Sunday, December 24, 2006

The 1953 Coup in Iran

During an Iran related lecture I attended a few weeks ago, I came across a very pretty Iranian girl who had come up to the speaker after the lecture, to get his book autographed. The girl was immaculately dressed and it was obvious that she was well looked after. She spoke Persian fluently, as well as German and English. She told me she was born in Iran, but her family apparently moved to Germany some years after the 1979 revolution and she now worked in London.
"I will never go to USA though", she told me during our brief conversation.
"Why?" I was puzzled by her statement.
"Because of what US did to Mossadiq in 1953!" She replied.

I shook my head as I laughed uncontrollably and said "But we are in London now! did the British not have anything to do with the 1953 events? were they not the main culprits? at least the Americans have apologised for their part in what happened half a century ago!".

Time was short and I wasn't able to get into a real discussion with her. I was thinking to myself, imagine how bizarre it would be if an Indian person said to me "I would never go to Iran, because of what Nadir Shah did to India!" and I was also thinking how that girl would feel about going to Russia, after all the wrongs and evils that Russia has done to Iran.

However history will judge the 1953 events in Iran, the post 1953 period was a period of boom and prosperity for the Iranian middle class. In fact, the Iranian middle class, to which that girl evidently belonged to, was created in the aftermath of the 1953 coup and prospered from the later reforms that followed.

The 1953 Coup, is one of those peculiar historic events that everyone seems to want to claim to be a victim of, or mention it to acclaim their knowledge of Iranian history and justify their kooky conclusions of why the clerics in Iran behave as they do.

Think Tanks and "Iran experts" who want to write an essay about Iran-US relations, always refer to 1953 by default. Not to mention 1953 in a typical academic paper on Iran, would tantamount to sheer academic ignorance on Iran.

The former BBC correspondent in Iran, Jim Muir, felt compelled to mention the "US backed 1953 coup in Iran" as the introduction to his pathetic documentary on the murder of Zahra Kazemi in IRI prisons!! The 1953 events is always mentioned in the introduction part of just about anything which does not want to come across as totally anti-theocracy in Iran. It is often used to "analyze" the current psychology of Iran's current rulers and somehow justify it because of what happened in 1953 :))

This kind of analysis seems to give such academic papers and news programs some sort of balance and intellectual credibility. After all, if someone simply said the Islamic Republic is simply not interested in being partners with America, but rather more interested to lead the Muslim world and that any compromise with the US would in fact jeopardise that ambition, then the author would come across as too pro-American.

What makes me laugh, is that the present rulers of the Islamic Republic are themselves very anti-Mossadiq. They were pro the overthrow of Mossadiq in 1953!
Mossadiq's name is very rarely mentioned by the Ayatollahs unless in despise or where it is expedient for them. The current rulers of the Islamic Republic regard their icon of that era, not to be Mossadiq but Ayatollah Kashani, who ordered his henchmen to pour into the streets to overthrow Mossadiq.

So how do these think tanks, academics, reporters and pro-IRI lobbyists in US conclude that it is because of what happened in 1953 that the Islamic Republic has reasons to be suspicious of peace with the US?

Some of the Iranian essay writers who write such conclusions, like Vali Nasr and others, actually belong to devout Muslim families who were close to the Iranian Royal Court and benefited enormously from their ties with Iran's imperial regime. Vali Nasr's father, Seyyed Hosein Nasr, for example, is an extremely devout Sufi Muslim, who was appointed by the Empress Farrah, as the head of the Imperial Iranian Academy of Philosophy. Surely what happened in 1953 did not hurt them!

So who are the ones that should have a legitimate grudge against the US and what happened in 1953? Well in my view that would be members of Mossadiq's cabinet and leaders of the Iranian National Front. After all, they were the ones who were deposed from power. Some of them went to prison, although most of them later became quite affluent and successful.

During the 1979 Islamic revolution in Iran, most of the National Front members abandoned Dr. Bakhtiar and co-operated with the Ayatollahs against the Shah. Later when the clerics consolidated their power in Iran, most of the Iranian National Front figures were either jailed or fled from Iran to safety. Where did most of them go to seek a safe haven? to the United States of America :)

So I am so fed up when I hear anyone, think tank - "Iran Expert" or reporter, mention the events of 1953 in Iran, in order to justify the anti-US position of Iran's clerics. The Iranian clerics are anti-US not because of what happened in 1953, but because they are anti-modernity. Read your history on Iran, the mullahs opposed the use of any thing new, whether it was tables and chairs, telegraph, railway, hand clapping.... because it was all new to them. They see modernity as a threat to their survival. It has nothing to do with 1953.


Anonymous said...

My favorite book on the topic "28 amordaad" - is:
All the Shah's men
Wherein Stephen Kinzer attributes the disaster in 9-11 as a direct
consequence of the 1953 course of events in Iran !!

Aryamehr said...

