Why Did the U.S. Help to Overthrow the Democratically Elected Governments of Iran 1953?
With Mossadegh out of power, the British and American governments implemented a new power, Shah Reza Pahlavi The decrees were provided by the British and American governments to the shah to gain security in the fact that there would be an anti-communist in power in Iran. Although anti-communist, Shah Reza Pahlavi would come to take over Iran as a dictatorship and not a democracy. Although the American government was seeking security with the overthrow of Mossadegh, over the long run, it is evident that the plan has backfired causing the reduction of the United State’s influence in the Middle East.
The event, today seen as one of the most prominent examples of US intervention in the Middle East, was rooted in a complex web of political and economic factors and gamesmanship played by the British and US governments. Correspondence between the government of Prime Minister Clement Attlee and the administration of President Harry S. Truman leading up to TPAJAX illuminates not only shifting Anglo-Iranian relations but also a widening gap in the Anglo-American power structure (Cabinet Papers). This essay examines the differing views of the United States and Britain on the postwar situation in Iran. In it argue that although the US government justified the coup as an effort to turn Iran from the path of communism, the United States, in fact, was led to intervene on behalf of the British government, which emphasized the communist threat in order to encourage US action (Richard J. Evans, 2008). The British concerns were less political, however. They were primarily economic and centered on the threatened loss of currency reserves that would follow nationalization of the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (AIOC).
But the coup failed. Mossadegh learned of it and fought back. The next morning, he announced victory over the radio.
Cabinet Papers, Document Twenty-One. Persian Oil. 27 July 1951. The National Archives.
Richard J. Evans, The Third Reich at War: How the Nazis led Germany from Conquest to Disaster (London: Allen Lane, 2008), 33.
Douglas Irwin et al., “The Genesis of the GATT.” 13 Feb. 2008. Accessed 8 August 2010, 25. Made available through the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.
Leo T. Crowley, “Lend-Lease” in Walter Yust, ed. 10 Eventful Years (1947) 1:520, 2: 858–60.