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How the United States Became the GREAT SATAN to Iran, beginning with the Cold War in the early 1950s Iran’s President and Cabinet, 2006.

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Presentation on theme: "How the United States Became the GREAT SATAN to Iran, beginning with the Cold War in the early 1950s Iran’s President and Cabinet, 2006."— Presentation transcript:

1 How the United States Became the GREAT SATAN to Iran, beginning with the Cold War in the early 1950s Iran’s President and Cabinet, 2006

2 January, 1953: Dwight D. Eisenhower becomes President of the United States and John Foster Dulles becomes Secretary of State ( ) Left, Eisenhower; Right, Dulles *by nature, Dulles was stiff and confrontational

3 *in 1952, Dulles made speeches accusing (then president) Truman of weakness in the face of Communist advances (i.e. the Soviet Union had imposed its rule on much of Eastern Europe and successfully tested an atomic bomb; a Communist army had seized power in China; thousands of Americans had recently been killed fighting Communist forces in Korea)

4 When Dulles became Secretary of State he promised that a Republican White House would: “ roll back Communism by securing the liberation of nations that had fallen victim to its despotism and godless terrorism ” John Foster Dulles in 1954

5 In the Early 1950s, The United States, Great Britain, and Iran Battle Over Oil and the Spread of Communism* *very similar to the battles today between these nations over control of middle eastern oil and terrorism

6 *Britain was facing a grave challenge: to project military power, fuel its industries, and give its citizens a high standard of living, it depended largely on Iranian oil *since 1901, the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company, principally owned by the British government, had held a monopoly on the extraction, refining, and sale of Iranian oil

7 * Anglo-Iranian ’ s grossly unequal contract, negotiated with a corrupt monarch, required it to pay Iran just 16% of the money it earned from selling the country ’ s oil; it probably paid less than that, but the truth was never known, since no outsider was permitted to audit its books

8 *Anglo-Iranian Oil Company made more profit in 1950 alone than it had paid Iran in royalties over the previous half-century (50 years)

9 In the years after World War Two, the currents of nationalism and anti- colonialism surged across Asia, Africa, and Latin America. They carried an outspoken and idealistic Iranian, Mohammad Mossadegh, to power in the spring of Dr. Mohammad Mossadegh

10 Prime Minister Mossadegh embodied the cause that had become the country ’ s obsession. He was determined to expel the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company, nationalize the oil industry, and use the money it generated to develop Iran.

11 Mossadegh was European-educated and believed passionately in nationalizing Iran ’ s oil and concentrating political power in the elected parliament and prime minister, rather than in the corrupt monarch, Mohammad Reza Shah.

12 Mossadegh ’ s rise to power and parliament ’ s vote to nationalize the oil industry thrilled Iranians but outraged British leaders, who vowed to resist because “ Persian oil is of vital importance to our economy and we must do everything possible to prevent them from getting away with a breach of their contractual obligations ”. Anglo- Iranian Oil Company, 1953

13 In early 1951, both houses of the Iranian parliament voted unanimously to nationalize the oil industry and the whole country celebrated. A radio commentator soon declared: “ All of Iran ’ s misery, wretchedness, lawlessness, and corruption over the last fifty years has been caused by the extortions of the oil company. ”

14 *Throughout 1951 and 1952, the British considered bribing Mossadegh, assassinating him, and then launching a military invasion of Iran, a plan they might have carried out if President Truman and Secretary of State Dean Acheson had not become almost apoplectic on learning of it

15 *The British sabotaged their own oil installations to try and convince Mossadegh that he could not run the oil industry without them; blockaded Iranian ports so no tankers could enter or leave; and appealed unsuccessfully to the U.N. Security Council and the International Court of Justice

16 *With one option left, the British resolved to organize a coup and oust Mossadegh; officials in London ordered their agents in Iran (military officers, journalists, religious leaders, etc.) to set a plot in motion

17 Before the British could strike their blow, however, Mossadegh discovered their plans; then to protect himself and his government on October 16, 1952, he ordered the British Embassy shut down and all of its employees sent out of the country

18 Mossadegh was highly emotional but scrupulously honest. In January of 1952, TIME named him man of the year over Winston Churchill, Harry Truman, Douglas MacArthur, and Dwight D. Eisenhower. It called him opportunistic and obstinate, but also “ the Iranian George Washington ” and “ the most world-renowned man Persia had produced for centuries ”.

19 Two weeks after Mossadegh shut the British embassy, Americans went to the polls and elected Eisenhower president. Within days, John Foster Dulles was named secretary of state. Coincidentally, the chief of CIA operations in the Middle East, Kermit Roosevelt, was passing through London on his way home from Iran and met with top British leaders who proposed that the USA, through the CIA, carry out their plan to stage a coup and overthrow Mossadegh. Kermit Kim Roosevelt

20 Mossadegh was actually a convinced democrat who abhorred Communist doctrine and rigorously excluded Communists from his government. But British intelligence agents gave Secretary Dulles the idea that he could portray Mossadegh ’ s overthrow as a “ rollback ” of Communism-something the “ Cold Warrior ” Dulles was happy to do.

21 Since the State Department did not have the capacity to overthrow governments, Dulles enlisted the CIA, a relatively new agency, headed by his brother, Allen Dulles and formed in 1947 to gather intelligence and perform covert operations. Neither agency, nor any other until now, had ever been ordered to overthrow a foreign government.

