Now, we have a serious challenge to the established narrative:
Ray Takeyh of the Council of Foreign Affairs, an Iranian-American and a liberal, has powerfully attacked the conventional view of U.S. responsibility for the overthrow of Mosaddeq. Takeyh attacks it most recently in the July/August issue of Foreign Affairs. Previously, he had made his case in the Weekly Standard.
Takeyh argues that Mosaddeq was destined to fall due to the internal opposition produced by the British response to his oil nationalization policy, and that the U.S. played an inconsequential role in his demise. He makes the following points:
1. Mosaddeq, a popularly elected leader, antagonized the British by taking over the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company, whose majority shareholder was the British government.As Power Line's Paul Mirengoff puts it:
2. Great Britain responded by, among other measures, discouraging European countries from buying Iran’s oil and interdicting Iranian ships that carried oil for export.
3. The U.S., under President Truman, tried to mediate the dispute and work out a compromise.
4. Mosaddeq wasn’t interested in compromising.
5. Britain’s retaliatory measures dealt a huge blow to the Iranian oil industry, and to Iran’s economy generally.
6. As a result, Mosaddeq became unpopular in Iran.
7. Among those who turned against him were the mullahs — the predecessors of those who excoriate the U.S. for alleging toppling Mosaddeq and restoring the Shah.
8. The Shah, fed up with Mosaddeq, announced he was leaving the country due to unspecified medical concerns.
9. Mass demonstrations broke out imploring the Shah to stay. (There is, according to Takeyh, no evidence that the CIA was behind these demonstrations).
10. Mosaddeq responded by dissolving the Iranian legislature and holding a national referendum on this action.
11. The election was rigged, as evidenced by the fact that 99 percent of vote went Mosaddeq’s way.
12. The U.S. government, now led by President Eisenhower, urged Mosaddeq to settle his dispute with Great Britian, but also began considering a British plan to further undermine Mosaddeq.
13. The CIA participated with Britain’s M16 in this plan which included paying journalists to write stories critical of the prime minister, charging that he was corrupt and power hungry, and alleging that he was of Jewish descent.
14. With U.S. encouragement, the Shah signed a royal decree dismissing Mosaddeq and appointing General Fazlollah Zahedi as the new prime minister.
15. The Shah sent an emissary to deliver the decree to Mosaddeq, who refused to accept it and promptly arrested the emissary.
16. The Eisenhower administration did not pursue the matter further. Indications are that it was prepared to change direction and “snuggle up” to Mosaddeq (in the words of Bedell Smith, a high level State Department official and the president’s close confidant).
17. General Zahedi, however, did not give up. He published the Shah’s decree.
18. This led to major demonstrations against Mosaddeq throughout the country.
19. The U.S. did not take these demonstrations seriously. The U.S. ambassador cabled Washington to say they would probably prove insignificant.
20. Mosaddeq commanded the military to restore order, but instead many soldiers joined in the demonstrations.
21. The army chief of staff told Mosaddeq he had lost control of many of his troops and of the capital city.
22. Mosaddeq went into hiding, but later turned himself in.
23. The Shah was restored.
If this scenario is accurate, the United States was a bit player in the overthrow of Mosaddeq. The prime minister authored his demise and the Iranians carried it out.I agree, but I always have in this case. Nevertheless, judge for yourselves. Here are links to Takeyh pieces in the Weekly Standard and in Foreign Affairs. Check 'em out.
The U.S. did nothing that rose to the level of requiring an apology, much less an apology to brutal theocrats whose predecessors supported the overthrow of Mosaddeq.