promoting the unwanted, redheaded stepchild that is individual liberty

America and Iranian democracy; what you weren’t taught in school

In foreign policy, sovereignty, war and peace on November 23, 2009 at 1:25 am

In the middle of the Cold War, the United States played a role in the overthrow of a democratically elected Iranian government. — President Barack Obama, June 4, 2009

To most Americans, the major political turning point in Iran is the 1970s Islamic Revolution. Little is known of the nation’s history before the overthrow of the Shah or America’s and Europe’s involvement.

In 1953, the CIA carried out Operation Ajax: An organized coup d’etat that successfully overthrew Iran’s democratically elected leader, Mohammad Mossadegh, and enabled the return of authoritarian monarch, Mohammed Reza. The CIA acted at the request of the British government and in the interest of American oil.

While the coup is openly admitted to by both American and British leaders today, it is not something that is taught in schools or discussed in light of current events. If America intends to address the current Iranian situation, in cannot do so without first looking to the past.

Visit for a comprehensive archiving of the 1953 coup d’etat and Mohammad Mossadegh.

  1. Jessica,

    Go back just a little further. Who “created” the “countries” of Iraq, Jordan Israel, Saudi Arabia and many others in the MidEast? You left out the formation of a “government” in the Congo. You also left out the “governments” in eastern Europe following WWII. There is plenty of blame to go around.

    Do our historical actions to put the Shah on the throne in Iran “then” justify appeasement of today’s Iranian government? Do some (certainly not all) “national interests” deserve consideration in matters of foreign policy and/or armed intervention? What about Hitler?


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