LOL! I just had some idiot come on my blog and post some utter bullshiite about 1953 =)

There are two things which these idiots distort:

1) Dr Mossadegh was not "democratically elected by the people" but was APPOINTED to the premiership by the late Shah who was Head of State.

2) The late Shah did not initiate any coup. Dr Mossadegh initiated a coup against the Iranian Head when he refused the Head of State's orders to step down; he subsequently took over with the help of military personnel loyal to him.

As events unfolded the Shah was able to regain executive control with the help of the people of Iran and loyal troops, who saw the looming disaster Dr Mossadegh intentionally/unintentionally was leading the nation towards (seizure of power by communists and ruining of the economy).

Bahramerad said...

The problem with the left and the their ideology is that they always rap their arguments around the anti American Flag so that when they tell a big lie and keep repeating it, it becomes the current currency to reinforce all their other misapprehensions and delusions in all the academic circles and antiestablishment mass Media.
Then because they are told and retold by so call Academics' it tends to brainwash the impressionable young minds and to stick in their mind as gospel truth and it becomes very difficult to erase it from the collective consciences.
It is then not help by the Democratic Party in America that wants to cosy up to the criminal Mullah's and goes on to APOLOGISE for the events of 1953 and Eisenhowers policies in Persia.
I remember 1953 because it was such an unusual' disturbing and at the same time such a happy day. I was 4 year old. My dad had gone to work as usual in the morning and during the morning and lunch time my mum was very distraught and we were listening to unusual programmes on the radio. Then my dad come home about 3 or 4 o'clock and as we were very so happy to see him safe and sound, he suggested that we should hire a taxi and go around town to see the celebrations of the people who had defeated the coup d`etat by the left who had tried to take over the Government.
We all piled up into a taxi and went to have an Akbar Mashdi Ice cream in the Bottom of Shemiran street and then went all the way up to Tajrish to have another one there and came back down the Pahlavi Avenue.
People were all in the street and celebrating just like us. I do not remember people being shot in the streets.
Compare this to the events of the 1979 upheaval.
Now that's what I call tragedy.

Anonymous said...

من از مطرح شدن مبحث ۲۸ مرداد ناخرسندم، زيرا اين موضوعی است که در شرايط فعلی باعث جدايی در بين مخالفان جمهوری اسلامی می شود. از ۲۸ مرداد بيش از پنجاه سال می گذرد و هيچ کدام از بازيگران اصلی آن رويداد ديگر در قيد حيات نيستند. اين بحث را به تاريخ نويسان بسپاريم تا با سند و مدرک و به دور از بحثهای روزانة سياسی نظر خود را بيان کنند. شخصيتهای سياسی آن روزگار هر کدام اشتباهاتی داشته اند ولی همه وطن پرست و عاشق ايران بوده اند. وطن پرستی و عشق به ايران را از آنان بياموزيم و بين خود با اين مباحث جدايی نيفکنيم.ـ

Winston said...

1953 coup (if we can call it a coup) was a necessary move to remove a mad man (aka Mossadeq) who was appointed by the Shah and didn't leave his position when Shah asked him to do so.

Moreover, Iranians are indebted their country's territorial integrity to Americans for what President Truman did to get our Azerbaijan and Kurdistan back from the Stalinist Soviet Union between 1947-1949.

But leftists and moonbats are welcome to their own crazy ideas any how. Who cares?

Azarmehr said...

من هم قصدم این نبود که بحث 28 مرداد را پیش بکشم. چرا که بیش از 50 سال از این واقعه میگذرد و درد امروز ما نیست. میخواستم به آن دسته از خارجی ها که رفتار جمهوری اسلامی را با پیش کشیدن این واقعه توجیه میکنند بگویم که این واقعه ربطی به شیوه رفتار این حاکمین ندارد, آنها از بیخ وبن با تجدد و جوامع پیشرفته اشکال دارند.

Anonymous said...

پتکين عزيز، درود بر شما، تمام ترس و واهمة من از اين است که تعدادی از هموطنان که کماکان در پنجاه سال پيش زندگی می کنند با خواندن واژة ۲۸ مرداد، موقعيت را غنيمت شمارند و به جای پرداختن به امروز، بار ديگر خود و ديگران را در پريروز گرفتار بکنند. وگرنه دربارة هر رويداد تاريخی بسيار سخن می توان گفت و بايد گفت. بايد جستجو کرد و بايد پژوهيد و بايد سخن گفت و تاريخ را از دروغ و ناراستی پاک کرد. در برخی محافل سياسی امکان ندارد که در هر بحث و گفتگويی که برگذار می شود به ۲۸ مرداد اشاره نشود، حال موضوع اصلی بحث هر چه می خواهد که باشد. من اين مطلب را حتا در بحثهای ادبی نيز شاهد بوده ام. گويا افرادی خود را تنها در مخالفت با ۲۸ مرداد می توانند تعريف و توجيه کنند. در مورد خبرنگاران و گزارشگران خارجی مورد نظر شما بايد بگويم که آنان هيچگاه درک درستی از ايران نداشته اند. سوای اشارة بی ربط به ۲۸ مرداد تمام گزارشهای آنان خط رسمی وزارت امور خارجة کشور متبوعشان را دنبال می کند. نمونة واضح و جديد آن را در دوران سياه بازی دوم خرداد و شعبده بازی خاتمی و رفقا ديديم. به ندرت می شد گزارش و خبری انتقادی دربارة اصلاحات حکومتی در جرايد اروپايی پيدا کرد. منافع تاريخی و سياسی اروپا دهه ها است که در تضاد با منافع ايران است.ـ

Anonymous said...

