The 1953 CIA coup in Iran was named “Operation Ajax” and was engineered by a CIA
agent named Kermit Roosevelt, the grandson of President Theodore Roosevelt.
Capitalizing on the oil-nationalization showdown between Iran and Great Britain,
which had thrown Iran into chaos and crisis, Kermit Roosevelt skillfully used
a combination of bribery of Iranian military officials and CIA-engendered
street protests to pull off the coup.
The first stage of the coup, however, was unsuccessful, and the shah,
who had partnered with the CIA to oust Mossadegh from office, fled Tehran
in fear of his life. However, in the second stage of the coup a few days later,
the CIA achieved its goal, enabling the shah to return to Iran in triumph ...
and with a subsequent 25-year, U.S.-supported dictatorship, which included
one of the world’s most terrifying and torturous secret police, the Savak.
the U.S. government, including the CIA, kept what it had done in Iran
secret from the American people and the world, although the Iranian people long
suspected CIA involvement. U.S. officials, not surprisingly,
considered the operation
one of their greatest foreign-policy successes ... until, that is, the enormous
convulsion that rocked Iranian society with the violent ouster of the shah and
the installation of a virulently anti-American Islamic regime in 1979.
It is impossible to overstate the magnitude of anger and hatred that the Iranian
people had for the U.S. government in 1979, not only because their world-famous
democratically elected prime minister had been ousted by the CIA but also for
having had to live for the following 25 years under a brutal and torturous
dictatorship, a U.S.-government-supported dictatorship that also offended
many Iranians with its policies of Westernization.
In fact, the reason that the Iranian students took control
of the U.S. embassy after the violent ouster of the shah in 1979
was their genuine fear that the U.S. government would repeat
what it had done in 1953.