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From Shahs To The CIA: The History Of Western Intervention In Iran – Part 1


Tehran, 2017. A crowd marks the 38th anniversary of the 1979 Iranian revolution, which overthrew the dynasty of the US-supported Shah. (Photo: Mohammad Hassanzadeh. Source: Wikicommons)

To properly understand what’s going on today with Iran, it is essential to understand the historical context in which current events are taking place.

To listen to the pronouncements of American, British or Israeli politicians about Iran without an understanding of the history of Western involvement in the country, is not only to hear just one side of the story, but also to allow Western leaders to omit their own nations’ long history of actions towards Iran which clearly demonstrate their own self-interests in the country.

In light of the recent protests in Iran which saw Western leaders speak in support of an ostensible democratic uprising in the country while at the same time criticizing Iran’s leadership, it is especially important to know and to remember the history of Western involvement there.

Even those who know that the 1953 coup which overthrew the democratically-elected Prime Minister Dr Mohammad Mossadegh was a CIA operation would do well to remember that the history of Western involvement goes much further back than the 1950s.

Only when this history is remembered can a reasoned analysis of current events take place, as this knowledge uniquely informs us about the West’s continued self-interested involvement with Iran to this day, which belies its more noble disguises.

Read on to learn more about this oft-forgotten history. More on this from Zero Hedge


Persia, 1941. An Indian soldier guards a refinery belonging to  the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company, later known as BP. (Photo: No 1 Army Film & Photographic Unit. Source: Wikicommons)

Zero Hedge

“Once you understand what people want, you can’t hate them anymore. You can fear them, but you can’t hate them, because you can find the same desires in your own heart” – concluded Andrew Wiggins in the novel Speaker for the Dead.  When Americans hear the word Iran, many have a sort of knee-jerk visceral reaction.  The very mention of the word conjures up frightful images of be-turbaned bearded imams leading mobs of Kalashnikov-carrying Muslim men and women whose faces are grotesquely contorted by intense anger as they enthusiastically wave banners bearing squiggly lines, no doubt saying, “Death to America”. 

Such specters are no frightful flights of fantasy, but reflect a real time and place in Iranian history. The year was 1979 and the place was Tehran. But the Islamic Revolution and subsequent American embassy hostage crisis which shocked the world, catching the West completely off guard, did not materialize in a vacuum. The chaotic domino effect which would lead modern Iran into the hands of the Ayatollahs was set off from the moment the CIA intervened with its 1953 coup d’état in Tehran, which became known as ‘Operation Ajax’.

But Western intervention in Iran’s affairs actually started many decades prior even to the CIA’s well-known covert operation with the establishment of the Anglo-Persian Oil Company, or today’s British Petroleum (BP). After this, the 20th century witnessed a series of external interventions in Iran – a pattern which could potentially be continued now at the beginning of the 21st century as officials in the US and Israeli governments are now calling for action in support of protesters. 

However, few officials and pundits in the West understand or care to know the tragic and fascinating history of Iran and Western interventionism there, even while feigning to speak on behalf of “the Iranian people”. To understand modern Iran and the chaotic events leading to the Islamic revolution of 1979, we have to begin with ancient history to gain a sense of Iranians’ self-understanding of their national heritage and identity, and then launch into the 20th century Iranian identity crisis brought about by foreign domination…

Continue reading this article at Zero Hedge

Part 2 – From Shahs To The CIA: The History Of Western Intervention In Iran

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