Potkin jan: Outstanding commentary. In the Persian translation of the work of Stephen Kinzer's book "All the Shah's Men", the complicity of Ayatollah Kashani is deleted entirely by the mullahs regime.

Arian said...

There is one exception to the rule: weapons. If there is one things Muslims will not resist and love, it's weapons, and the newer and more technogically advanced, the better. Such an ironic twist of events for a people with such animosity for modernity.

Winston said...

what happened to my comment on this post?

Anonymous said...

About time someone told these foreigners who write about Iran who was pro and who was against the 1953 coup!

One of Ayatollah Kashani's followers was a guy called mirashrafi who used to publish a newspaper called Atash(Fire). He was the first to announce the fall of Mossadiq's cabinet on the radio and call it a "national uprising".

To say the Ayatollahs in Iran are still "smouldering bitter memories" of the 1953 coup, shows complete ignorance about Iran.

Anonymous said...

Excellent article by the British Foreign Secretary,

Ahmadi-nejad is no Mossadeq!

Anonymous said...

Interesting observation by the gentleperson, Anonymous in a couple of messages above about Mirashrafi and the pro-Shah over taking of the Radio Iran during the 28 Mordad. I would like to add a little note that Mehdi Mirashrafi was executed by the Revolutionary Guards in Isfahan a few months after the Islamic Revolution for simply being pro-Shah. Perhaps Mirashrafi was neither on Mosadegh’s, nor on the Islamic Republic’s side and was really pro-monarchy!

Anonymous said...

Notorious Mehdi Mirashrafi was elected deputy for Meshkin Shahar in Azerbaijan to the parliment .

In ,sternly ,worded letter to the Majles ,Mosaddegh raised the issue of Mirashrafi who has been elected to be dismiss ,and majles refused to dimiss mirashrafi.

On 7th of june 1953 Majles session
broke up in uproar when debate on the bill for curbing the shah power was about to reaching the voting stage .A fight broke out in majles
opposition and mehdi mirashrafi supporter of other opposition.

Dr Mossadegh his mother was grand daughter of crown princess Abbas Mirza Quajar .Dr Mossadegh subconsciously he had claim to the become throne.

In 1951 the shah of iran authorize mossadegh to enforcement to nationalization of iranian oil .
shah was the first person to sign the declaration.
mirashrafi leads MPs towards radio iran and declare fall of mossadegh.

Mirashrafi owner of newspaper called Atash and Ahamd Shamloo was his publisher and journlist.
this would describe what type of person he was.

Mirashrafie was part of big dynasty
whose their contribution towards eduction and grammer of parsi atomic energy and mashrooth was very signifcant.

Anonymous said...

you are an idiot for thinking that Dr Mossdegh as a leftist just remember he won the case against the british in the world court in Hage holland and he truly freed Iran from imperialist forces so lets speak the truth and not propaganda for a carless regime such as the shah besides what has his son the crown prince is doing for iranians outside iran NOTHING atleast his brother was honorable enough to take his own life

Anonymous said...

shah was a coward

Anonymous said...

Shah was a coward and a traitor also long live Dr.Mossadegh and the national front aryamehr get your history right shah was nothing but a killer as bad as Saddam and the rest of dictators in middle east do you want to talk about his Savak and General Zahedi and his son both traitors to Iran do not forget Kermit Roosvelt and Shaban Jafari other wise known as Shabon bimokh another traitor anonymous you are correct Shah's people are like Stalin they write history with pencil so they can erase what they do not agree with facts are different from opinions.

hachamanesh said...

dear country men and women why are we fighting each other we are all angry and frustrated at the present regime in Iran that is exactly what they want to see all of us divided on that note some of us do not want to accept facts and we want to make our opinions part of history the fact is Dr.Mossadegh was not a leftist yes he was appointed by the shah but at that time of our history shah was not strong to rule Iran and in a constitutional monarchy prime minister assumes all powers over government as Assadollah Alam told the shah he said the difference between you and your father was you could not lie to Reza shah and you could not tell the truth to his son Mohammad reza pahlavi Mossadegh was very good not only for Iran but the whole region. Stop making opinions facts that was Stalin who wrote history in pencil so he could change it every day shah's people seem to do that .