Iran: The 1953 American Coup
Regime change started decades ago. The new term is just a change of clothes. Dwight Eisenhower was president when the U.S. overthrew the popular democratic government of Mohammad Mossadegh in Iran in 1953. What was Mossadegh’s transgression? He wanted Iran’s oil to benefit the Iranian people. The coup brought the shah back from exile and put him on the Peacock Throne. What ensued was 25 years of tyranny and repression culminating in Ayatollah Khomeini’s Islamic Revolution. The coup in Iran was a pivotal event of the 20th century. Virtually all Iranians know about it. Yet most Americans haven’t even heard of it. The U.S. professes that it supports democracy in the Middle East yet when there was a democratic government in Iran the U.S. destroyed it.
Recorded at the Pacific Asia Museum.
Stephen Kinzer was a New York Times correspondent. He is co-author of Bitter Fruit and author of Crescent and Star and Overthrow. His book All the Shah’s Men, on the 1953 coup in Iran, was a Times Notable Book of the Year.