Beyond Conspiracy Theories

Iran and the CIA: The Fall of Mosaddeq Revisited


Beyond Conspiracy Theories
by Fariba Amini

“Ayatollah Kashani called me one early morning to go see him in a village where he was staying, between Aqdasieh and Gardaneh Quchak. He told me to tell Dr. Mosaddeq that he wanted his sons to be appointed as Majlis deputies. I said but deputies are elected by the people and are not appointees. He said go tell Mosaddeq if they are not elected, ’I will bring him down’ [in the most crude way]. When I told Dr. Mosaddeq, he said go tell the Ayatollah that if he likes I can resign and he can take over. I am not in the business of selecting people’s deputies. The choice is with the people.” -- Memoirs of Nosratollah Amini, Mayor of Tehran, 1951-1953, Harvard Oral History Project, July 1983

“We honor the memory of the exalted Ayatollah Kashani and request the Iranian nation to participate in the commemoration ceremonies that will be held tomorrow and in the following days; on the same occasion we should express indignation over the injustice done to him and the Islamic movement by the nationalists and the blow inflicted by them on the Islamic movement in one episode of Iran’s history.” -- Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, March 13, 1983

“Even to imply that Dr. Mosaddeq was Laic [secular] is itself a new phenomenon which has occurred after the Islamic Revolution. It manifests itself in nationalism versus Islamism. This is in direct correlation to the attitude of the National Front vis is vis the Islamic Republic and not necessarily on the differences between Dr. Mosaddeq and Ayatollah Kashani in contemporary history on religious matters but more so on political issues.” -- Mohammad Ghouchani, “Why We Should Not Be Laic?”, Mehrnameh, April 2010

History Revisited: on Mosaddeq, the Clergy and the Coup in Iran

The fall of Mosaddeq and the role of foreign forces and Iranians are still debated among scholars and politicians alike. Fifty seven years after August 19, 1953, the debate remains as fresh as the day that changed Iran. Darioush Bayandor has come up with a new book Iran and the CIA: The Fall of Mosaddeq Revisited, in which argues the issues surrounding the events that led to the coup d’etat from a different perspective. Mr. Bayandor was an Iranian diplomat who held various posts at the United Nations during the Shah’s government. He was also a lecturer at Tehran and Melli universities in Iran. I had a chance to speak to him about his book.

What made you write this book?

The short answer is my frustrations with the foreigners distorting our history! By that I don’t just mean the chapter on Dr Mosaddeq’s twenty-seven months in office. What I mean is that hardly anything written about the history of Iran’s past fifty years, including by well known academics, has been free from errors or ideological slant. Our history became a victim of foreign-made clichés and reduced to bumper-sticker statements. The sad part is that our compatriots take stuff published in the West as gospel. We Iranians love conspiracy theories be it about the fall of Mosaddeq in 1953 or the fall of the monarchy in 1979. The fall of Mosaddeq of course involved foreign manipulation; the CIA and MI6 had indeed something to do with it but only by default. The coup d’état they had planned (TP-AJAX) failed to ignite on 16 August 1953. This set in motion internal political dynamics that led to fall of Mosaddeq three days later. This is the contention of my study. The point I am making is that the Americans did not have a plan B: When their TP-AJAX failed they moved “to snuggle up to Mosaddeq” in the words of General Walter Bedell Smith who ran the show then in Washington.

Whereas most scholars have argued or implied that the CIA and the MI6 were the main factors behind the fall of Mosaddeq, you say that in fact, Iranian domestic forces, especially clerics, were involved. You say, “in other words, the CIA indeed had a role in the overthrow of Mosaddeq, but mainly by default.” You claim that Kim Roosevelt overstated and exaggerated his role. Does that mean that you don’t believe that he single-handedly decided to go on with the coup even though there were specific instructions from Washington on Aug 16 to let go and return to the US?

As I just mentioned, the literature in the West on this episode has been based on the allegations by Kermit Roosevelt. Shortly after the publication of his book in 1979, scholars expounded that flawed narrative, mainly through interviews with former CIA operatives or by drawing on memoirs of British secret service operatives like Christopher Woodhouse or Sam Falle; the latter two were not even present at the time of events in Tehran. The former CIA operatives – I don’t want to characterize them as I have met none – helped themselves to chivalrous tales, NONE of which was later confirmed when the CIA’s own secret account of the episode leaked to the New York Times in the year 2000. This document is not however shy about admitting the details of the plot including the bribing attempts at earlier stages of the plot. Every single act the CIA and its agents had done between mid- April to 19 August 1953 has been detailed. I have devoted a full chapter (Anatomy of 19 August) in which I discuss the CIA duty-station’s activities in Tehran between 16 to 19 August, the role of their Iranian agents, the alleged grey and black propaganda in those four days and how Washington, London, even the American Embassy in Tehran, were taken by FULL surprise when Mosaddeq was overthrown on Wednesday 19 August. My narrative is based mainly on archival US and UK documents to a lesser extent on memoirs of the main Iranian protagonists, be it Dr. Mosaddeq himself, his minister of interior Dr. Sadiqi, Ardeshir Zahedi, or the Tudeh party leader Dr. Nureddin Kianouri. The secondary and tertiary evidence has always been checked for consistency with primary evidence. On that basis I have arrived at the conclusion that Roosevelt’s narrative borders on prevarication. Regretfully this narrative, fantastic as it is, has anchored in collective consciousness not just of Iranians, who really matter, but also of the western intelligentsia.

What about internal opposition forces and the dynamics within?

