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Former Iranian premier Mohammed Mossadegh after he was sentenced to three years solitary confinement by a military court in Tehran, December 21, 1953. — Photo AP/File
Former Iranian premier Mohammed Mossadegh after he was sentenced to three years solitary confinement by a military court in Tehran, December 21, 1953. — Photo AP/File

Today, on the 60th anniversary of the coup against Iran’s Mohammed Mossadegh, Foreign Policy Magazine (FPM) reported that the National Security Archive website — an independent non-governmental research institute and library located at The George Washington University in Washington DC — has published a document in which the CIA openly acknowledges its involvement in the overthrow of the man who was elected as Iran’s prime minister.

Mossadegh, who was the prime minister of Iran, was overthrown on August 19, 1953 in what was for years believed to be a plot backed by the US and the UK. The event changed the course of history in Iran, the effects of which continue to echo to this day.

According to the report in FPM, the National Security Archive obtained the document through the Freedom of Information Act request. The document is a brief excerpt from a report titled “The Battle for Iran,” an internal report prepared in the mid-1970s by an in-house CIA historian.

While the document was first released in 1981, most of it had been redacted, including Section III titled "Covert Action,” which describes the events relating to the coup.

Even though most of the document remains redacted even now, the new version formally and implicitly admits the involvement of the CIA in the overthrow for the first time: "[T]he military coup that overthrew Mossadegh and his National Front cabinet was carried out under CIA direction as an act of US foreign policy," the history reads.

The risk of leaving Iran "open to Soviet aggression…compelled the United planning and executing TPAJAX," it said.

FPM reported that TPAJAX was the CIA's codename for the overthrow plot, which heavily employed the used of local collaborators in its execution.

The document, "The Battle for Iran," available here and here provides two separate releases of the same document, declassified 30 years apart in 1981 and 2011 respectively.

According to the National Security Archive, each version contains portions that have been redacted in the other. While the document itself is undated, hand written edits and footnotes imply that the document was written in or after 1974.

The author is said to have been a member of the CIA's History Staff who acknowledges "the enthusiastic cooperation" of the agency's Directorate of Operations, but also concedes that most of the relevant files were destroyed in 1962. The account, therefore, relies on the relatively few remaining records as well as on sources available to the public.

Comments (27) Closed

Imran Aug 19, 2013 02:55pm

May be after 30 years we have same kind of document on Moorsi of Egypt.

NMA Aug 19, 2013 03:12pm

Wonder what we will learn about Egypt 60 years from now!!!

vazife Aug 19, 2013 03:58pm

The 1953 cope against the legitimate and elected government was a very disgusting event among Iranians and its undesired and terrible consequences have continued up to now. Just minds consider the event a shame on humanity and democracy of US. I believe that, the US and its allies are continuing the same policy against Iran through the famous 5+1 negotiations.

FAHD ABBASY Aug 19, 2013 04:05pm

CIA playing the same game even today across the world

and any1 pointing fingers at it is called a conspiracy theorist

Sultan Aug 19, 2013 05:47pm

I am sure we will face same sort of NEWS for Pakistan for Last elections how Mr Nawaz Sharif was elected with the help of Foriegn Forces

Masoud Aug 19, 2013 06:40pm

Neither amazed nor surprised at the news. These were and are the common features of most of the dominant powers.

a Aug 19, 2013 07:16pm

Same kind of documents will be revealed regarding Egypt and Pakistan.

Guest63 Aug 19, 2013 07:49pm

@NMA:, why going so far sir , why not ask , About Sikander Mirza , Ayub Khan , Zia ul haq , Musharaf , our own plate if so full that we do not need to look so far to an African country as such , Pakistan borders with Iran too and our first incident on the line of Iran happened just 5 years after the Iranian coup .... do not you see the reason to find and search our own back yards which has at least 4 such incidents .........

