V. MOUNTING PRESSURE AGAINST THE SHAH, OVERTHROW OF PREMIER MOSSADEQ OF IRAN (CIA Secret Report)

November 1952-August 1953
V.   MOUNTING PRESSURE AGAINST THE SHAH

 

Redactions in this section could not be restored, shown as [ ]; 
supposed redactions shown by [ ] are based on restored redactions
of other sections -- Appendix D which described the events and 
persons involved, with help from identities in Section VII.
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V.   MOUNTING PRESSURE AGAINST THE SHAH


     From the very beginning it had been recognized that

the Shah must be forced to play a specific role, however

reluctant he might prove to be.  Therefor, the plan pre-

sented a series of measures designed to rid him once and

for all of his pathological fear of the "hidden hand" of

the British, and to assure him that the United States and

the United Kingdom would firmly support him and had both

resolved that Mossadeq must go.  The measures were also

intended to produce such pressure on the Shah that it would

be easier for him to sign the papers required of him than

it would be to refuse.

     On 23 June the timetable covering all the envoys to

be sent to the Shah was drawn up at Headquarters.  In

execution all these steps went off as planned.

     The initial task was to brief Princess Ashraf, who was

thought to be in Paris at that time.  It was planned to

approach her about 10 July in Paris and have her back in

Tehran to see the Shah about 20 July.  Asodollah Rashidian,

still in Geneva, was to call upon her first and prepare her

for the joint visit of Darbyshire for SIS and Meade for CIA.

(SIS had assured Headquarters that this call could be made

in Paris at any time.)  Meade arrived in London by air on


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10 July and went at once to Paris with Darbyshire.  Then

an unanticiapted delay occurred.  Princess Ashraf was not

in Paris, and it was not until the 15th that she was lo-

cated on the Riviera and visited by Asodollah Rashidian.

He reported that she had shown no enthusiasm at all with

regard to her proposed role.  However, the next day the

"official" representatives had two meetings with here and

she agreed to do everything that was asked of her.  She

did say that her arrival would arouse a strong reaction

from the pro-Mossadeq press and hoped that we would be

able to put out effective counterblasts.  Meade reported

in London to Roosevelt and Leavitt.  He then returned to

Paris and stayed close to Ashraf until her departure for

Iran.*

     Ashraf reach Tehran as a passenger on a commercial

flight on 25 July.  As expected, her unauthorized return

did create a real storm.  Neither the Shah, himself, nor

the government of Mossadeq had been asked to permit her to

return.  Both were furious.  The Shah refused to see her

but did accept a letter passed on through the medium of

[Soleiman Behbudi], ** head of the Shah's household, who was

_________________________

* Meade's character studh of Ashraf is in the TPAJAX file.

**SIS agent within the palace. [See identity in Section 7.]


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loyal and devoted in an effective way throughout this

period.  This letter contained news that US General

Schwarzkopf was coming to see the Shah on an errand simi-

lar to that of Ashraf, herself.  The Shah welcomed this

news and received his sister on the evening of 29 July.

The session opened stormily but ended on a note of recon-

ciliation.  On the next day she took a plane back to

Europe.  This was as had been planned, but it came as a

relief to know that she was out of the country in view of

the pro-Mossadeq press reaction.

     The second emissary arrived on the scene in the per-

son of Asadollah Rashidian, the principal SIS agent.  Accord-

ing to the plan, Asadollah Rashidian's initial task with

the Shah was to convince the ruler that Rashidian was the

official spokesman of the UK Government.  The advance plan,

that of having the Shah select a key phrase which would

then be broadcast on the British Broadcasting Company (BBC)

Persian language program on certain dates, was followed.

In London the necessary arrangements had been made by

Darbyshire to send the phrase over the BBC.  On 30 July

and again on the 31st the Shah saw Asadollah Rashidian.