22 Allen W. Dulles When the Dulles brothers approached Eisenhower with the plan to overthrow the Iranian government, the President wondered aloud why it wasn ’ t possible “ to get some of the people in these downtrodden countries to like us instead of hating us ”. John Foster Dulles

23 John Foster Dulles succeeded in convincing Eisenhower that Mossadegh was a weak leader who could easily be assassinated or overthrown, creating a power vacuum, which would allow the Communists in the region to take power. If this happened, J.F. Dulles warned, not only would the free world be deprived of the enormous assets of Iranian oil production and reserves, but … in short order other areas of the Middle East, with some sixty percent of the world ’ s oil reserves, would certainly fall into Communist hands.

24 John Foster Dulles had two interrelated and mutually reinforcing lifelong obsessions: fighting Communism and protecting the rights of multinational corporations. Iran ’ s principal oil production sectors

25 As the historian James A. Bill has written, “ There is little doubt that petroleum considerations were involved in the American decision to assist in the overthrow of the Mossadegh government … Concerns about communism and the availability of petroleum were interlocked. Together they drove America to a policy of direct intervention. ”

26 Planning for the coup began in earnest. Allen Dulles and his British intelligence counterparts chose a retired general Fazlollah Zahedi as titular leader and then sent $1 million to the CIA station in Tehran for use “ in any way that would bring about the fall of Mossadegh ”.

27 J. F. Dulles directed the U.S. ambassador in Iran to contact Iranians who might be interested in helping to overthrow Mossadegh. Two secret agents with the CIA and a British intelligence officer met in Cyprus and hatched a plan to carry out the coup.

28 The Plan to overthrow Mossadegh (continued): *Then they would hire thugs to carry out “ staged attacks ” on religious figures and other respected Iranians, making it appear that Mossadegh had ordered them; meanwhile, General Zahedi would be given $135,000 to “ win additional friends and influence key people ” ; an additional $11,000 per week was budgeted to bribe members of the Iranian parliament Left: General Zahedi Right: Shah Reza Pahlovi

29 *On “ coup day ” thousands of paid demonstrators would converge on parliament to demand Mossadegh ’ s dismissal and parliament would respond with a “ quasi- legal ” vote to do so; if Mossadegh resisted, military units loyal to General Zahedi would arrest him

30 *Several U.S. State Department and CIA personnel objected to the plot and some even resigned in protest; their files were bulging with dispatches reporting that Mossadegh “ has the backing of 95 to 98 percent of the people and is a loyal conservative and a patriotic Iranian nationalist ”

31 To carry out the CIA plan (code named Operation Ajax) to overthrow Mossadegh, Allen Dulles sent Kermit Roosevelt, the agency ’ s top Middle East expert and grandson of the former President, Theodore Roosevelt Kermit “ Kim ” Roosevelt

32 The British and American plan “ Operation Ajax ” was successful because it used a network of bribed Iranian officials and the expenditure of lavish amounts of money to create an entirely artificial wave of anti-Mossadegh protest.

33 Members of parliament, religious leaders, and newspapers turned on Mossadegh and denounced him with wild charges, calling him an atheist, a Jew, an infidel, a homosexual, a communist, and an agent of British imperialism.

34 Ironically, “ Mossadegh ’ s avowed commitment to promoting and respecting civil rights and liberties, and allowing the due process of law to take its course, greatly benefited his enemies ”, wrote historian Fakhreddin Azimi years later.

35 Mossadegh was overthrown by the Americans and the British and Tehran fell on August 19, General Zahedi became Iran ’ s new prime minister and Shah Reza Pahlavi returned to reclaim the Peacock Throne.. Shah Reza Pahlavi

36 Over the next twenty or so years, the Shah ’ s despotic rule fired the movement of Iranian religious exiles that led to his overthrow by Shi ’ a Muslim cleric, the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in the 1979 Iranian Revolution

37 After the deposed Shah was granted permission to enter the U.S. to seek cancer treatment, furious Iranian militants took sixty-six American diplomats hostage in what would come to be known as the Iranian Hostage Crisis.

38 During the “ Iranian Hostage Crisis ” representatives of the U.S. were held captive for nearly 18 months in 1979 and throughout 1980 at the American Embassy in Tehran

39 Sources *Kinzer, Stephen, OVERTHROW, America ’ s Century of Regime Change from Hawaii to Iraq (Henry Holt, 2006) *Kluckhohn, Frank L., The Man Who Kept the Peace: A Study of John Foster Dulles (Columbia Heights, 1968) *Pruessen, Ronald W., John Foster Dulles: The Road to Power (Free Press, 1982) *Elm, Mostafa, Oil, Power, and Principle: Iran ’ s Oil Nationalization and Its Aftermath (Syracuse University, 1992) *Goode, James F., The United States and Iran: In the Shadow of Mossedegh (St. Martin ’ s, 1997) *National Security Council meeting: Department of State, Foreign Relations of the United States, , Vol. 10: IRAN (Wash. D.C. Govt. Printing Office, 1989)

40 Sources (continued) “ The Spectre of Operation Ajax: Britain and the US Crushed Iran ’ s first Democratic Government ” by Dan De Luce in Guardian Unlimited, 8/20/03 “ An Anti-Democracy Foreign Policy: Iran ” by Jacob G. Hornberger, January, 2005, The Future of Freedom “ The Secret CIA History of the Iran Coup, 1953 ” National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 28, edited by Malcolm Byrne, updated PBS FRONTLINE: Terror and Tehran: Chronology-US and Iranian Relations, “ Western Motives for Overthrowing the Mossadegh Government ” by Jamie Louise Stinson, THE SEXTANT No. 4/5, Summer, 2006, Christopher Newport


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