Guest63 Aug 19, 2013 07:50pm

@Imran: Documents on the Ayub of Pakistan , Zia ul haq of Pakistan , Musharf of Pakistan , would be of more interest to us Pakistanis than worrying about an African country

farid Aug 19, 2013 07:58pm

Then the US complains about Iran's move to Islamic fundamentalism. What is happening now in the US and other western countries is the bitter taste of these kind of misdirected and short sighted policies.

Waqar Aug 19, 2013 08:03pm

Most of the Egyptian people I talked here (Dubai) are of the opinion that Moorsi was actually supposed to act according to the USA but things turned against him when there were traces of him supporting Hamas/Palestine and Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas starting strong ties. Finally, it was a potential threat to USA darling Israel. So, the Moorsi honeymoon ended too soon.

HM Aug 19, 2013 08:59pm

Don't wait till 30 yrs. Decide and analyze now who is doing what. Those faces who looks champions of democracy... like Bush, tonny blair and Obama are actually corrupt and selfish people who have blood on their hands of people of Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan etc.

HM Aug 19, 2013 09:11pm

Read the documents .... its an eye opener for Balooch people. Don't be fooled by CIA and RAW. They are after your wealth and minerals not your independence or rights.

Syed (Australia) Aug 19, 2013 11:16pm

Shameful act from the so called democracy lovers and the most civilized nation like USA and UK

AFAQ Aug 20, 2013 06:55am

And last 4 military take over in Pakistan.

S. Israr Ali Aug 20, 2013 07:43am

One wonders if same game by CIA without any legitimacy is continuing unending elsewhere in the world!

asim Aug 20, 2013 09:17am

We will witness the same historical document about military intervention in Pakistan.

Danish Aug 20, 2013 02:36pm

The report says that the US toppled Iranian regime with the help of local collaborators, almost the same is be the case in whole Muslim world, where the regims were replaced forcefully, I wonder, why all collaborators are always Muslim, I have never heard any such collaborators from Euorope, America, Australia etc...... Why always Muslims.......


Saeed Aug 20, 2013 04:28pm

@Guest63: Iran is not a African country, It is Pakistan's neighbor to the west.

ZH Hashmi Aug 20, 2013 07:32pm

No outsider can interfere in a state's affair , unless the black sheep insiders themselves compromise the national security.

mnaasim Aug 21, 2013 01:51am

Often when we discuss the role of CIA in fomenting trouble in other nations especially Muslims - the usual reply is that it is conspiracy mongering. And it will take 60 more years for Sectarianists and Secularists to see America's hand in Syria, Libya, Egypt and Pakistan.

Harry Aug 21, 2013 01:04pm

@Danish: Because calibrators has to look like locals for stability and influence to make it look like a internal revolution. For example It would make no sense to have a Japanese calibrator doing a coup in Iran, it makes no sense. Are we forgetting when British ruled India they also used local collaborators, many of whom were Hindu. Corruption is not a Muslim issue, it is a global issue.

Fahd Aug 21, 2013 02:29pm

@Danish: the more important question is why only America use such tactics.. why not Russia ,China, Brazil or anyone from Europe.. than u will probably get ur answer why USA only targets muslim majority countries.. :)

dass Aug 21, 2013 04:39pm

what snowden did? He face off the mask of a most civilized country, where the individual's fundemental freedom is montiroed in the name of survilance. Like God, our Big brother is watching- every where - every thing.

aamirb Aug 21, 2013 05:53pm


Not really, CIA has been involved in toppling many regimes in South America, Africa etc with local collaboration. When it comes to greed and a lust for power religion or anything else makes no difference. Aug 22, 2013 03:54am

Vow shocked to hear that!! Americans I would not have believed it, I thought it would have been the Martians! Aug 22, 2013 03:57am

@Danish: Danish just like the Mutiny against GB in India. Who were the collaborators then. You are partly true but we do not have a monopoly in this though. Ask the African nations who were the collaborators when Brits and Dutch ruled S A and Africa! Check it out! You will be shocked.