Mosaddeqin syrjäyttäminen ja Saahin paluu valtaan

John Carter toistelee eräässä salaliittoteoriaketjussa perinteisiä, myyttisiä näkemyksiä Iranin tapahtumista 1951 – 1953. Koska tämä ei ole mitään foliohattupuuhaa kuitenkaan (USA:n ja Britannian tiedusteluelimillä oli rooli ja se rooli luonnollisestikin oli salainen) vaan ihan asiallinen historiaan liittyvä aihe, luon tästä oman ketjun.

Johan Carter kirjoitti:

“Nyt on yksi salaliittoteoria taas paljastunut paikkansa pitäväksi.

Salaliittoteoreetikot ovat uskoneet CIA:n rooliin kaappauksessa jo vuosikymmeniä. Tapaus kulkee lempinimellä Operation Ajax.

Nyt tiedustelupalvelu on julkaissut dokumentteja, jotka paljastavat ensimmäistä kertaa virallisesti CIA:n olleen avainroolissa vuoden 1953 vallankaappauksessa Iranissa.

Yhdysvaltojen rooliin pääministerin syrjäyttämisessä on viitattu avoimesti korkeilta tahoilta jo aiemmin.

Vuonna 2000 Yhdysvaltain silloinen ulkoministeri Madeleine Albright puhui tapahtuneesta. Vuonna 2009 presidentti Barack Obama mainitsi kaappauksen ja Yhdysvaltain roolin Kairossa pitämässään puheessa.”

Hankkisit parempaa luettavaa. Foreign Affairsin viimeistä edellisessä numerossa (Jul/Aug) on sattumalta käyty tämä homma läpi.

CIA:n ratkaiseva rooli on täysi myytti, johon moni amerikkalainenkin uskoo, vaikkei syytä olisi. CIA:n rooli oli mitätön. Britannia, jonka omaisuutta Mosaddeq korvauksetta varasti 1951, laittoi Iranin öljynvientisaartoon, mikä ajoi Iranin syviin ongelmiin.

USA auttoi Irania taloudellisesti, mutta vaati Mosaddeqia myäs sopimaan riitansa Britanian kanssa. Täm ei herra M:lle sopinut, vaan tilanne alkoi radikalisoitumaan. CIA lähti mukaan Britannian suunnittelemaan operaaioon, jossa CIA:n roolina oli lähinnä vain rahoittaa M:n vastaista lehtikirjoittelua.

M oli myös se, joka toimi perustuslain vastaisesti syntyneessä kriisissä. M:n kaatanut vallankumous (tai oikeammin vastavallankumous, sillä perustulain mukaan Saahilla oli oikeus erottaa pääministeri), oli puhtaasti iranilaisten voimien tuotosta.

Ray Takeyh Foreign Affairs’issä:

Yet there was a supreme irony to Obama’s concession. The history of the U.S. role in Iran’s 1953 coup may be “well known,” as the president declared in his speech, but it is not well founded. On the contrary, it rests heavily on two related myths: that machinations by the CIA were the most important factor in Mosaddeq’s downfall and that Iran’s brief democratic interlude was spoiled primarily by American and British meddling. For decades, historians, journalists, and pundits have promoted these myths, injecting them not just into the political discourse but also into popular culture: most recently, Argo, a Hollywood thriller that won the 2013 Academy Award for Best Picture, suggested that Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution was a belated response to an injustice perpetrated by the United States a quarter century earlier. That version of events has also been promoted by Iran’s theocratic leaders, who have exploited it to stoke anti-Americanism and to obscure the fact that the clergy itself played a major role in toppling Mosaddeq.

In reality, the CIA’s impact on the events of 1953 was ultimately insignificant. Regardless of anything the United States did or did not do, Mosaddeq was bound to fall and the shah was bound to retain his throne and expand his power. Yet the narrative of American culpability has become so entrenched that it now shapes how many Americans understand the history of U.S.-Iranian relations and influences how American leaders think about Iran.

In April 1951, the Iranian parliament voted to appoint Mosaddeq prime minister. In a clever move, Mosaddeq insisted that he would not assume the office unless the parliament also approved an act he had proposed that would nationalize the Iranian oil industry. Mosaddeq got his way in a unanimous vote, and the easily intimidated shah capitulated to the parliament’s demands. Iran now entered a new and more dangerous crisis.