He had heard the broadcast, but he requested time to assess

the situation.  Asadollah was, however, able to prepare the

Shah for the visit of the American emissary, General


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Schwarzkopf, and to stress the point that this emissary

would repeat the message and, hence, give an additional

guarantee of the close collaboration between the United

Kingdom and the United States in this undertaking.

     Schwarzkopf had been chosen by the drafters of the

operational plan because of the fact that he had enjoyed

the friendship and respect of the Shah in the period from

1942 until 1948 when he headed the US MIlitary Mission to

the Iranian Gendarmerie.  Approached on 26 June 1953 by

John Waller, Chief, NEA/4, briefed at Headquarters on

19 July, Schwarzkopf took to his mission with relish.  He

said that he had a reputation with the Shah for telling

him unpleasant truths that others withheld from him, and

he stated that he was sure he could get the required coop-

eration from the Shah.  Schwarzkopf was given a cover mis-

sion consisting of a short tour to Lebanon, Pakistan, and

Egypt so that his visit to Tehran would appear as a brief

stop en route to a principal destination.  Schwarzkopf left

by air for Beirut on 21 July.

     Schwarzkopf's mission was to obtain from the Shah the

three papers which are described more fully in the opera-

tional plan.  They were:  (1) a firman naming Zahedi as

Chief of Staff, (2) a letter indicating his faith in

Zahedi which the latter could employ to recruit army


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officers for the plan in the name of the Shah, and

(3) a firman calling on all ranks of the army to support

his legal Chief of Staff.  It was felt that it would be

easier to get the Shah to sign such statements than to

issure a firman dismissing Mossadeq.  It was also believed

that the action of replacing Mossadeq would be initiated

through the Majlis.

     Certain events of 21 July at Tehran both shocked and

aroused from thier attitude of complacency the more con-

servative elements which had firmly supported Mossadeq.

Demonstrations marked the anniversary of rioting against

the government of Qavam and of efforts made at that time,

two years earlier, to settle the oil issue.  However, it

was obvious to all that the number of Tudeh participants

far outnumbered those assembled by the Naitional Front, and

it was this fact more than anything else which alerted the

thinking public to the strength acquired by the Tudeh under

the Mossadeq government.  At this time station personnel

were active on several fronts.  The propaganda campaign

against Mossadeq was now gaining momentum.  [ ]

owner of [ ] was

granted a personal loan of some $45,000 on signed notes

in the belief that this would make his organ amenable to

our purposes.  Headqurters-prepared propaganda material


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was turned over by the station to Asadollah Rashidian,

and by the end of the month an entirely separate and

especially planned campaign in favor of the Shah as opposed

to Mossadeq was under way in Azerbaijan.  The parallel and

alternative plan of keeping in close touch with the [ ]

[ ] combination for the purposes of diverting their

attention from TPAJAX and of discovering the plans and

strength of this group remained in effect.  Talks with

the [ ] continued.  At one point the station suggested

sending one of the brothers to this country, and Headquarters

made an immediate investigation of the mechanics required

for making such a trip.  The SIS was informed of these

talks, and they suggested that their facilities might be

used to stir up tribal revolts in the homeland of the

[ ].

     The station was now in direct contact with Zahedi,

who had left his sanctuary in the Majlis on 21 July.

After several meetings Station Chief Goiran and Station

Chief Designate Goodwin reported that Zahedi appeared

lacking in drive, energy, and concrete plans.  They con-

cluded that he must be closely guided and that the neces-

sary plans must be made for him.

     By 26 July a number of key individuals had moved into

position:  Roosevelt and Schwarzkopf were at Tehran,


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Leavitt had been at Nicosia for several days, and

Ambassador henerson had come to rest at Salzburg, where

he was to remain, anxious but cooperative, for the next

two weeks.  At Nicosia, Leavitt did a most capable job of

reassuring SIS officials who frequently felt that they

were not receiving enough current information.  Concomi-

tantly, these SIS officials passed on valuable suggestions

coming from London, such as detailed plans for putting the

central telephone exchange out of operation.

