03/30/06 - iran in 1953

In today's excerpt - the United States loses its political innocence in Iran during 1953:

"... the Majlis recommended that the ([ranian] government nationalize the oil industry [from the British who had commandeered it after World War I], and Musaddiq became premier, replacing the shah's candidate.  Iranian oil was nationalized, and, even though the International Court at The Hague ruled in favor of Iran's right to nationalize its own resources, British and American oil companies joined in an unofficial boycott of Iranian oil. In Britain and the United States, the media portrayed Musaddiq as a dangerous fanatic, a thief (even though he had always promised compensation), and a communist, ...(even though Musaddiq was a nationalist who wanted to free Iran from all foreign control.) ...

"By 1953 ... the oil embargo was causing a grave economic crisis.

"President Dwight Eisenhower ... approved United States participation in Operation Ajax, a coup engineered by British intelligence and the CIA to depose Musaddiq. ... Iranians felt betrayed and humiliated by the United States, which they had previously considered a friend.  America was now following in the footsteps of the Russians and the British, who had cynically manipulated events in Iran for their own gain.

"This seemed clear in 1954, when a new oil treaty was made which returned the control of oil production, its marketing and fifty percent of the profits to the world cartel companies.  This sickened the more thoughtful Iranians.  They had tried to take control of their own wealth, with the backing of the international court, but this had not been respected.  Ayatollah Kashani was appalled. ... 'For the hundreds of millions of dollars that the American colonialist Imperialists will gain in oil,'  he predicted, 'the oppressed nation will lose all hope of liberty and will have a negative opinion about all the Western world.' "


Karen Armstrong


The Battle For God: A History of Fundamentalism


A Ballantine Book by The Random House Publishing Group


Copyright 2000 by Karen Armstrong


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