Sunday, December 27, 2009

Wikipedia's version of the 1953 coup d'etat in Iran - part 2

With Iran being all over America's 2009 headlines for production of nuclear material... and current reports of significant civil unrest there... I offer the second of an ongoing piece on the 1953 Iranian coup d'etat that I found on Wikipedia.

Wikipedia clearly notes that this piece has both its neutrality and factual accuracy disputed. Nonetheless, this perspective on history may be useful in understanding US-Iran relations. And I'm doing this as much for my own edification, as for anyone else who may be interested. These posts are not intended to indicate my agreement or disagreement with anything written.

Two years earlier, in 1951, Mosaddeq, backed by his nationalist supporters in the Iranian parliament and throughout Iran, had angered Britain with his argument that Iran should begin profiting from its vast oil reserves instead of allowing profits to continue to flow to Britain. In 1951, Iran's Parliament, the Majlis, nationalized Iran's oil industry and then elected Mosaddeq as prime minster. Since 1913, the oil industry in Iran had been controlled exclusively by the British government-controlled Anglo-Iranian Oil Company,[6][7] the UK's single largest overseas investment.[8] The ejection of the British staff of the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (AIOC) from the nationalized refineries in Iran triggered a crisis at Abadan, the world's largest refinery, in what came to be called the Abadan Crisis.[9] Britain accused Mosaddeq of violating the legal rights of the AIOC and mobilized a worldwide boycott of Iran's oil that plunged Iran into financial crisis. "After Iran nationalized the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company May 2, 1951, Britain assembled an armada made up of its Navy, Air Force and army to seize the island of Abadan in order to reclaim control of the oil refinery but Prime Minister Clement Attlee declined to attack, choosing instead to enforce the economic boycott against Iran.[10] The British government, headed by Winston Churchill, tried to enlist the United States in planning a coup, but President Harry S. Truman refused. Under his successor, Dwight D. Eisenhower, however, the CIA embarked on its first covert operation to overthrow a foreign government.[11]

Tim White

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