By focusing on the internal opposition and dynamics by no means do I endorse the claim by the late Shah and his imperial regime that the fall of Mosaddeq was the result of a qiam’e melli or spontaneous national uprising. I have argued that the commotions on 19 August were the result of some manipulations but not the way the current literature assumes. In the earlier chapters of the book I describe the character and the composition of the internal opposition, both secular and religious. Mosaddeq had stepped on too many toes. His reform of the system did not spare any of the big stakeholders. This he did when he was also engaged in an existential conflict with the super power that Britain was at that time. The secular opposition did everything to destabilize the government; some of them joined the TP-AJAX plot. The other part of opposition to Mosaddeq belonged to clerical ranks. Activist clerics, (Kashani, the Fadiyan-e Eslam of Navvab Safavi and the then mid-ranking Ruhollah Khomeini) turned against Mosaddeq for different reasons. But the members of the quietist strain among the ulama, led by Grand Marja Ayatollah Boroujerdi, initially were not against him. Mosaddeq however allowed a free sway to the Tudeh party in part because he used them as a scarecrow vis-à-vis Washington. Gradually and especially after the incident of Noheh’e Esfand ( 28 February 1953) the quietist perception and their attitude towards Mosaddeq changed. Mosaddeq’s conduct, in the eyes of Boroujerdi, raised the specter of republicanism of the Turkish variety, to be followed, maybe, by a communist takeover. A regime change was unacceptable to the quietist ulama; you will recall the episode of 1924 when the clerical establishment prevented prime-minister Reza khan to create an Ataturk-inspired republic. Since the early nineteenth century – I am talking about chronicled cases – clerics have systematically been in a position to mobilize, at short notice, the rabble and make them pour into the streets in the service of their politico-religious objectives. This is what they did on 18 and 18 August which sparked a fatal blow. Military coups are normally planned and executed at dawn. In this case no military unite entered the arena until the start of the afternoon. A full subsection in the book discusses the military aspects of the overthrow concluding that no organic link between the TP-AJAX coup and action by uniformed forces on 19 August had existed.

What is your take on the role of Tudeh Party and its leader, Kianouri?

At the time, Kianouri was only one member of an eight-member executive committee of the Tudeh (part of the Central Committee was in exile) with direct responsibility for the Tehran provincial committee. The initial assessment of the Tudeh when Mosaddeq’s National Front was formed in 1949 was that it served the interests of the US and should be countered. Kianouri later claimed that soon after Mosaddeq took over in late April 1951, he started gradually to soften his position, although in public he followed the hostile line of the majority of the Tudeh leadership. But the attitude of the party itself evolved. By September 1952, their slogan was the formation of a United National Front in cooperation with Mosaddeq’s anti imperialist campaign. Why this change came about and the story of the Tudeh post-mortems and regrets in later years merits a separate book. What is important to mention here is that Mosaddeq played up the Tudeh to persuade Washington that if the nationalists failed, the communists would take over. This was a double-edged sword but it was a tactic that eventually backfired. The Tudeh had deeply penetrated the armed forces. They blew the whistle on the coup. Kianouri, through his wife Maryam Firooz, had family links with Mosaddeq and personally tipped him off on the plot. After the flight of the Shah the next day, the Tudeh started a major campaign to achieve regime change.

On pages 46-47 you talk about George McGhee and Dean Acheson, arguing that, while Truman and Acheson were interested in supporting Dr. Mosaddeq’s government, they changed their tune. You state that while in Europe, Acheson was slowly influenced by Anthony Eden. Can you elaborate on this?

One of the challenges of the Truman, later the Eisenhower, Administration was how to balance its policies in relation to Britain and Iran. Britain was America’s closest ally in the cold war. The loss of Iranian oil had placed Britain in dire financial straits, at the verge of bankruptcy if we believe the Tory chancellor of exchequer Richard Butler. Americans were aware of that but feared that if Mosaddeq could not override the oil crisis Iran might fall to the communists. Fear of Iran ‘going Commie’ became a larger than life nightmare scenario for Washington. The State Department under Acheson- McGhee was sympathetic to Iran and managed to dissuade Britain from occupying Abadan militarily. But Britain had an astute ambassador in Washington in the person of Sir Oliver Franks who did effective lobbying, and at one point in May 1951 the Department was overruled by the NSC in what was seen as a skewed pro-Iranian stance. The policy synthesis was that Washington must actively work to break the oil logjam; this set in motion a series of mediation efforts that I have fully covered in the book. Then in October 1951 when Mosaddeq was in Washington, the Tories won the elections in Britain and Churchill replaced Atlee while to Eden became foreign secretary. He had a much higher stature than his labor predecessor Morrison. During the tripartite ministerial meeting in Paris in November 1951 Eden seemingly convinced Acheson to abandon that balanced policy line and stonewall Mosaddeq both on an oil deal [that McGhee had prepared] and on Mosaddeq’s loan request. It seems, though there is nothing in the records to make it certitude, that Eden convinced Acheson that British subterfuges against Mosaddeq would work. As I have explained in the book, paradoxically, the British diplomacy was totally out of touch with realities in Iran mainly because of an incompetent Ambassador in Tehran, Sir Francis Shepherd, and the attitude Ann Lambton et al in London who virtually dictated the Iran policy. Several times they thought they could replace Mosaddeq by their favorite politician Seyyed Zia or later by Ahmad Qavam. Buying into these assumptions led to a volte- face by Acheson against Mosaddeq who was then sent back to Tehran empty-handed. It is about this time that the pro-Mosaddeq US ambassador Henry Grady was replaced with Loy Henderson while McGhee become ambassador to Turkey.

Why did Truman decide not to give the loan that Mosaddeq had requested? I have seen a communiqué in the British archives from just before the coup, in which the British ask the Americans not to give the loan to Mosaddeq. On Aug 23, another communiqué was sent from the British Embassy to the US State Department suggesting to them to go ahead and give the loan to the Zahedi government.