     With Roosevelt's arrival in Tehran the situation was

restudied.  As a part of the war of nerves against Mossadeq,

it was considered advisable to cut down close contacts be-

tween high-ranking US officilas and officials of Mossadeq's

government.  Technical Cooperation in Iran (TCI) Director

William E. Warne was requested to reduce his normal govern-

ment contacts, and General Frank McClure, Chief of the US

Military Mission in Iran, was requested to appear less

friendly with those general officers who were firmly support-

ing Mossadeq.  At this stage it was decided to alter the

nature and number of documents which would have to be signed

by the Shah.  These documents would be limited to one firman

naming Zahedi as Chief of Staff and one letter denouncing

the government-staged referendum on the question of the

dissolution of the Majlis as an illegal proceeding.  As


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the month of july ened, station personnel in charge of

the proganda campaign reported on the effective anti-

[ ]. It was stated that

very effective use had been made of the 28 July statemen

by Secretary of State Dulles* (made at CIA's suggestion).

A request was made that US papers reflect the Iranian

press campaign against Mossadeq and that inspired articles

be placed in the US pres..

     On 1 August, two days after Princess Ashraf had left

Iran and the Shah had heard the BBC message designed to

convince him that Asadollah Rashidian was the official

spokesman of the UK Government, Schwarzkopf had an ex-

tended meeting with the Shah.  Fearful of planted micro-

phones, the Shah led the General into a grand ballroom,

pulled a small table to its exact center, and then both

sat on the table.  The Shah rejected the proposal that he

sign the required documents at once, asserting that he was

not fully confident of the loyalty of the army; that he

must give advance approval for all members of a new cabinet;

____________________

*This statement, made at a press conference, was as
 follows:  "The growing activities of the illegal Communist
 Party in Iran and the toleration of them by the Iranian
 Government has caused our government concern.  These
 developments make it more difficult to grant aid to Iran."


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and that he must have time to make his own estimate as to

the probable success or failure of the undertaking.  On

the other hand, he said that should Mossadeq carry through

his referendum and dissolve the Majlis then he, himself,

would ahve full powers under the constitution to dismiss

Mossadeq and replace him by a prime minister of his own

choice.  This meeting was to be followed by a series of

additional ones, some between Roosevelt and the Shah and

some between Rashidian and the Shah, in which relentless

pressure was exerted in frustrating attempts to overcome

an entrenched attitude of vacillation and indecision.

     On 2 August Roger Goiran, for so long the exprienced

and valuable chief of station, left Tehran headed for Head-

quarters duty.  Whiel his knowledge had been of inestimable

value in the preparatory stages of TPAJAX, it was judged

that his departure as just this time would be an important

factor in the war of nerves against Mossadeq, and in the

planned efforts to confuse and disturb the potential oppo-

sition.  By this time the Counselor, Gordon Henry Mattison,

and the ranking political officer, Mr. Roy Malcolm Melbourne,

had been briefed on TPAJAX and were discreetly helpful.

Mattison, in interviews with [ ]

[ ], followed station direction in a successful

effort to divert attention of the [ ] group


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from the real purpose of TPAJAX.

     During this period Mossadeq, as always, had been on

the alert to try to hold the initiative and keep his grow-

ing opposition off balance.  His attention turned toward

the Majlis, where opposition appeared to be hardening.  On

14 July he directed the deputies supporting the government

to resign.  Several of the neutral or timidly anti-Mossadeq

deputies followed suit until a total of 28 had resigned.

