Newly declassified State Department documents show oil contracts played a key role in the U.S.-backed 1953 coup in Iran that led to the overthrow of the democratically elected Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh. “What the documents show is actually the importance of oil in the coup,” says Professor Ervand Abrahamian. “The conventional wisdom is, oh, it was all the Cold War scare, communism. But here you see, actually, very occasionally, when Eisenhower intervenes in a discussion, it’s about question of oil contracts and so on and how nationalization would disrupt the whole international framework and would be a threat to U.S. interests, oil interests, elsewhere.”
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