For reasons already explained the US decided to tie any financial aid (over and above Point 4 and limited military aid) to Mosaddeq to tangible progress in oil negotiations. In other words as long as Mosaddeq remained adamant on an oil settlement no aid was forthcoming; this was clearly a means of pressure. They were on the other hand prepared to be lot more generous towards a replacement to Mosaddeq who would resolve the oil issue. In July 1952 they had agreed to generously help what turned out to be an ephemeral Qavam Government. Later Mosaddeq complained to Henderson about this negative attitude. By the same token the American had pledged and did in fact financially help the Zahedi government when Mosaddeq was finally overthrown.

Do you believe that the CIA did not pay hooligans such as Sha’ban bi mokh to instigate the anti- Mosaddeq demonstrations in Tehran? You claim that he was in jail at the time? Why was he in jail?

There is no evidence in the CIA’s own secret history document to support the proposition that the CIA money was disbursed at any time AFTER the failure of the TP-AJAX on 16 August 1953 for crowd manipulation of bribing of Iranian actors. In fact the weight of evidence suggests that after that failure, the CIA chief operator Roosevelt started to wrap up and close down the shop and leave Tehran. He requested an ex-filtration arrangement for fifteen people (presumably to rescue people involved in the failed coup), opined in a cable to Washington that in the immediate future Mosaddeq was reinforced and enquired from the CIA/Washington whether TP-AJAX should be carried out or abandoned? CIA sent out circulars that the coup had been tried and failed. It ordered Roosevelt that, “in the absence recommendation to contrary by Henderson and himself” to leave Iran immediately. As for Shaaban Jafari ( Bimokh), he was then serving a one year prison sentence for having attempted to force his way to Mosaddeq’s residence, bumping his jeep into the grill on noh’e Esfand 1332 (28 February 1953).

On page 81 you talk about General Zahedi. But in my opinion you are too soft on him. Was he not a corrupt man? Was he not a grain hoarder as many claim he was? What was his role?

As I clearly stated in the preface of the book (page xvi) it has not been my intention to pass value judgment on the protagonists, only write what I consider factual history. The career path of General Zahedi clearly is not a focus of my study but facts related to him have been stated as he was a main player in that saga. No matter how his detractors view him, one cannot deny that he was the man dispatched by Reza Khan (later Shah) to Mohammareh (later Khoramshar) in Khuzestan in 1924 to put an end to centrifugal tendencies of the British- backed Sheikh Khaz’al. Zahedi actually delivered Khaz’al to Tehran peacefully where the latter spent the rest of his life as a state guest. Also in Gilan later in Fars General Zahedi commanded pacification campaigns in 1920’s and in 1946. Finally, as head of the national Police in 1948-49 he ensured a flawless parliamentary elections in Tehran that led to the election of Mosaddeq and seven other of his National Front companions to the 16th Majles, something that prompted Mosaddeq to appoint him the Interior minister in his first cabinet. General Zahedi has also been accused of corruption, be it debauchery or financial wrongdoings, by his detractors something that I have also mentioned together with the categorical denial by his entourage.

Why do you think many of Iran’s clergymen never mention the name of Mosaddeq in a positive way? Why this animosity towards a man and a political leader who had the Iranian people’s interest at heart throughout his life?

The answer lies in the fact that there is a direct ideological lineage between some of Mosaddeq’s most ferocious foes and the founders of the Islamic Republic. Ayatollah Khomeini in person, according to research conducted by the Sorbonne scholar Yann Richard, was involved in anti Mosaddeq campaign, side by side with Ayatollah Kashani around the time of Mosaddeq’s referendum (to dissolve the majles) in July- August 1953. Both were spiritual guides of the Fadayan’e Eslam of Navvab Safavi who threatened to have Mosaddeq killed. Together with his accomplices Navvab Safavi was in jail during the latter part of Mosaddeq’s rule for ordering the assassination Dr. Hossein Fatemi. The remnants of the Fadayann in 1963, at Khomeini’s behest, created Jamiat’e Motalefeh’e Eslami which became one of the pillars of Islamic revolution and government. The current leader, ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in his auto-biography published on his official website proudly admits that he was jolted into the political arena inspired by Navvab Safavi who became an instant martyr icon the Islamic revolution triumphed. This is why Mosaddeq is a persona non grata in the Islamic republic.

How would you characterize Dr. Mosaddeq in a few words? Should the young people of Iran accept him as a model for secular democracy and an exemplar of the rule of law?

Young Iranians should laud Mosaddeq and proudly treasure his legacy. Mosaddeq belongs to the pantheon of Iran’s long history. He stood for the rights of a most fragile and weak nation confronting the supper-power that Britain then clearly was. Mosaddeq is also in the vanguard of the third word emancipation from the yoke of imperialism. That said, Mosaddeq was certainly not infallible. He has been stereotyped in the West as the “democratically elected leader” overthrown by the CIA after which it then put the shah back on his throne. In reality Mosaddeq was a product of the prevailing oligarchic system which brought him to power. Mosaddeq was secular and must have been a democrat at heart but the oligarchic system did not lend itself to democratic ways in the western understanding of the term. In order to effectively govern he trampled all the state institutions and towards the end created a system of governance that resembled more a benevolent dictatorship. He allowed legitimacy, which was undisputedly his, to trump legality. More importantly his strategic errors in handling of the oil dispute prompted the Eisenhower administration to join hands with Britain and with his internal detractors to plot his overthrow. This proved profoundly consequential for future course of Iran’s history.

Would you not say that under the circumstances, Mosaddeq would not have been able to stay on because the British did not want to set an example for the rest of the Middle East? He was not corruptible and at some point they would have brought him down?

From day one the Brits did everything they could do to undermine Mosaddeq and have him replaced. They did not succeed in their subversive track. They did not succeed in their subversive track. The TPAJAX became possible when Mosaddeq broke off the oil talks on 11 March 1953. The Americans despaired and joined hands with the Brits but even that did not succeed due to internal factors. The plot planners had not reckoned with the Tudeh. Having penetrated all army units, the Tudeh blew the whistle on the coup. The coup plan itself, drawn by Anglo-American spymasters, was sloppy and had it not been for their Iranian counterparts (Karimi-Zand) it would have prematurely been blown off. Why do we give so much credit to foreigners? My take is “Az Ma’st keh bar ma’st.”

