Monday, August 26, 2013
United States’ role in 1953 Iranian coup remains controversial For the first time in 60 years, the U.S. acknowledged its role in deposing then-Iranian Prime Minister Mohammed Mosaddeq in a coup d’état. Recently revealed documents from the National Security Archive detail multiple reasons that were used to justify the 1953 coup d’état. Although the coup d’état occurred more than 60 years ago, its profound implications still resonate. The overthrow of Mosaddeq clearly prompted the degradation of relations between the U.S. and Iran. “By the end of 1952, it had become clear that the Mossadeq government in Iran was incapable of reaching an oil settlement with interested Western countries,” begins one of the National Security Archive’s documents. “[The Mossadeq
government] was governed by irresponsible policies based on emotion.” The document later stated that the role of the CIA’s operation was to prevent Iran from succumbing to influence from the Soviet Union. Fears of Iran becoming a communist nation were hane detailed extensively in the recent documents. Although the CIA was not the only group who participated in the 1953 coup d’état, it’s clear that its role was nonetheless controversial. Overthrowing a democratically elected government takes a great deal of confidence in knowing that it is the only solution to remedy a perceived problem.
Whether the 1953 coup d’état left Iran a better, more democratic country is an unaswered question. Before determining whether the CIA’s role in the coup d’état was justified, it’s important to understand the state of Iran in 1953. According to The New York Times, Mossadeq began turning ewell heads in the early 1950s when a dispute over the armed forces with the Shah forced Mossadeq to resign. Support for Mossadeq from communists led to increased scrutiny from other nations. With fears of Iran possibly falling under the Soviet Union’s Iron Curtain, opposition forces including the CIA took out Mossadeq.
If all of the claims — including the statement that Mossadeq governed on policies based on emotion — that the U.S. held were true, what or who gave them the authority to take such action? Surely the overthrow of a democratically elected president from another country would be unheard of today. Yes, times were a lot different when the U.S. sparred with the Soviet Union throughout the globe. The rest of U.S.-Iranian relations is history. Furthermore, the 1979 Iranian hostage crisis worsened relations between the two countries to a point where they have never fully recovered. Shane Newell is a junior journalism major and the opinions editor at the Daily 49er.
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