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Iranian People's Struggle for Freedom, the 1953 MI6 - CIA, Coup in Iran

By Abbas Sadeghian, Ph.D.

Writing this article was quite hard for many reasons:

a) At the time of 1953 coup I was only a few months old, therefore I had no participation in it; but all of my family were monarchists. Therefore, if I am going to be truthful I have to criticize my late father and uncle.

b) Unfortunately, if I am going to be truthful, I have to report and criticize one of the biggest blunders of American History.

c) This avoidable event was so unnecessary and it was so badly implemented, and the final results were so harmful, that reporting it is nerve-wracking.

Dr Mossadegh & MI6

Above picture is the last democratically elected prime minster in Iran. His name was Dr Mohammad Mossadegh. He was a lawyer, and he had a doctorate from university of Sour Bone in Paris. In this picture, you see him all beat up in the Shah's military court. He was found guilty and sentenced to three years. The man in the raincoat at far right is Mr. Shapur Jay. He was Tehran's MI6 station chief. He was also a Parsi (extremely patriotic original Persians living in India). Below the picture in Mr. Jay's handwriting, one can read "Mission accomplished." The bastard is so narcissistic that he is taking pride at his treason. In 1974 he was awarded the title of (SIR) by the queen. What is a Parsi doing being a SIR.

The era of nationalization of oil

If one wants to choose ten most harmful events in the Middle East during twentieth century, one will have a free hand to choose among thousands of conflicts. Events like 1967 Arab-Israeli war, the 1917 breakdown of the Ottoman Empire, the 1979 Iranian Revolution, the 1990 Iraqi invasion of Kuwait and many more. However I am convinced that the 1953 MI6/CIA coup had the most massive, irreversible and destructive impact for all of the countries of the Middle East as well as the United States. The damages are so profound and so horrific that its unintended consequences will never be simply buried in history books. I will tell you the truth as best as I can and you are the judge.

Brief history of Iranian oil 1906-1953

In 1908, the discovery of oil at Masjed Suleiman in southwest Iran caused a new era in the history of the Middle East. The geology of southwest Iran is dominated by the Zagros Mountains. The surrounding area contains several layers of organic-rich shales (petroleum source rocks) as well as thick fractured limestone and sandstone (reservoir rocks) which have been folded and faulted, thus creating enormous oil and gas accumulations in southwest Iran.

The D'Arcy Concession

In 1900, at the Paris Exposition, Kitabchi Khan, Iran's representative at the Exposition, was introduced to Mr Knox D'Arcy, a native of Devonshire who had made a fortune investing in a gold mine in Australia and was then living luxuriously in London and on the lookout for new commercial ventures.

In March 1901, D'Arcy sent his agent Alfred L. Marriott, together with Kitabchi Khan, to Tehran to negotiate for a concession from Iranian government. The timing was just right: the Iranian King Muzaffar al-Din Shah Qajar badly needed money to finance his expensive trip to Europe.

Mozzafaraldin Shah, Bisexual, Pedophiliac, borderline intellectual functioning

The king was just about the most ignorant king of our history.

Sir Arthur Harding, then the British Minister in Tehran, helped D'Arcy's team to meet with Iranian government officials to secure a concession by spending 10,000 pounds.

On May 28, 1901, the Shah granted D'Arcy the concession to explore, drill, produce, and export petroleum in Iran (with the exception of five Northern provinces close to Russia) for a period of 60 years. The Iranian government was to receive 20,000 pounds in cash, 20,000 pounds in shares from the company, and 16% of profits made by the first or any other company formed by this concessionaire. Kitabchi Khan was rewarded too; he continued to be on D'Arcy's payroll (1,000 pounds a year).

William Darcy

William Knox D'Arcy (1849-1917), was granted the most one sided concession to explore for oil in southern Iran. D'Arcy never visited Iran or any part of the Middle East. He became the first director of the Anglo-Persian Oil Company in 1909.

Drilling at Masjed Suleiman

The drilling of Well No. 1 at Masjed Suleiman began on 23 January 1908.

On May 26, the well hit oil - the gusher shot more than 20m above the rig. By the end of 1908, two more oil producing wells had been drilled at Masjed Suleiman.

digging oil

The Second Contract

As we mentioned earlier, the British chose Reza Shah Pahlavi to replace the old dynasty for several reasons. One of his duties was to renew the old contract between Iran and England.