Do you believe the Shah was a weak leader? Do you think as he states in his memoirs, it was the West who decided it was time for him to leave the peacock throne?

The Shah reigned for over 37 years from the age of twenty-two to sixty. One cannot pass a judgment over such wide canvass with a single brush. Up until the end of Mosaddeq’s rule the shah broadly maintained a healthy, at time constructive, posture on state affairs. The Shah did not like Mosaddeq or for that matter any strong prime- minister that could overshadow or, worse, unseat him. But he still remained a constitutional monarch. He successfully resisted several serious attempts by Britain, later joined by the Americans, to dismiss Mosaddeq. These episodes happened in October 1951 and in May 1952. Even a year later when the America Ambassador Henderson approached the Shah in the context of the TP-AJAX to sound him out about the appointment of General Zahedi, the Shah balked and pleaded to Henderson to support Mosaddeq financially to let him handle the oil crisis. These come from official records of the state department. Later in order to enlist the shah’s support for the TP-AJAX coup plot, the Americans literally resorted to blackmailing the shah. Details based on American archive documents are given in my book. After Mosaddeq’s overthrow in august 1953 the shah started committing grave errors. One was to agree to put Mosaddeq on trial and imprison him. Later in 1959 but especially after his first clash with clerics over land reform and women’s status in 1962 the shah turned again to the National Front and tried to reach a modus vivendi with them. The left wing of the Front – including Mehdi Bazargan – rejected the shah’s overture. After that, the shah went on with his White Revolution, having arrived at the conclusion that he could do it alone. A period of authoritarian reign, heighted in later years by a measure of megalomania, threw the country into the chaos and darkness of which our girls and boys in Iran to-day are the victims. The shah mismanaged the crisis in 1978 which was of his own making; from this vantage point, yes, he was indeed a weak leader. This said, he was also a leader replete with positive ambitions for Iran who worked hard to achieve them. His is a mixed bag of avoidable failures and impressive successes (oil and foreign policy in particular) ending as a protagonist in a Greek tragedy.

In 1999, Madeleine Albright made a public apology admitting to the US meddling in Iran under the Eisenhower administration. How do you reconcile this admission with your conclusion that the fall of Mosaddeq was the result of mainly internal dynamics?

What Madeleine Albright and later President Obama, in his Cairo speech, alluded to is of course historically accurate. The U.S. did try to overthrow Mosaddeq and their plot or meddling (as Albright puts it) set in motion a process that eventually led to the fall of Mosaddeq on 19 August. As a result of the Shah’s departure, political forces from the left and the right clashed generating dynamics that resulted in the fall of Mosaddeq. I am simplifying a highly complex set of events in one phrase but the point is that the eventual fall of Mosaddeq’s government was in effect the backwash of that inappropriate meddling Albright refers to. This is not to say that the CIA operatives’ later claims correspond to reality. Now, the more interesting aspect of Albright’s statement is why it was made. It surely was not an act of Christian repentance to lighten the burden of a guilty conscience. The Clinton administration was preparing the ground for the normalization of relations with the Islamic Republic. The recent White House documents released under the Freedom of Information Act which are available on the web clearly show this policy line. Mr. Khatami, a moderate, was then the President. The assumption in Washington, inculcated by some American historians, was that the regime’s unremitting hostility towards the United States was at least in part related to the US being behind the fall of Mosaddeq. Just as leaders from time to time make historical apologies for past misdeeds, the Clinton White House thought such a statement would go a long way to clear the air. If anything the apology should have been unequivocally addressed to the Iranian people.


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Veiled Prophet of Khorasan

With all

by Veiled Prophet of Khorasan on

due respect to Dr Mossadegh the Shah did a lot of good for Iran. Without his reforms and modernization we would be nothing. I rather Mossadegh had not made  a big deal of oil; not nationalized it.

Instead of betting our future on oil I rather bet it on our own abilities. Oil was a curse that has been haunting us since its discovery. Mossadegh fell for it. Let the damn thing be gone. The times when Iran was great was without oil. 

Dr Mossadegh picked fights he could not win. Yes he was a nationalist; he loved Iran. But he was a terrible strategist. If you want to take on the British you better be prepared. Nationalism and bravery is not enough; not today not then. 

We have too much hot air and too many hotheads.

We need more pragmatists.


Cyrus Saify

And you happen to be one of them

by Cyrus Saify on

I find in your comments attempts to belittle and discredit Bayandor’s book when it is clear that you haven’t read his work. Just because Bayandor’s work offers another paradigm from your bigoted opinions you are accusing him of “reinterpretations of history that serve their Shahollahi and Hezbollahi patrons”. What a load of nonsense. 

You remain asphyxiated and unable to release yourself from the paradigms that can only imagine the Shah as evil and Mossadegh as a force for good. The reality is not as black and white as you assume.

Cyrus Saify

You remain asphyxiated

by Cyrus Saify on

Most contemporary historians writing on Iran seem asphyxiated and unable to release themselves from the paradigms that can only imagine the Shah as evil and Dr. Mossadegh as a force for good. The reality is not as black and white as some lazy/inflexible historians, suggest.

A flawed man the Shah most certainly was. However, it is undeniable that the Pahlavi dynasty, put in a historical context and compared to what came before and after, represented one of the most dynamic and productive eras in Iran's very long history. Iran would not exist as a sovereign entity today had Reza Shah not struggled so ferociously against British and Russian interest, who with the acquiescence of the corrupt and inept Qajar’s, were on the verge of splitting the country apart. Nor can his son's contributions to the creation of modern Iran be ignored or completely diminished.