Headquarters urged that the anti-Mossadeq deputies be given

every encouragement to keep their posts and to take up bast

(political sanctuary) in the Majlis.  The theme to be built

up was that those who had not resigned from the Majlis

would constitute the legitimate parliamentary body.  This

stand was at least partially responsible for Mossadeq's

growing belief that the body must be dissolved.  Such

action would leave him as the undisputed dictator of the

country since his full-powers bill had several months more

to run.  However, he still had to get around the provision

of the constitution that only the Shah had the authority

to dissolve the Majlis.  He did this by staging a national

referendum in which the people were to state "yes" or "no"

to the question as to whether the Majlis should be dis-

solved.  The referendum was a clear and palpable fake.  Held

throughout the country beginning 4 August, some two million


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were said to have voted for dissolution and only a few

hundred against.  As a maneuver the action was not as

satisfactory as Mossadeq anticipated since it clearly re-

vealed abuse of the constitution.  This provide an issue

on which Mossadeq could be relentlessly attacked by the

CIA/SIS subsidized opposition press.  The action also did

much to alarm the more stable and established elements of

the populace, who were nationalists along with everyone

else, but who did not favor such a fraudulent breach of

the constitution.

     During the days of the referendum the station reported

in detail on the multiple efforts of station agents to ex-

ploit the illegality of this referendum, both before and 

during the event.  Also every declaration made by a religious

leader in these days stressed this point.  The station indi-

cated that some 20 local newspapers were now in violent

opposition to Mossadeq and that some 15 Headquarters-

prepared anti-Mossadeq cartoons had appeared in these

papers during the referendum week.  On 4 August word reached

the station that Mossadeq was aware of teh true purpose of

the visit of Ashraf, and the personnel on the scene felt

strongly that action must be mounted very soon.  On 4 August

Ambassador Henerson per schedule set out from Salzburg for

Tehran.  He was to be met on 9 August at Beirut by Leavitt,


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who persuaded him to put off his return in view of the

delayed but imminent date for action.  In these same days,

Henerson, officials of the State Department, and officials

of the Foreign Office were drafting proposed statements

which their governments planned to issue upon the success-

ful conclusion of TPAJAX.

     At Tehran the meetings with the Shah were continuing.

On 2 August Asodollah Rashidian had presented His Majesty

with specific details concerning the manner in which the

operation would be carried out, and reported that the Shah

had agreed to dismiss Mossadeq and to appoint Zahedi as

both Prime Minister and Deputy Commander-in-Chief.  The

Shah also agreed to name General Vosua as Chief of Staff.

On 3 August, Roosevelt had a long and inconclusive session

with the Shah.  The latter stated that he was not an adven-

turer and, hence, could not take the chances of one.

Roosevelt pointed out that there was no other way by which

the government could be changed and the test was now be-

tween Mossadeq and his force and the Shah and his army,

which was still with him, but which would soon slip away.

Roosevelt finally said that he would remain at hand a few

days longer in expectation of an affirmative decision and

then would leave the country; in the latter case the Shah

should realize that failure to act could lead only to a


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Comunist Iran or to a second Korea.  he concluded by say-

ing that his government was not prepared to accept these

possibilities and that some other plan might be carried

through.  In a later meeting with the Shah, the latter

requested Mr. Roosevelt to solicit from President Eisen-

hower assuracnes that it was advisable for the Shah to

take the initiative in removing Mossadeq.  Mr. Roosevelt

stated that he would pass this request on to the President,

but he was very confident that the latter would adopt the

attitude that the Shah had already had US desires made

adequately clear to him.  By complete coincidence and good

fortune, the President, while addressing the Governors'

Convention in Seattle on 4 August, deviated from his script

to state by implicaiton that the United States would not

sit idly by and see Iran fall behind the Iron Curtain.

Mr. Roosevelt used the President's statements to good effect,

by telling the Shah that Eisenhowere did indeed feel further

assurances of US attitude toward Mossadeq were unnecessary

but that his reference to Iran in the Governors' Convention

speech was made to satisfy the Shah.  In the end the Shah

said he would again discuss the question with Rashidian.