Reza Shah, kept his promise and exchanged oil for the crown

Although the terms of this contract were somewhat better than before, it still was a badly colonial contract. Altogether Iran was receiving 30% of the profits, and the British pocketed the rest. After the allied invasion of Iran during the Second World War, there was a period of about 12 years of a mixture of freedom and chaos. Several nationalist politicians who had spent years in Reza Shah's prison were able to gain power and the best one of them, Dr. Mohammad Mossadegh, became the first democratically elected prime minister. He was an ardent anticommunist who truly believed in constitutional monarchy.

Toward the ends of the 1940s, there were strong sentiments in Iran against the British oil company and the oil contract with them. People wanted it changed. They wanted to have more of a say so in the conduct of the British oil company.

Seyyed Zeialddin Tabatabaii,
Iranian citizen, but a British slave

On the other hand, the British had just come out of two world wars and they were simply bankrupt. They were not in any shape to make any concessions involving money. They also carried the old colonial thoughts that the miserable peasants of the Middle East have no rights to their own damn oil. Consequently, when this issue began to pick up momentum they used all of their power to stop it. In the summer of 1952 Mohammad Reza Shah, the last king of Iran, fired Prime Minister Mossadegh, and appointed Prime Minister Gavamalsaltaneh to power.


Gavamalsaltaneh was a brilliant nationalist, arrogant, power hungry, aristocratic politician. Although these characteristics at one time were appealing in the country, he was toppled in 6 days. So the Shah had to reinstate Prime Minister Mossadegh, and he received the vote of confidence from congress, one of the few times in our history that we had a totally democratically elected leader in power. At this point, Prime Minister Mossadegh was able to create an effective coalition of several political parties and called it the National Front. He excited the population with the prospects of nationalization of the Iranian oil. This coalition was quite powerful because it also included the famous Ayatollah Kashani, who had a long history of anti-British defiance.

Ayatollah Kashani & Mossadegh

The British and the royal family did not like this event and they spent a lot of money to prevent it. They tried all that could be done; however they became more isolated, and rejected. Since the national front had the majority in parliament and solid popular backing, Mossadegh and his comrades were able to put the bill through the Congress and nationalize Iranian oil. During the same evening, a group of people poured into the residency of the main British officers in charge of the company and got a hold of many astonishing documents. That building was actually a house which belonged to a British officer with the name of Sedan. The people in the house managed to burn a lot of the documents of the British oil company. However, there were enough half-burned leftover documents to document the severe illegal activities and its intrusion in Iranian affairs. The British responded to Iran's one-sided revocation of the old colonial contract by taking the case to the international court.

British delegation, defending what?

This episode is probably one of the most glorious parts of Iranian history. Prime Minister Mossadegh went to the international court and defended Iran personally; since he was an eloquent lawyer he was able to win the case handily and the British lost.

Leading Iranian delegation, Prime Minister Mossadegh

The government of Britain was not accustomed to such unruly behaviors from the natives and was dealing with other problems as well. Mr. Gandhi had simply kicked them out of India. Mr. Hitler had caused massive and irreversible harm to British Empire. In short, the British Empire was not an empire any more. It was a few leftover pieces of a jigsaw puzzle which was hated by half of the planet. The British decided to teach the monkeys what a monkey should not do. They put a strict oil embargo on Iran. The Iranian ports were blockaded and neutral countries were not permitted to buy oil from Iran. This was quite effective. It deprived the country from its main source of revenue, which was oil. However, the people were quite supportive of the government. There were lines of people buying national bonds and giving their valuables to government to survive. But, a third problem was brewing that the British were able to exploit very well. In 1952, President Eisenhower was elected in the United States. His vice president Mr. Nixon was a staunch anticommunist. The Iranian communist party was the strongest communist party outside of the Soviet bloc. The British scared Ike about the possibility of a communist military coup in Iran and the possibility of a Russian takeover. This scenario was far-fetched because Mossadegh was as anticommunist as anybody, and the 30,000,000 population of Iran would not have permitted such a thing. Russians had taken their best shot when the red army was inside Iran and they couldn't do it. Especially with Stalin's death in March 1953, soviet expansionism had lost its esteem.