Mossadegh will always remain a beacon to Iranians who dream that their country one day will be a stable democracy. Mossadegh and the men around him were elite nationalists, with somewhat dubious democratic credentials, who could have brought about lasting change but were stymied by the course of history and their own miscalculations.

The losers in all of this are Iranians who as a result of the failure of both men, have ended up subjected to the brutality of a clique of third-rate degenerates who are battling each other for supremacy of a sinking ship.


Well said Fariba;

by fooladi on

 "The Shah paid the clerics to keep them quiet.  There were more mosques constructed than anytimes during the reign of his father.  The Shah considered himself very religious (remember what he said after he was injured after an assasination attempt) and he gave lip service to them.  Kashani and the other clerics did not want the Shah to leave Iran.  He was indebted to them. "

Very learly , the sows of the islamic egime were sown by CIA/MI5 on the day the democtratic government of Dr Mossadegh was overthrown. Why some still refuse to acknowledge this historical fact to this day, just bemuses me.


Interesting Discussion ...

by R2-D2 on

I found this video today at the following blog:



Hopefully, a constructive discussion can ensue -




Farah Rusta

The Shah never denied his religiosity. He was open about it!

by Farah Rusta on

Unlike Mossadegh he did not FAKE it.  

Which history do we have to read Ms Amini? The history written by your late father? Or the history written by a publicity seeking American journalist who has no access to or understnading of the Iranian side of the story and Iranian resources. Perhaps you prefer the hsitory written by promotion seeking Iranian academics with open allegiances and bias towards Jebhe Melli? Why is Jebhe Melli so scared of former anti-Shah historians like Milani, Mirfetros and Ajoudani when thy re-examine the history of 1951-53? Even Matini who was not an anti-Shah academic cannot be refuted in his analysis (negahi beh kaarnaameh siaasi doctor mossadegh) except by dersion from fanatics like Behgar. 

The shah was an openly religious person and made no pretentions about it. But the question you are avoiding to address is your false suggestion that Mossadegh was Laic. The evidence presented here shows the complete opposite of what is knwon as Laicite.FR

Fariba Amini

The Shah and Islam

by Fariba Amini on

The Shah paid the clerics to keep them quiet.  There were more mosques constructed than anytimes during the reign of his father.  The Shah considered himself very religious (remember what he said after he was injured after an assasination attempt) and he gave lip service to them.  Kashani and the other clerics did not want the Shah to leave Iran.  He was indebted to them. 

Those who want to discredit Dr. Mosaddeq will never be able to do so. His legacy is stamped on our contemporary history forever. 

Whether Rusta or Shahri,  instead of engaging in slander, read the history of your country with an open eye and speak the truth.


Veiled Prophet of Khorasan

Farah Jan

by Veiled Prophet of Khorasan on

Thank you for your detailed posting on Mossadegh. I used to think highly of him but the more I learn of his the more disappointed I get. We seem to have a habit of idolizing people. This leads to creation of "demi gods" from Mossadegh to Imam Ali we forget these are people with faults as  well as virtues. I do blame Mossadegh for not being willing to work with the Shah. For being a hard liner and for cozying up to the Islamists.

He took some very big risks and lost. Then planted the seeds of anger that led to IRI. If he had picked the Shah instead of Islamists we would not be here now. His poor judgment cost him his position and us 30+ years of progress. 

Farah Rusta

More on Mossadegh's appeasement of Islamists

by Farah Rusta on


Dear Veiled Prophet of Khorasan


The reason I quoted the excerpt from Mossadegh's speech in relation to Reza Khan's election to the throne was an answer to those who claim Mossadegh was a Laic. Whether Mossadegh believed in the principle of Laicite or not is not important nor can one tell for certain. The importance of these less publicized historic facts is to show that he did not follow the principle of Laicite as is claimed by the author of this article. From his overtures to Kashani to shore up the Islamic support, to the appointment of staunch Muslim characters like Kazemi (his first foreign minister) Bazargan (his envoy to undo the British rule of the oil fields) and Sanjabi (his key cabinet member) were all in line with is mixing affairs of the government with those of the religion. Here is another example as quoted from Mirfetros's book (aasib-shenaasi yek shekast). Now compare the closure of mixed sex schools by Mossadegh's minister of education Dr Azar (to appease Kashani) with Sarkozy's government ruling that no Islamic dress can be worn in France's state schools. Which one is adherence to the principle of Laicite?  


 بعدها ترکيب کابينه دکتر مصدق نيز آئينه تمام نمائی از اين التقاط و تناقضات بود : بقول سعدی : «گروهی به ظاهر جمع و در باطن پريشان»
. لذا لازم بود که مصدق ضمن دورانديشی نسبت به ماهيّت ناپايدار و متزلزل
اين دوستان مختلف العقيده ، در شعارها و عملکردهای سياسی اش از اعتدال و
عقلانيّت سياسی بيشتری برخوردار می بود ( دوستانی که بزودی عملکردهای دکتر
محمد مصدق را با چنگيز و هيتلر مقايسه کردند ! ) بعنوان مثال در حاليکه
مذهبی متعّصبی بنام باقرکاظمی ، وزير امورخارجه مصدق شد ، و مهندس مهدی
بازرگانِ اسلام پناه ، معاون وزير فرهنگ بود ، دکتر مهدی آذر (پزشک عمومی
) وزير فرهنگ دولت دکتر مصدق گرديد که اولين اقدامش بستن مدارس مختلط (
دخترانه ـ پسرانه ) بود ! و يا در حاليکه خودِ دکتر مصدق با امضاء کردن
قرآن و ارسال آن برای شخص شاه ، وفاداری خود را نسبت به شاه و نظام سلطنت
مشروطه اعلام می داشت مشاور نزديک و سخنگوی دولت او ( شادروان دکــتر
حسيـن فاطمی ) در نشريه « باختر امروز » شديدترين حملات را به
خاندان سلطنتی ابراز می کرد و سوداهای ديگری در سر داشت . در راستای اين
التقاط سُنّت و تجدّد بود که مصدق در سخنرانی ها و پيام های خويش ـ غالباً
ـ ايران و اسلام را با هم و در کنار هم بکار می بُرد



Veiled Prophet of Khorasan


by Veiled Prophet of Khorasan on


did all these people have to pay homage to Islam? I mean it is one thing putting a pretense to keep the nuts at bay. But actually going out of your way to embrace it: why? I do not see how any patriotic Iranian could embrace an imposed religion. One whose sole purpose it to promote Arab imperialism. Wake up people!