The United Kingdom, a declining empire struggling to adjust to its diminished influence, saw the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company as a crucial source of energy and profit, as well as a symbol of what little imperial prestige the country had managed to cling to through the end of World War II. So London responded to the nationalization with fury. It warned European companies doing business in Iran to pull out or face retribution, and the still potent British navy began interdicting ships carrying Iranian oil on the grounds that they were transporting stolen cargo.

From the outset of the nationalization crisis, U.S. President Harry Truman had sought to settle the dispute. The close ties between the United States and the United Kingdom did not lead Washington to reflexively side with its ally. Truman had already demonstrated some regard for Iran’s autonomy and national interests. In 1946, Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin had sought to seize Iran’s northern provinces by refusing to withdraw Soviet forces that were deployed there during the war. Truman objected, insisting on maintaining Iran’s territorial integrity even if it meant rupturing the already frayed U.S. alliance with the Soviets; Stalin backed off. Similarly, when it came to the fight to control Iran’s oil, the Americans played the role of an honest broker. Truman dispatched a number of envoys to Tehran who urged the British to acknowledge the legitimacy of the parliament’s nationalization act while also pressing the Iranians to offer fair compensation for expropriated British assets.

In the meantime, Washington continued providing economic assistance to Iran, as it had ever since the war began -- assistance that helped ease the pain of the British oil blockade. And the Americans dissuaded the British from using military force to compel Iran to relent, as well as rejecting British pleas for a joint covert operation to topple Mosaddeq.

Mosaddeq’s supporters among the clergy, who had endorsed the nationalization campaign and had even encouraged the shah to oppose the United Kingdom’s imperial designs, now began to reconsider. The clergy had never been completely comfortable with Mosaddeq’s penchant for modernization and had come to miss the deference they received from the conservative and insecure shah. Watching Iran’s economy collapse and fearing, like Washington, that the crisis could lead to a communist takeover, religious leaders such as Ayatollah Abul-Qasim Kashani began to subtly shift their allegiances.

The crisis finally came to a head in February 1953, when the royal court, fed up with Mosaddeq’s attempts to undermine the monarchy, suddenly announced that the shah intended to leave the country for unspecified medical reasons, knowing that the public would interpret the move as a signal of the shah’s displeasure with Mosaddeq. The gambit worked, and news of the monarch’s planned departure caused a serious confrontation between Mosaddeq and his growing list of detractors. Kashani joined with disgruntled military officers and purged politicians and publicly implored the shah to stay. Protests engulfed Tehran and many provincial cities, and crowds even attempted to ransack Mosaddeq’s residence. Sensing the public mood, the shah canceled his trip.

This episode is particularly important, because it demonstrated the depth of authentic Iranian opposition to Mosaddeq; there is no evidence that the protests were engineered by the CIA. The demonstrations also helped the anti-Mosaddeq coalition solidify. Indeed, it would be this same coalition, with greater support from the armed forces, that would spearhead Mosaddeq’s ouster six months later.

After the protests, the Majlis [Iranin parlamentti] became the main seat of anti-Mosaddeq agitation. Since Mosaddeq’s ascension to the premiership, his seemingly arbitrary decision-making, his inability to end the oil crisis, and the narrowing of his circle to a few trusted aides had gradually alienated many parliamentarians. In response, the prime minister decided to eliminate the threat by simply dissolving the Majlis. Doing so required executing a ploy of dubious legality,

Meanwhile, Mosaddeq seemed determined to do everything he could to confirm Washington’s worst fears about him. The prime minister thought that he could use U.S. concerns about the potential for increased Soviet influence in Iran to secure greater assistance from Washington. During a meeting in January, Mosaddeq had warned Loy Henderson, the U.S. ambassador, that unless the United States provided him with sufficient financial aid, “there will be [a] revolution in Iran in 30 days.” Mosaddeq also threatened to sell oil to Eastern bloc countries and to reach out to Moscow for aid if Washington didn’t come through. These threats and entreaties reached a climax in June, when Mosaddeq wrote Eisenhower directly to plead for increased U.S. economic assistance, insisting that if it were not given right away, “any steps that might be taken tomorrow to compensate for the negligence of today might well be too late.” Eisenhower took nearly a month to respond and then firmly told Iran’s prime minister that the only path out of his predicament was to settle the oil dispute with the United Kingdom.