Tudeh party was pro-soviet and was popular

The MI6 spent several months preparing the environment for a change of government. They brought in all of their experts, servants and spies. They pulled in money and bribed whoever would accept it. They prevented other countries like France and Italy from buying oil from Iran. Eventually, the noose was getting tighter from the outside and things were falling apart from the inside. The British, having lost their best chance, decided to go for a coup. They had to achieve two goals before they could pull off such a thing:

a) Get the Ayatollahs out of the picture. That was accomplished by dispensing some money and scaring everybody of the threat of the communist party and the Russians.

b) Get the Americans on board. That meant sharing the loot with American oil corporations. This concession was more bitter than anything else, because it would hit them in the pocket.

They antagonized and flared up the rift between Mossadegh and ayatollah Kashani. Kashani had unrealistic demands and Mossadegh was stubborn. In those years he could not trust many people; ironically, some of the people that he appointed to positions of power were his own family members; yet in his final days, they betrayed him like everyone else. The British managed to create problems in every corner of the country making it very difficult for Mossadegh to rule. The old man put up a good fight. Although; he was eccentric, old and sick. He believed that with time he would be able to win Americans over and make a reasonable deal with them. The oil embargo was breaking the back of the country, but Mossadegh refused to sell oil to the Soviet block or China.

At that time there was competition between British petroleum and American oil companies. Americans wanted to take a bigger chunk of Middle Eastern oil. They had consolidated their position in Saudi Arabia with Armco; however Iran and Iraq were up for grabs. Mossadegh and his foreign minister made an exhaustive attempt to make a deal with Americans. Mossadegh's final offer was to sell the oil to Americans at a 40% discount.

Churchill and British intelligence officer trout, they brought the Shah to power for a rainy day.

That was just about the best deal Americans could have ever gained but again they were mesmerized by that old alcoholic, colonialist, aristocrat Sir Winston Churchill. Ike insisted that Iran should finish up its quarrels with England first and then try the US. Ike sent Mr. Henderson as an ambassador to Iran to assist the British to topple the Iranian government and set up a dictatorship, similar to those of South America.

Ayatollah Borojerdi

Ayatollah Kashani

There are reports that Ayatollah Kashani took $10,000 from the CIA. Interestingly, Ayatollah Khomeini, Ayatollah Falsafi and even Fadayeen e Islam, kept silent and they all permitted their thugs to assist the British.

Ayatollah Kashani and Shaaban the brainless

Falsafi in his memoirs openly admits that in choosing between Tudeh Party and the Shah, they took the Shah. While the pro soviet papers inside and outside of Iran were hitting Mossadegh harder than the Shah was. The ayatollahs simply did not like him because he was secular.

Ayatollah Kashani &Navab Safavi

On August 15 1953, the King wrote a letter to the Prime Minister firing him. And he wrote another one to retired general Zahedi to be the new Prime Minister. Interestingly General Zahedi was initially sent to exile by the British for being a Nazi sympathizer.

General Zahedi, a Hitler sympathizer turned American Ally

The letter which would fire the Prime Minister was delivered by General Nassiri, who was a colonel at that time.

Colonel Nassiri commander of the royal guard ignited the coup

Mossadegh tricked the colonel into waiting about an hour and simply had the army arrest him. Mossadegh didn't tell anybody about being fired. During the next three days many events took place. When the king knew that the Prime Minister had not accepted being fired, he escaped from the country.


His majesty had the bad habit of chickening out under the fire. This was not the only time he abandoned his supporters and left the country. He went to Rome. He was so scared of the peasants chasing him during the escape in Ramsar that his wife left one of her shoes on the tarmac. The first day was glorious. The government was under the illusion that it had neutralized the shah's coup attempt. However things got worse.

Coup planner, Kermit Roosevelt with a hand bag full of $$$$

Mr. Kermit Roosevelt was sent by the CIA to Iran, and he went around town and bribed several important people. The worst event for Mossadegh was that none of the ayatollahs came to his defense. A one line religious decree by Ayatollah Borojerdi or Kashani would have neutralized all anti-Mossadegh forces. On Aug 18th the famous thugs of the city with the blessing of Kashani, came out in force. They looted the Prime Minister's house. The retired general Zahedi was able to get some of the army moving. There was a collision between the different units of the army, and Mossadegh lost.

