aug 19, 1953 - CIA overthrows Iran government


The Iranian military, with the support and financial assistance of the United States government, overthrew the government of Premier Mohammed Mosaddeq and reinstates the Shah of Iran.

Mosaddeq was a fierce nationalist and when he came into power he began attacks on British oil companies operating in his country. His actions brought him into conflict with the Shah. The Shah dismissed Mossadeq but massive public riots forced the Shah to reinstate Mossadeq a short time later. U.S. officials watched events in Iran with growing suspicion and came to the conclusion that Mossadeq was leading his country towards communism and would stumble into the Soviet orbit if allowed to stay in power. Working with Shah, the CIA and British intelligence began to engineer a plot to overthrow Mossadeq. The Iranian premier, however, got wind of the plan and went to his supporters to take to the streets in protest.

The Shah left the country for “medical reasons.” While British intelligence backed away as well, but the CIA continued its covert operations in Iran. Working with pro-Shah forces and the Iranian military, the CIA threatened, and bribed its way into a power position and helped to organize another coup attempt against Mossadeq.

On August 19, 1953, the military, backed by street protests organized and financed by the CIA, overthrew Mossadeq. The Shah quickly returned to take power and, as thanks for the American help, signed over 40 percent of Iran’s oil fields to U.S. companies.

Added to timeline:

10 months ago
Cold War Events


aug 19, 1953
~ 65 years ago



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