Mohammad Mosaddegh

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It is quite common for clueless lefties that learn I have Iranian blood to question me with their Howard Zinn version of History and mentioned, "The U.S. is at fault for everything in that region, because: Mosaddegh", then give me their silly distorted version of Iranian history about the Democratically elected pro-liberty Mosaddegh, and the evil CIA that overthrew him and put in our puppet (the Shah). Of course all of that has a tiny, smidgen of almost reality in it, but it's wrapped in so many distortions and misunderstandings and errors, that's it complete garbage. In here, I explain what actually happened.

Issue Lie Truth
Iran and Mohammad Mosaddegh In 1953 the CIA overthrew the Democratically elected Prime Minister of Iran and all around great guy Mohammad Mosaddegh, and put in Mohammad Reza Shah in his place, and that lead to the problems with Iran and the entire middle east. As usual, it was all the U.S.'s fault. Iran was not a Democracy: it was a Constitutional Monarch since the 1920's. The second generation Shah had the rightful power to replace the Prime Minister (Mosaddegh). The US/UK (Operation Ajax) did encourage him to do that in 1953, as he did a dozen times before and after, and helped him with that agenda (propaganda and funding protestors), but that's hardly a "coup". The reasons for doing so was the Mosaddegh (a KGB funded puppet of the Soviet/Communists/Tudeh Party) had risen to power under questionable elections (and KGB sponsorship), after the assassination of his rivals, and was fast-tracking towards a Marxist dictatorship by running the country under "emergency powers", dissolving the parliament, dismissing the Supreme Court, enacted a curfew and imprisoned hundreds of his opponents, gave himself the power to make laws, nationalized (stole) the oil fields (British/American property).


  • Iran was not a Democracy, it was constitutional monarchy with some Democratically elected officials
  • Reza Shah was Shah of Iran since 1925 (after a Russian/British fight over the territory).
  • In WWII Iran was occupied by the British and Russians, and Reza Shah was driven out and agreed to cede the title/role to his son (Mohammad Reza Pahlavi) in 1941.
  • With the funding of the Soviet/Communists (Tudeh/KGB Party), there was a spate of populism and the assassinations of Mohammad Mosaddegh's rivals, and Mosaddegh's (Bernie Sanders of the east) was able to seize the Prime Ministership (a lesser title than the Shah) through some shady elections. Like any good Soviet Puppet he immediately suspended elections and ran the country under "emergency powers" (dissolving the parliament, gave the prime minister/himself the power to make laws, and cracked down on dissent and the Muslim leadership), then he nationalized (stole) the oil fields (British/American property) for a few weeks in 1953.
  • Under threats of assassination Pahlavi had briefly fled to Italy, and the Brits (MI6) and Americans (CIA) did Operation Ajax: which consisted of letting the Shah know he had western support (as the legal Monarch) to issue a decree to dismiss Mosaddegh from office (and persuading him to do so), and they helped the popular movement (with propaganda and money for protestors) to support the Shah and Zahedi (Shah's appointed Prime Minister) against the usurper (Mosaddegh). But the propaganda was just getting the truth out that Mosaddegh was an anti-democratic dictator, and the protests were already happening -- while Pro-Mosaddegh protests had support from the KGB, the Pro-Shah/Zahedi ones had the US/UK support -- and the people legitimately went with the Shah over the Prime Minister (who was arrested, and many in his circle were tried and executed).
  • After the Bay of Pigs fiasco, the CIA wanted to pretend it had more power and influence, so this myth got told as a "Coup" to make it look like not everything they'd done was incompetent -- but in truth, the Shah wielded immense power including the right to appoint and dismiss the prime minister, and had done so for a couple dozen different ones before and after Mosaddegh, none of the others was called a coup d’état. Mossadegh himself never challenged the Shah’s right to dismiss him as prime minister, and during his trial claimed he had just initially doubted the authenticity of the Shah’s edict. So even the term "Coup" is a bit overstated. The U.S. and UK exerted lots of legal influence to help sway the public and the Shah that Mosaddegh was a dangerous tyrannical marxist (all true). Which at worst, means they meddled in an election.

More on Mosahddegh's rule

  • Not once did he hold a full meeting of the council of ministers, ignoring the constitutional rule of collective responsibility.
  • He dissolved the senate, the second chamber of the Iranian parliament, and shut down the Majlis, the lower house.
  • He suspended a general election before all the seats had been decided and chose to rule with absolute power.
  • He disbanded the high council of national currency and dismissed the supreme court.
  • During much of his tenure, Tehran lived under a curfew while hundreds of his opponents were imprisoned.
  • Toward the end of his premiership, almost all of his friends and allies had broken with him. Some even wrote to the secretary general of the United Nations to intervene to end Mossadegh’s dictatorship.

This is the pro-Liberty Democrat that the far left wants to tout as their man? Ruling with the delicacy of a: Chavez, Castro, Stalin, Mao or Kim.


Now after that there are a lot of legitimate complaints about how the U.S./U.K. strong armed the Shah into signing oil agreements that weren't in the Iranian people's interests, and often acting as their weak puppet. It's not completely untrue -- we meddled and took advantage. But even that gets nuanced, as the Shah was trying to advance his country, and his choices were side with the Soviets and REALLY become a pawn and have his people exploited, or the softer exploitation of the UK/US. He was in a shitty place and knew it. He picked the lesser of two evils. And those complaining about the U.S. or U.K.'s actions are ignoring what the alternatives really were. And they were not the better path: either a theocratic monarchy (like they have now), or a Marxist puppet state with even more enslavement/exploitation. Sometimes all choices suck.

I have family in Iran, an Iranian Birth Certificate, and it's where much of my family comes from. This is a collection of stories about Iran from an Iranian American (I hate that common phrasing, as I'm an American of Persian/Iranian decent, not the other way around).



📚 References

Examples of disinformation: