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CIA: 1953 Iranian coup “approved at the highest levels of government”

posted at 9:35 am on August 19, 2013 by

The CIA declassified a memo two year ago that admitted its leading role in the 1953 coup that overthrew an elected government in Iran in favor of the Shah, but it just got published today — and only after a FOIA fight.  According to the memo, it was no rogue operation, either:

The independent National Security Archive research institute, which published the document Monday, says the declassification is believed to mark the CIA’s first formal acknowledgment of its involvement.

According to Foreign Policy, which reviewed the document, this is the key passage:

“The military coup that overthrew Mosadeq and his National Front cabinet was carried out under CIA direction as an act of U.S. foreign policy, conceived and approved at the highest levels of government.”

Be sure to follow the link to FP and read the document itself.  The CIA’s version insists that the US had no other choice but to intervene, because the British were about to do so in a way that would have brought on a Soviet invasion.  That’s perhaps new context for some, although the admission of CIA involvement isn’t. The big deal is that the CIA got permission to run this operation from “the highest levels of government,” which sounds as though the order came from Dwight Eisenhower himself.

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Wasn’t it common knowledge that IKE supported if not ordered support for the Shah? My understanding of the event was that Ike was looking for ways to stop communism that were cheap and limited the risk of outright war and atomic strikes with Russia. Covert ops (like drone strikes today to a certain extent) could allow the US to influence events and limit the American liability.

rob verdi on August 19, 2013 at 9:54 AM

Let’s see, the DCI was Allen Dulles who just happened to be the brother of Sec of State John Foster Dulles, who was as close a confidant to Pres. Eisenhower on foreign policy as was possible. The govt that was ousted was that of an oil rich, large, geographically strategic nation. That govt was sending valentines to the neighboring expansionist USSR. And someone somewhere actually believed that this could have been a rogue operation…

xkaydet65 on August 19, 2013 at 9:55 AM

This has been known for years, and a huge reason for the revolution in Iran in the late 70s. We need to start minding our own business.

MoreLiberty on August 19, 2013 at 10:23 AM

In other news, Communists are Red, the Sun rose in the east, fire is hot,….

Steve Eggleston on August 19, 2013 at 10:46 AM

And Iran was a great country under the Shah. Then Jimmy Carter backed the Ioatolas and now we have the Iran we have today.

Jimmy Carter screwed up the Middle East so bad.

portlandon on August 19, 2013 at 11:09 AM

CIA: 1953 Iranian coup “approved at the highest levels of government”

Golleeeeeee….knock me over with a feather :D

FACTOID: It is governmental actions such as this that led to the phrase:

I LIKE IKE !!

:P

BigSven on August 19, 2013 at 12:04 PM

And Iran was a great country under the Shah. Then Jimmy Carter backed the Ioatolas and now we have the Iran we have today.

Jimmy Carter screwed up the Middle East so bad.

portlandon on August 19, 2013 at 11:09 AM

Don’t forget Joe Biden was the Peanut Farmer’s right hand man in the Senate on that deal.

Steve Eggleston on August 19, 2013 at 12:41 PM

I wouldn’t necessarily say Iran was a “great” country under the Shah, but it was worlds better than it was either before or after the Shah.

Steve Eggleston on August 19, 2013 at 12:41 PM

I wouldn’t necessarily say Iran was a “great” country under the Shah, but it was worlds better than it was either before or after the Shah.

Steve Eggleston on August 19, 2013 at 12:41 PM

Really? Lots of secret police, indefinite detentions, and disappearances under Mossadegh, were there?

JohnGalt23 on August 19, 2013 at 2:24 PM

at the highest levels of government.”

I hate when people say this. If it’s the highest, then it’s a singular level of government, not plural. If there’s more than one, than they are not the highest.

Nutstuyu on August 19, 2013 at 4:37 PM