issue. Initially America had opposed British policies. After American mediation had failed several times to bring about a settlement, American Secretary of State Dean Acheson concluded that the British were "destructive and determined on a rule or ruin policy in Iran."[32] By early 1953, however, Dwight D. Eisenhower won the presidential election in the United States and the thus a change in the US policy toward Iran would change along with it.

Despite Mosaddeq's open disgust with socialism, Winston Churchill told the United States that Mosaddeq was "increasingly turning towards communism" and was moving Iran towards the Soviet sphere at a time of high Cold War fears.[33][34][35][36]

Acting on the opposition to Mosaddeq by the British government and fears that he was, or would become, dependent on the pro-Soviet Tudeh Party at a time of expanding Soviet influence,[37] the United States and Britain began to publicly denounce Mosaddeq's policies for Iran as harmful to the country.

In the mean time the already precarious alliance between Mosaddeq and Kashani was severed in January 1953, when Kashani opposed Mosaddeq's demand that his increased powers be extended for a period of one year.

Operation Ajax

In October 1952, Mosaddeq declared Britain an enemy, and cut all diplomatic relations.[38] In November and December 1952, British intelligence officials suggested to American intelligence that the prime minister should be ousted. The new US administration under Dwight D. Eisenhower and the British government under Winston Churchill agreed to work together toward Mosaddeq's removal. In March 1953, Secretary of State John Foster Dulles directed the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), which was headed by his younger brother Allen Dulles, to draft plans to overthrow Mosaddeq.[39]

On 4 April 1953, CIA director Dulles approved US$1 million to be used "in any way that would bring about the fall of Mosaddeq". Soon the CIA's Tehran station started to launch a propaganda campaign against Mosaddeq. Finally, according to The New York Times, in early June, American and British intelligence officials met again, this time in Beirut, and put the finishing touches on the strategy. Soon afterward, according to his later published accounts, the chief of the CIA's Near East and Africa division, Kermit Roosevelt, Jr. the grandson of U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt, arrived in Tehran to direct it.[40] In 2000, The New York Times made partial publication of a leaked CIA document titled, Clandestine Service History – Overthrow of Premier Mosaddeq of Iran – November 1952-August 1953. This document describes the point-by-point planning of the coup by agent Donald Wilbur, and execution conducted by the American and British governments. The New York Times published this critical document with the names censored. The New York Times also limited its publication to scanned image (bitmap) format, rather than machine-readable text. This document was eventually published properly – in text form, and fully unexpurgated. The complete CIA document is now web published. The word ‘blowback' appeared for the very first time in this document.

The plot, known as Operation Ajax, centered on convincing Iran's monarch to issue a decree to dismiss Mosaddeq from office, as he had attempted some months earlier. But the Shah was terrified to attempt such a dangerously unpopular and legally questionable move, and it would take much persuasion and many U.S. funded meetings, which included bribing his sister Ashraf with a mink coat and money, to successfully change his mind.

Mosaddeq became aware of the plots against him and grew increasingly wary of conspirators acting within his government. Soon Pro-Mosaddeq supporters, who were actually paid plants of the U.S. operation, threatened Muslim leaders with "savage punishment if they opposed Mosaddeq", giving the impression that Mosaddeq was cracking down on dissent, and stirring anti-Mosaddeq sentiments within the religious community. Mosaddeq then moved to dissolve the heavily-bribed parliament,under his emergency powers. After taking the additional step of abolishing the Constitutional guarantee of a secret ballot, Mosaddeq's victory in the national plebiscite was assured. The electorate was forced into a non-secret ballot and Mosaddeq won 99.93% of the vote. The tactics employed by Mosaddeq to remain in power were dictatorial in their result, playing into the propaganda efforts of those who favoured his removal.[citation needed] Parliament was suspended indefinitely, and Mosaddeq's emergency powers were extended.

Shah's exile

File:Shaban
Shaban Jafari in Tehran on 19 August 1953.

In August 1953, the Shah finally succumbed to the CIA plot, having been finally told by Roosevelt[citation needed] that the U.S. would proceed with him or without him, and formally dismissed the Prime Minister in a written decree, an act explicitly permitted under the constitution.[41] Then, as a precautionary measure, he flew to Baghdad and from there hid safely in Rome, Italy. He actually signed two decrees, one dismissing Mosaddeq and the other nominating the CIA's choice, General Fazlollah Zahedi, as Prime Minister.These decrees, or Farmāns as they are called, were specifically written as dictated by Donald Wilbur the CIA architect of the plan, which were designed as a major part of Wilbur's strategy to give the impression of legitimacy to the secret coup, as can be read in the declassified plan itself which bears his name. Wilbur was later given a letter of commendation by Alan Dulles, CIA head, for his work. It too is now declassified, and appears in Wilbur's autobiography.

Coup d'état

Soon, massive protests, engineered by Roosevelt's team, took place across the city and elsewhere with tribesmen paid to be at the ready to assist the coup. Fake anti- and pro-monarchy protesters, both paid by Roosevelt (as he reports in his book, cited), violently clashed in the streets, looting and burning mosques and newspapers, leaving almost 300 dead. The pro-monarchy leadership, chosen, hidden and finally unleashed at the right moment by the CIA team, led by retired army General and former Minister of Interior in Mosaddeq's cabinet, Fazlollah Zahedi joined with underworld figures such as the Rashidian brothers and local strongman Shaban Jafari,[42] to gain the upper hand on 19 August 1953 (28 Mordad). The military joined on cue: pro-Shah tank regiments stormed the capital and bombarded the prime minister's official residence, on Roosevelt's cue, according to his book. Mosaddeq managed to flee from the mob that set in to ransack his house, and, the following day, surrendered to General Zahedi, who was meanwhile set up by the CIA with makeshift headquarters at the Officers' Club. Mosaddeq was arrested at the Officers' Club and transferred to a military jail shortly after.