Tanks in Tehran on the day of the coup, Army sides with the shah

Mossadegh had two choices, he either had to surrender to Americans or ask the help of Russians; and him being the nationalist guy that he was got out of his house through the roof and surrendered himself to Americans to prevent the takeover of the country by the communists. The new Prime Minister sent a letter to the king telling him he should come back.

Shah Returns from Rome

The next 6 years were an era of butchering. All liberal members of the opposition were crushed. The members of the communist party were slaughtered. The military part of the communist party which included 600 officers were also captured, imprisoned and some were executed. The Prime Minister was taken to court and put under house arrest until he died. This event which is known as the 1953 CIA coup in Tehran is probably the dirtiest event in history of United States, and ironically most of it was masterminded by the British MI6.

Although the coup was successful, the blow-back from it was awful for the US. Americans lost the reputation of an honest broker and inherited all of the dirty reputation of England. The biggest losers were the Iranian people. It was not just that they got a bad oil deal again; they lost their last shot at democracy.

The Shah & Ike

Enjoying victory the next year

The Main Players of the coup:

Loy Henderson, American ambassador in Tehran 1953

Mr. Loy Henderson American ambassador and Ike's representative for the coup

Allen Dulles, CIA Director

Mr. Allen Dulles, Director of the CIA. All credit or blame is his to keep

John Foster dulls, Foreign minister

John Foster Dulles, secretary of State, one of the main forces behind the coup in D.C.

Colonel Schwartskoff, Organized the officers from Iranian Gendarmerie

Ashraf Pahlavi, got the thrown back for her brother

Ashraf Pahlavi, the Shah's twin sister, one of the main characters behind the coup. She has many adjectives to her credit, none of them are proper enough to write.

Mr. Ardeshir Zahedi the son of General Zahedi.

Zahedi was as active as his father in those days; he became the shah's son in law, foreign minister, and the Iranian ambassador to Washington .He has written a large book recently trying to prove that the events were not orchestrated by foreigners and that his father did not have any contact with Americans. During his best years as last Iranian ambassador to the U.S, Mr. Ardeshir Zahedi got married to Elizabeth Taylor for a while. Mr. Foreign Minister is famous for his vulgar language (pride of the country!!).

Rashidian (Major Organizer or Major traitor) 

Mr. Rashidian and his brother were two of the main organizers

Praveen Ghaffari, Actress, Shah's mistress

Parvin Ghaffari, shah's mistress and  a famous prostitute . She organized the mob. There are no pictures of her available except this one, and this could be a fake too

Shaaban Jafari (brainless), thug and clown of the coup

He was a follower of ayatollah Kashani, street thug, rabble-rouser, pedophiliac; after the coup became a Shah Supporter. He Died in Los Angeles a couple of years ago.

Dr Fatemi after Arrest

Dr H. Fatemi, Mossadegh's foreign minister. He lived in hiding until he was picked up by security forces.  A few minutes after this picture was taken, General Bakhtiar, Security chief of Tehran, permitted Shaaban brainless and his friends to knife him in front of Iran's police headquarters. He was tried and shot while he was sick and feverish from his wounds. Shaaban Brainless always swore to God that he did not knife Fatemi; the latest research indicates he used a clever. The officer behind Dr Fatemi is General Mobasser who with the help of Americans  broke the code of the Tudeh Party officers' code book. Between him and Bakhtiar, they uprooted all opposition.

Navab Safavi and Colonel Zibayee

All those opposition groups who sided against Mossadegh were demolished as well.

Shah and Zahedi

After one and a half years, General Zahedi was appointed to the position of ambassador to Switzerland, he was pushed out without any gratitude, He died in Exile , But had a great funeral in Tehran and was buried next to Reza Shah


Islamic Republic of Iran

1979 revolution was a direct response to 1953 coup

American hostages

Hostage crisis served many purposes but the emotional charge behind it was the 1953 coup.

General Nassiri Before Execution

Four star general Nassiri Commander of SAVAK minutes before execution.

Ayatollah Khalkhali

Nassiri raft, Khalkhali jayash neshast

... Payvand News - 01/03/11 ... --

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