In the cable describing this meeting, Roosevelt stated his

belief that it was hopeless to attempt to proceed without

the Shah, and that it must be decided whether to exert


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ultimate pressure for the next two or three days or to

accept a delay of up to ten days in which the Shah might

finally be won over.  On 7 August Rashidian met again

with the Shah who agreeed that action should be taken on

the night of either the 10th or 11th.  On 8 August Roose-

velt agains saw the Shah and struggled against a mood of

stubborn irresolution which broke down to the extent that

the Shah agreed to give oral encouragement to selected

army officers who would participate in the action.  Then,

he said, he would go to Ramsar* and let the army act with-

out his official knowledge, adding that if the action was

successful he would name Zahedi as Prime Minister.  On

9 August Rashidian took over the struggle in his turn and

reported that the Shah would leave for Ramsar on the 12th,

and that prior to his departure he would see Zahedi and

key officers and express orally his choice of Zahedi as

the new head of the government.

     On 10 August Colonel [Hassan Akhavi] saw the Shah and

informed him of the names of the army officers who were

ready to take action upon receipt of an order from the

Shah.  The Shah again asserted that while he approved

of the plan for action he would sign no papers.  [Akhavi]

____________________

*Royal resort on the Caspian Sea, north of Tehran.


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registered a protest at this decision, and the Shah again

sent for Rashidian to discuss this all important point.

Rashidian carried a message from Roosevelt to the effect

that the latter would leave in complete disgust unless

the Shah took action within a few days.  At the conclusion

of the audience the Shah stated that he would sign the

papers, would see Zahedi, and then would leave for Ramsar

on the Caspian.  The next day he did see Zahedi and did

leave for Ramsar, but the papers, contrary to the promise

of the Rashidians, were not ready for the signature of the

Shah.  The Shah thus promised to sign the papaers as soon

as they were sent to him at Ramsar.

     After discussion between Roosevelt and Rashidian, they

reverted to a decision closer to the original London draft

of TPAJAX, deciding that there should be two firmans royal

decrees), one dismissing Mossadeq and one naming Zahedi as

Prime Minister.  Rashidian and [Behbudi], the Shah's [palace]

[head] and an established UK agent, prepared the documents,

and on the evening of 12 August [Colonel Nematollah Nasiri][Commander of the Imperial Guard] took them by plane to

Ramsar.

     At this time the psychological campaign against

Mossadeq was reaching its climax.  The controllable press

was going all out against Mossadeq, while [ ]


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[ ] under station direction was printing

material which the station considered to be helpful.  CIA

agents gave serious attention to alarming the religious

leaders at Tehran by issuing black propaganda in the name

of the Tudeh Party, threatening these leaders with savage

punishment if they opposed Mossadeq.  Threatening phone

calls were made to some of them, in the name of the Tudeh,

and one of several planned sham bombings of the houses

of these leaders was carried out.

     The word that the Shah would support direct action in

his behalf spread rapidly through the "Colonels' conspiracy"

fostered by the station.  Zahedi saw station principal

agent, Colonel [Aban Farzanegan], and named him as liaison

officer with the Americans and as his choice to supervise

the staff planning for the action.  Then [Farzanegan] took

General [Batmangelich] and Colonel [Zand-Karmini] to see Zahedi.

CIA officer Carroll maintained close contact with [Farzanegan]

and members of the "Colonels' conspiracy," and on 13 August

was present at the final meeting of those individuals to

whom would fall the responsibility of carrying out the

operational staff plan.  However, this meeting was the

last one in which the station was represented, and the

fact that contact was broken proved to have serious results.

     Late on the evening of 13 August, Colonel [Nasiri]


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returned to Tehran with the firmans signed by the Shah

and delivered them to Zahedi; according to his story

(which has never been confirmed), it was Queen Soraya

who finally convinced the Shah that he must sign.  If

this is true, here was an ally form a totally unexpected

quarter.

     On 14 August the station cabled that upon the con-

clusion of TPAJAX the Zahedi government, in view of the

empty treasury of the country, would be in urgent need

of funds.  The sum of $5,000,000 was suggested, and CIA

was asked to produce this amount almost within hours after

the conclusion of the operation.  No more news came in

from Tehran on the 14th, and there was nothing that either

the station or Headquarters could do except wait for action

to begin.


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