By that point, however, Washington was already actively considering a plan the British had developed to push Mosaddeq aside. The British intelligence agency, MI6, had identified and reached out to a network of anti-Mosaddeq figures who would be willing to take action against the prime minster with covert American and British support.

The plot called for the CIA and MI6 to launch a propaganda campaign aimed at raising doubts about Mosaddeq, paying journalists to write stories critical of the prime minister,

Indeed, the shah would be the plot’s central actor, since he retained the loyalty of the armed forces and only he had the authority to dismiss Mosaddeq.

Finally, on August 13, 1953, the shah signed a royal decree dismissing Mosaddeq and appointing Zahedi as the new prime minister.


Zahedi and his supporters wanted to make sure that Mosaddeq received the decree in person and thus waited for more than two days before sending the shah’s imperial guards to deliver the order to the prime minister’s residence at a time when Zahedi was certain Mosaddeq would be there. By that time, however, someone had tipped Mosaddeq off. He refused to accept the order and instead had his security detail arrest the men the shah had sent. Zahedi went into hiding, and the shah fled the country, going first to Iraq and then to Italy. The plot, it seemed, had failed. Mosaddeq took to the airwaves, claiming that he had disarmed a coup, while neglecting to mention that the shah had dismissed him from office. Indeed, it was Mosaddeq, not the shah or his foreign backers, who failed to abide by Iran’s constitution.

Many accounts of the coup, including Roosevelt’s, cast the shah as an unpopular and illegitimate ruler who maintained the throne only with the connivance of foreigners. But if that were the case, then Zahedi and his allies would not have worked so hard to try to publicize the shah’s preferences. The fact that they did suggests that the shah still enjoyed a great deal of public and institutional support, at least in the immediate aftermath of Mosaddeq’s countercoup; indeed, the news of the shah’s departure provoked uprisings throughout the country.

Unlike some of the demonstrations that had taken place earlier in the summer, these protests were not the work of the CIA’s and MI6’s clients. A surprised official at the U.S. embassy reported that the crowds “appeared to be led and directed by civilians rather than military. Participants not of hoodlum type, customarily predominant in recent demonstrations in Tehran. They seemed to come from all classes of people including workers, clerks, shopkeepers, students, et cetera.” A CIA assessment noted that “the flight of [the] Shah brought home to the populace in a dramatic way how far Mosaddeq had gone, and galvanized the people into an irate pro-Shah force.

Mosaddeq was determined to halt the revolutionary surge and commanded the military to restore order. Instead, many soldiers joined in the demonstrations, as chants of “Long live the shah!” echoed in the capital. On August 19, the army chief of staff, General Taqi Riahi, who had stayed loyal to Mosaddeq until then, telephoned the prime minister to confess that he had lost control of many of his troops and of the capital city. Royalist military units took over Tehran’s main radio station and several important government ministries.

Mosaddeq was a principled politician with deep reverence for Iran’s institutions and constitutional order. He had spent his entire public life defending the rule of law and the separation of powers. But the pressures of governing during a crisis accentuated troubling aspects of his character. His need for popular acclaim blinded him to compromises that could have resolved the oil conflict with the United Kingdom and thus protected Iran’s economy. Worse, by 1953, Mosaddeq -- the constitutional parliamentarian and champion of democratic reform -- had turned into a populist demagogue: rigging referendums, intimidating his rivals, disbanding parliament, and demanding special powers.

Popular lore gets two things right: Mosaddeq was indeed a tragic figure, and a victim. But his tragedy was that he couldn’t find a way out of a predicament that he himself was largely responsible for creating. And more than anyone else, he was a victim of himself.

Whatever the reason for the persistence of the mythology about 1953, it is long past time for the Americans and the Iranians to move beyond it. As Washington and Tehran struggle to end their protracted enmity, it would help greatly if the United States no longer felt the need to keep implicitly apologizing for its role in Mosaddeq’s ouster. As for the Islamic Republic, at a moment when it is dealing with internal divisions and uncertainties about its future, it would likewise help for it to abandon its outdated notions of victimhood and domination by foreigners and acknowledge that it was Iranians themselves who were the principal protagonists in one of the most important turning points in their country’s history.”




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