Shah's return

Shortly after the return of the Shah, on 22 August 1953, from his flight to Rome, Mosaddeq was tried by a military tribunal for high treason. Zahedi and the Shah were inclined, however, to spare the man's life (the death penalty would have applied according to the laws of the day). Mosaddeq received a sentence of 3 years in solitary confinement at a military jail and was exiled to his village not far from Tehran, where he remained under house arrest on his estate until his death, on 5 March 1967.[43]

Zahedi's new government soon reached an agreement with foreign oil companies to form a consortium and "restore the flow of Iranian oil to world markets in substantial quantities", giving the U.S. and Great Britain the lion's share of Iran's oil. In return, the U.S. massively funded the Shah's resulting government, including his army and secret police force, SAVAK, until the Shah's overthrow in 1979.[44]

Opinions

Mossadegh was a fervent Monarchist. Many times he reminds in his writings his great fidelity for the Shah and the Monarchy. Moreover, Mossadegh was opposed to the Toudeh party and to communism, having a great respect for private property. However, he also had a great social spirit. Following his orders, the monthly salary he had to receive each time he was deputy or minister was distributed to poor students. Contrary to the majority of the Iranian political personalities, Mossadegh paid his taxes very scrupulously and had become one of the greatest taxpayers of Iran. During the White Revolution of the Shah, he voluntarly distributed all his estates and ordered his children to do the same.

Mossadegh is regarded as a great democrat who did everything he could to defend the people of Iran. He was also a secular person: he did not let Mehdi Bazargan take the post of Minister of Culture because he considered him being too religious for this post, thinking he would "put the veil on the head of all the girls in schools".

Mossadegh was probably the most pro-american Prime minister Iran had ever had[45]. He never really blamed the USA for the Coup and mostly blamed the British government.

Legacy

Iran

The secret U.S. overthrow of Mossadeq served as a rallying point in anti-US protests during the 1979 Iranian Revolution and to this day he is said to be one of the most popular figures in Iranian history.[7] Despite this he is generally ignored by the government of the Islamic Republic because of his secularism and western manners.[46]

The withdrawal of support for Mossadeq by the powerful Shia clergy has been regarded as having been motivated by their fear of the chaos of a communist takeover.[47] Some argue that while many elements of Mossadeq's coalition abandoned him it was the loss of support from Ayatollah Abol-Ghasem Kashani and other clergy that was fatal to his cause, reflective of the dominance of the Ulema in Iranian society and a portent of the Islamic Revolution to come. The loss of the political clerics effectively cut Mossadeq's connections with the lower middle classes and the Iranian masses which are crucial to any popular movement in Iran.[48]

U.S. and other countries

File:465700356 7224b8bd14 o.gif
Prime Minister Mossadeq with President Truman

The extent of the US role in Mossadeq's overthrow was not formally acknowledged for many years, although the Eisenhower administration was quite vocal in its opposition to the policies of the ousted Iranian Prime Minister. In his memoirs, Eisenhower writes angrily about Mossadeq, and describes him as impractical and naive, though he stops short of admitting any overt involvement in the coup.

Eventually the CIA's role became well-known, and caused controversy within the organization itself, and within the CIA congressional hearings of the 1970s. CIA supporters maintain that the plot against Mosaddeq was strategically necessary, and praise the efficiency of agents in carrying out the plan. Critics say the scheme was paranoid and colonial, illegal, as well as immoral.

In March 2000, then-Secretary of State Madeleine Albright stated her regret that Mosaddeq was ousted: "The Eisenhower administration believed its actions were justified for strategic reasons. But the coup was clearly a setback for Iran's political development and it is easy to see now why many Iranians continue to resent this intervention by America." In the same year, the New York Times published a detailed report about the coup based on declassified CIA documents.[4]

For his sudden rise in popularity inside and outside of Iran, his defiance of the British, and his fight for democracy, Mosaddeq was named as Time Magazine's 1951 Man of the Year. Other notables considered for the title that year included Dean Acheson, President Dwight D. Eisenhower and General Douglas MacArthur.[49]

In early 2004, the Egyptian government changed a street name in Cairo from Pahlavi to Mosaddeq, to facilitate closer relations with Iran.

He was good friends with Mohammad Mokri until his death.

Mosaddeq in the media

Mohammad Mosaddeq plays an important role in the 2003 TV production Soraya,[1] which deals with the life of the Shah's second wife and former Queen of Iran, Princess Soraya Esfandiary Bakhtiari. Mosaddeq's role is played by Claude Brasseur.

See also

References

  1. ^ Soraya (2003) (TV), Internet Movie Database, http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0348076/, retrieved on 2007-11-07 

Further reading

External links

Preceded by
Hossein Ala'
Prime Minister of Iran
1951 – 16 July 1952
Succeeded by
Ghavam os-Saltaneh
Preceded by
Ghavam os-Saltaneh
Prime Minister of Iran
21 July 1952 – 19 August 1953
Succeeded by
Fazlollah Zahedi

Template:Time Persons of the Year 1951–1975


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