Farah Rusta

On Mossadegh and Islam

by Farah Rusta on

Here is an excerpt from the speech given by Mossadegh in the fifth Majlis when he highly praised Reza Khan Pahlavi for his services to the nation but opposed his appointment as a monarch on the grounds that Reza Khan would serve the nation's interests better as a prime minster (or a president) than as a king. Reza Khan, in agreement with Mossadegh, was more inclined to be the president of a republic.

Here Mossadegh re-asserts his deep commitment to the Islam and Islamic values and recites his Islamic vows by pulling out a pocket size Quran and asking the parliament to rise to honor the Quran:

بنده در سال
گذشته در حضور آقایان محترم به کلام الله قرآن مجید قسم یاد کردم که تا زنده ام به
مملکتم ایران و ملت شریف و بزرگوار ایران هرگز خیانت نکنم. آن ساعتی که قسم خوردم
مسلمان بودم وحالا هم مسلمان هستم واز آقایان تمنی دارم به احترام این قرآن
برخیزند (  در این موقع کلام الله قرآن
مجید را از کتم بیرون آورده و حضار قیام کردند) و در حضور همه آقایان بنده شهادت
خودم را می گویم: اشهدان لااله الاالله 
اشهدان محمدا رسول الله اشهد ان علیا ولی الله. من شخصی بودم مسلمان و به
این کلام الله قسم یاد کردم و این ساعت هم این کلام الله خصم من باشد و مرا نابود
گرداند اگر در عقیده خودم یک اختلاف و تفاوتی حاصل کرده باشم. من همان بودم که
هستم و امروز هم اگر یک چیزی برخلاف مصالح مملکت و مردم ایران به عقل و درایت خود
ببینم خود را موظف می دانم که برای حفظ ممکلت و مردم ایران و بقای اسلام و دینم از
اظهار نظر خودداری نکنم. بنده و همه آقایانی که این جا تشریف دارند غیر از آقایانی
که از ملل (  یعنی ادیان ) متنوعه هستند
همه را مسلمان و هواخواه مملکت ایران وطرفدار اصلاحات می دانم و خودم هم نمی توانم
از اظهار عقیده خودداری کنم. آقایان می دانند که بنده حرفم از روی عقیده است و
هیچوقت تابع هوی وهوس و احساسات و نظرات شخصی نیستم. امروز هم روزی نیست که کسی در
اینجا نظرات شخصی بخرج بدهد. و اگر کسی پیدا شود که نظرات مملکتی و ملی و اسلامی
خود را اظهار نکند بنده او را بنام ملت ایران و حکم وجدان ملی  وشرافت همه مردم ایران اورا پست و بی شرف و
خائن و مستحق مرگ می دانم.




Mr. Afshin

by Ahura on

With due respect, the following links may help you get some of your facts straight:

// //

One quickie is that Iranians did not vote for Prime Minister, they elected the members of parliament (majles) who in turn elected the Prime Minister. On 28 April 1951, the Majles elected Dr. Mohammad Mossadegh as Prime Minister by a vote of 79-12.

If you refer to Google and type in quotations the first few words of any of William Shakespeare’s poems you can get it correctly if you intend to quote and not paraphrase him. The quote you wrote should be:

“The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars,
But in ourselves, that we are underlings.”

Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare


Dariush The King

I hardly ever misspell Dr.

by Dariush The King on

I hardly ever misspell Dr. Mosaddegh. My apology.  They have even infected the dictionary and are trying to teach us how to spell words and names in Farsi.

Dariush The King

Mossadegh was supported by

by Dariush The King on

Mossadegh was supported by majority and that is why Shah appointed him. To have him on his side and with him the majority. 

Mossadegh was democratic unlike shah. With or without and election, he did have the support of the majority,  Otherwise, shah would have no need to Coup d'etat.  As I wrote before, it is not so much about king or president. It is how they come to power and how they run the country.  If Dr. Mossadegh was given enough time, there would be an election and his government would have been officially elected by people.  You speak of constitution. We just had that discussion in another blog.  A constitution that doesn't serve people, is not for people. Therefore, it is unjust and void. Common sense, short and simple.  The same constitution that Ahmadinejad is referring to in IRI.  You compared Dr. Mossadegh's stance to Ahmadinejad's stance.  I personally support Ahmadinejad defending Iran's international rights today, just as I would Dr. Mossadeg's then . 

Nationalizing the oil is just one of Dr. Mossadegh's achievements. Which benefited Iran and Iranians and most of all Pahlavi and his circle due to...........  His inspiration for independence, freedom, democrocy, equal rights and etc were just as important and would have benefited Iranians tremendously. 

By shortsighted actions and endangering national security you must mean not giving in to threats and defending Iran's international rights?   If Dr. Mossadegh would have been like Pahlavis who gave in to threats, and if he wouldn't have defended Iran's rights, the British would have owned Iran long time ago.  However, no thanks to Pahlavis, again British and Americans did very much owned Iran for a long time due to Pahlavi's as you said, shortsighted actions and endangering of the national security. 

