From National Security Archive:
A passage from a recently declassified document on the 1953 coup in Iran alleges that senior Iranian clerics received “large sums of money” from U.S. officials in the days leading up to the August 19, 1953, overthrow of Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddeq. The document is apparently British but was located by researchers in files at the U.S. National Archives. It is posted in full today for the first time by the nongovernmental National Security Archive, based at The George Washington University.
The September 2, 1953, British memorandum titled “Persia: Political Review of the Recent Crisis” first appeared in partially declassified form in 1989 in a volume of the State Department’s official Foreign Relations of the United States (FRUS) series. However, that volume excised two key passages for security reasons. Tulane scholar Mark Gasiorowski and BBC correspondent Kambiz Fattahi each independently discovered the unexpurgated version at the National Archives in College Park, Maryland. (Both versions are available here for comparison.)
The exact role of the clergy in Mosaddeq’s ouster is one of the main unanswered questions still surrounding the decades-old coup. Previous accounts by American intelligence operatives and scholarly reconstructions have shown that the CIA planned to provide certain influential mullahs with funds to help organize street demonstrations, but it has never been known whether those payments reached their intended recipients – and if they did, whether the recipients knew the source.
Categories: Middle Eastern History