Iran recalls American-backed 1953 coup

Reversing earlier U.S. policy, President Dwight D. Eisenhower authorized the CIA to instigate a coup d'├ętat in Tehran that led to the overthrow of Iranian Prime Minister Mohammed Mosaddeq and his government on this day in 1953.

ID: 55170 | Date: 2019/08/18
The political, economic and social consequences of Mosaddeq's removal from power has had a profound impact on Iran-U.S. relations — one which manifests itself in the region to this day. 


Mosaddeq's overthrow consolidated the rule of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the shah of Iran, for the next 26 years until he in turn was toppled by the 1979 Iranian Islamic revolution. Strategically, it was aimed at making sure the Iranian monarchy would safeguard the West's oil interests in the country. 


U.S. officials had been discussing a coup up to a year before it took place, according to over 1,000 pages of cables and reports released by the State Department last year. Those papers show the CIA had at one point "stockpiled enough arms and demolition material to support a 10,000-man guerrilla organization for six months," and paid out $5.3 million for bribes and other costs, which would be equivalent to $48 million today.  


After the coup, some of Mosaddeq’s former associates and supporters were tried, imprisoned and tortured. On Oct. 29, 1953, Hossein Fatemi, Mosaddeq’s minister of foreign affairs, was executed by a firing squad under the orders of the shah’s military court.   


The American-inspired overthrow of Mosaddeq served as a rallying point for anti-US protests during the revolutionary movement in 1979.


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