We have been very fortunate to have Dr. Mossadegh, Dr Fatemi, Dr. Amini and some other who devoted their lives to serve the country and the nation for such a short time and unfortunate to lose them so soon that we couldn't get to experience their visions for a fee and democratic Iran.

Face it! You have got no case.


so what?

by afshin on

fact: mossadegh never once sat for a single general election for anything in his life

fact: mossadegh was of qajar heritage and though he guised his actions with populist rhetoric, he was no more than a power hungry rabble rouser like ahmadinejad, except of the nationalist kind

fact: with his shortsighted actions, he endangered the national security of iran and it's very territorial integrity only 6 short years after the allies left iran in the aftermath of world war 2 

fact: mossadegh never stood in a general election to become prime minister

fact: mossadegh was appointed by the shah to become prime minister

fact: mossadegh violated his oath and the constitution of iran

fact: mossadegh was legally dismissed as prime minister, and yet with another violation of the constitution, he refused to step down

fact: inspite of treason, betraying his country and king, he lived out the rest of his days, albeit in a well deserved exile 

We Iranians have a tendency to make people bigger than life.  Some of your parents or even readers of this sight believed there were images of khomeini on the moon.  We idolize false heroes like mossadegh and shariati, and golesorkhi and make them what they clearly were not.

Oh, and another thing.  I'm tired of people whining about 28 mordad.  It was over half a century ago. GET OVER IT!  What have you done since. Sure the CIA and MI6 supposedly ruined Iran.  Of course Iranians had nothing to do with it. Right?  The CIA and MI6, if they were even involved in this countercoup, were looking out for their interests.  As well they should.  What have Iranians done to propagate their interests for the last 57 years?  


I know what it is.


Wanna hear it?


Marg bar amrika!  


4000 years of supposed civilization or rather lack thereof and that's what they came up with.  No persian adage is truly as appropriate as, "Az maast keh bar maast!"

As Shakespeare said, "The fault lies not dear Brutus in the stars or the moon, but in ourselves."

Dariush The King

What is a joke is DK, Farah

by Dariush The King on

What is a joke is DK, Farah and others avoiding to answer the question I have been asking and yet speak of democrocy. 

Clearly it is not democratic for one family to rule a nation for many years, if you are democratic.  However, what is really important is how they come to power and how they run the country.  King, president, Velayateh Fagheeh or else doesn't really matter as much.  That was the problem with Pahlavis.  What Cyrus the great, Dariush and Kourosh has done is no credit to Pahlavis and what IRI has done is not going to help their case. They are responsible for what they have done.

These Pahlavi lovers can try to infect the history with their lies, dreams and nightmares, but people know what is real and what is not.

Veiled prophet of karastan,

Do you understand now why I am Dariush and you are veiled? I doubt if you do?

Farah Rusta

Nickle and Dime Commentators

by Farah Rusta on

These are the type of commentators who tow the established line and fear to review the established and commonly accepted hstory lest their cosy armchair theories are shaken up.  Now why the Jebhe Melli fanatics fear the re-opening of their coffins is a tale i am going to tell you at a later time.



Veiled Prophet of Khorasan

Re: Dariush "The King"

by Veiled Prophet of Khorasan on


I agree with DK. It is a joke that an anti-Iranian and anti-Monarchy person will pick and Iranian great king's name. 


Dime A Dozen Analysts

by Ahura on

I could not find any information on Mr. Darioush Bayandor’s education and expertise except that he worked as a diplomat during the regime of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, was involved with UNESCO afterwards, and lives in Switzerland now.  His interpretations of what happened in 1953 coup d’état that removed Iranian Prime Minister Dr. Mohammad Mossadegh and reinstated Mohammad Reza Pahlavi is just that and not based on the overall body of evidence and facts available. Writers with agenda pick and choose among the thousands of documents available and add in anecdotal evidence to weave a scenario and reach their desired conclusions.  These are not objective and informed analyses and it is up to the reader to read between the lines if they decide to waste their time with such biased work.  

Few of these writers are popping up in Iranian society with reinterpretations of history that serve their Shahollahi and Hezbollahi patrons. Writings on holocaust denial, dictatorship of Dr. Mohammad Mossadegh, democratic nature of Pahlavi dynasty, and the divine providence of mullah’s rule in Iran are all in that genre.

Without repeating the accomplishments of Dr. Mohammad Mossadegh one can just state the fact that he did not steal from national coffer, did not collect any wages for his work, and did not execute Iranians in the name of national security. That cannot be said about Reza and Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, and IRI theocracy who inherited the Pahlavi dictatorship. The Pahlavi heirs and IRI leaders can refute the pillage charge by simply making their wealth and income a public record for all Iranians to see.


An Article From "The Guardian" (2003)

by R2-D2 on

Darius Kadivar

Dariush The King Speaking of Dignity ... ;0)

by Darius Kadivar on

Drop Your Title if you want to be coherent with your Own Anti Monarchist Stance ...


Some Modesty Never Hurts !


Dariush The King


by Dariush The King on

You wrote, This is Pure Logic Not an Emotional Assessment.

I say, pure logic my foot. You make bunch of contradictory statements and lies and call it pure logic. Who cares about Queen Elizabeth and The British Monarchy?  They are not our role models.  What make you to belive that a X-Pahlavi server would make an honest and fair statement of the historic events? 

Who gave such rights and legitimacy to Pahlavi to begin with?   British and Americans.  Then you speak of rights, legitimacy and constitution? 

I understand your love and interest in Reza Pahlavi, but dude have a little dignity.


