CIA Confirms Role in 1953 Iran Coup

Documents Provide New Details on Mosaddeq Overthrow and Its Aftermath

National Security Archive Calls for Release of Remaining Classified Record

National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 435

Posted – August 19, 2013

The Shah’s order (known as a firman) naming Zahedi the new prime minister. Coup operatives made copies of the document and circulated it around Tehran to help regenerate momentum following the collapse of the original plan. (Courtesy of Ted Hotchkiss)

Edited by Malcolm Byrne

For more information contact:
Malcolm Byrne 202/994-7043 or mbyrne@gwu.edu

Washington, D.C., August 19, 2013 – Marking the sixtieth anniversary of the overthrow of Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddeq, the National Security Archive is today posting recently declassified CIA documents on the United States’ role in the controversial operation. American and British involvement in Mosaddeq’s ouster has long been public knowledge, but today’s posting includes what is believed to be the CIA’s first formal acknowledgement that the agency helped to plan and execute the coup.

The explicit reference to the CIA’s role appears in a copy of an internal history, The Battle for Iran, dating from the mid-1970s. The agency released a heavily excised version of the account in 1981 in response to an ACLU lawsuit, but it blacked out all references to TPAJAX, the code name for the U.S.-led operation. Those references appear in the latest release. Additional CIA materials posted today include working files from Kermit Roosevelt, the senior CIA officer on the ground in Iran during the coup. They provide new specifics as well as insights into the intelligence agency’s actions before and after the operation.

The 1953 coup remains a topic of global interest because so much about it is still under intense debate. Even fundamental questions — who hatched the plot, who ultimately carried it out, who supported it inside Iran, and how did it succeed — are in dispute.[1]

The issue is more than academic. Political partisans on all sides, including the Iranian government, regularly invoke the coup to argue whether Iran or foreign powers are primarily responsible for the country’s historical trajectory, whether the United States can be trusted to respect Iran’s sovereignty, or whether Washington needs to apologize for its prior interference before better relations can occur.

Also, the public release of these materials is noteworthy because CIA documents about 1953 are rare. First of all, agency officials have stated that most of the records on the coup were either lost or destroyed in the early 1960s, allegedly because the record-holders’ “safes were too full.”[2]

READ MORE HERE: http://www2.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB435/

YOU will find here also many interesting maps and other details!

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1 reply

  1. Interesting, nothing much seems to have changed in the CIA role over the decades. After 60 years we might read the same thing about the ‘Egyptian-non-coup’ (and the Syrian, and the Libyan)

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