Well that only took 60 years. The CIA has finally admitted to its role in the coup that overthrew Iran’s democratically elected leader and replaced him with the Shah – a tyrant whose brutality set the stage for the Iranian Revolution of 1979. The revolution involved the storming of the U.S. embassy in Iran leading to a prolonged hostage crisis.
The National Security Archive on Monday published evidence of the CIA’s long-known role in the 1953 Iran coup that helped pave the way for the Islamic revolution 26 years later.
The newly declassified material is believed to contain the CIA’s first public acknowledgment of its role in deposing democratically elected Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddeq after he nationalized the country’s oil industry. The move – and Iran’s broader lurch to the left under Mosaddeq – infuriated Great Britain and the United States, which pressed Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi to depose him in 1953.
The information released to the National Security Archive proves what most observers have long known – that the antagonism between the United States and Iran stems from U.S. malevolence in the country.
The 1953 coup remains a topic of global interest because so much about it is still under intense debate. Even fundamental questions — who hatched the plot, who ultimately carried it out, who supported it inside Iran, and how did it succeed — are in dispute.
The issue is more than academic. Political partisans on all sides, including the Iranian government, regularly invoke the coup to argue whether Iran or foreign powers are primarily responsible for the country’s historical trajectory, whether the United States can be trusted to respect Iran’s sovereignty, or whether Washington needs to apologize for its prior interference before better relations can occur.
But why do they hate us?
Perhaps Americans should consider how they would feel if a foreign country were intimately involved in overthrowing its democratically elected leader and then helped install a brutal tyrant. And then, to add insult to injury, that foreign country spent the better part of three decades criticizing America for not being democratic enough after the American people overthrew the tyrant. Just saying.