The "Ambiguity" Of The Reality In The 1953 Coup

by R2-D2 on

A few days ago, in a blog by Masoud Kazemzadeh, titled Winners and Losers, I left two (2) comments that  express my views and beliefs regarding the 1953 coup in general, and the role of Dr. Mossadeq in particular:

If you are interested in reading it, please click on the links below (you need to be logged in first):

The 1953 Coup, and what led to it; and,

The Shortcomings Of Dr. Mossadeq

There is no question in my mind that many would take exception to what I have outlined in these two (2) comments - However, I have to say, with a great deal of humility, that this issue will never be fully and exhaustively resolved to the satisfaction of everyone!




Darius Kadivar

eroonman Do You Actually Read Carefully before Commenting ? ;0)

by Darius Kadivar on

Or is it Your Schizophrenic Nature Taking Over once again ?

Bayador doesn't Say the Coup ( which Constitutionally was in fact a Counter Coup) was Illegal but rather the Contrary ...


Fariba Amini : How would you characterize Dr. Mosaddeq in a few words? Should the young people of Iran accept him as a model for secular democracy and an exemplar of the rule of law?

Darioush Bayandor : ... That said, Mosaddeq was certainly not infallible. He has been stereotyped in the West as the “democratically elected leader” overthrown by the CIA after which it then put the shah back on his throne. In reality Mosaddeq was a product of the prevailing oligarchic system which brought him to power. Mosaddeq was secular and must have been a democrat at heart but the oligarchic system did not lend itself to democratic ways in the western understanding of the term. In order to effectively govern he trampled all the state institutions and towards the end created a system of governance that resembled more a benevolent dictatorship. He allowed legitimacy, which was undisputedly his, to trump legality.


Parviz Rajji Imperial Iran's Last Ambassador to Great Britain Say's Shah had Nothing to do with the Coup. Comforted in this analysis by Mashadollah Adjoudani and Abbas Milani :

All the more that This statement is coming out of the mouth of someone like Rajji who cannot be accused of being sycophantic or particularly an admiror of the Shah whom he demolishes in his autobiography In the Service of the Peacock Throne:

Ex-ambassador: "I was never one of those people who admired the Shah" by Cyrus KADIVAR

This Book is actually confirming what I have been saying For quite a long time so this is not a revelation to me and that is the the So called Coup was actually LEGAL !

There is No Moral Evaluation in this statement but simply a Blunt Observation that Many Mossadeghollahis refused to acknowledge to date. It's Not because someone becomes a Celebrity overnight in a country that it gives him the authority to replace the Head of State who constitutionally was the King of the Land ...

Imagine if Margaret Thatcher at the time of her landslide election in t1979 had decided to overthrow the Queen of England or send the Royal family to exile simply because of her Popularity ...

This leads me to two conclusions:

1) Mossadegh was Not a Perfectly Democratically elected Prime Minister since the Constitutional Monarchy under which we were living was not a perfectly Institutionalized Constitutional Monarchy.

2) The Coup was Actually a Counter Coup from a LEGAL Perspective

Now were we a Perfect Constitutional Monarchy like Great Britain at the time I guess that would be a different matter

HISTORY FORUM: How Truly Democratic is The British Monarchy ?

The Fact remains that the Shah reigned and did not rule for 12 years following his accession to the Throne.

Mossadegh Jeapordized this fragile Status Quo for NATIONALIST Reasons ( However Justified in itself) but NOT Democratic Ones.

In 25 Centuries of the Royal Institution the last Shah was the Only Monarch to have at least tried to respect the Constitution.

Mossadegh Simply Opened the Cage for the Lion to Come out and Fetch him.

So the Responsability in the ending of the democratic process is partially his fault and not entirely that of the Shah.

Who ever asks or wants to know if a King who symbolizes the Nation is Democratic or believes in Democracy anyways ? Since by Definition he is seen as the undisputed Father of the Nation in an Oligarchic System. This is True Whether this Oligarchic System is a Perfectly Democratic Constitutional Monarchy ( Like Great Britain or Spain) or Not. The King is SACRED and ABOVE Judgment and what maintains him or her in that Status is precisely: THE CONSTITUTION !

The Constitution creates a BUFFER ZONE that protects the King or Queen from Entering the Political Arena and therefore avoids him to be subject to Criticism due to Political partisanry. For He or She has to Remain Out of Politics and Above Ideological Rivalries.

The British we hate so much for obvious reasons were smart and FLEXIBLE to Understood this concept long ago and avoid a revolution in the classical sense with their Bill of Rights which inspired both the American Constitution and the French.

RESTORATION: Britain's 'Glorious Revolution' of 1688 and the 'Bill of Rights'

We despite a 100 years of taking pride in the Constitutional Revolution of 1906 Still have not come to understand what it was aimed to be in the first place:


That is Why Time and Again we have Failed to Get Our Priorities Straight !

You will Never See the Queen of England be judged or fined for not paying her taxes or for any form of breaching of the law. Members of her family Can however be put to court like anyother ordinary citizen. The Worst that can happen to the Queen is to be forced to abdicate in favor of her successor.  But a Queen or King Can NEVER Be Impeached like a President can as was the case for Nixon.

That's How Monarchies Are Run. One can consider it an obsolete System of government but One cannot dismiss it by Interpretation for something it is Not Nor ever claimed to be! 

This is Pure Logic Not an Emotional Assessment.



ANY New History About Mossadegh is Relevant

by eroonman on

Whether you choose to believe Kermit (the frog) Roosevelt's account, or are enlightened (as I was) by Bayador's alternately illuminating account of events leading to the illegal and murderous coup that removed Mossadegh from power, either one is still disheartening and inspiring at once.

Indeeed you cannot mess with time. One change and you would undoubtedly alter the future forever. This story of Mossadegh illustrates this perfectly. Had he and Iran been left well enough alone, we (and Shiism) would be living in a tolerant free democracy.

But BP could not have that. Rape it turns out, is a wonderful habit. Especially when done on a massive scale, like to an entire people or an entire ecosystem.


The Review Of This Book In "The Economist"

by R2-D2 on