The “why” behind all of this remains a matter of some debate, with many of the official documents still classified or released heavily redacted, but after Britain and the Soviet Union invaded Iran during WW2, for no real reason other than because they could, post-war Iran emerged pretty resentful and supportive of nationalist factions that wanted to reduce foreign interference in the nation.
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August 15, 1953, 60 years ago today, Operation Ajax began. Orchestrated by the CIA and Britain’s MI6, the Shah issued a royal decree dismissing Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh, the elected leader of Iran, despite the Shah having no authority under the constitution to actually do so.
CIA operatives, backed by fascist guerrillas and pro-royalist factions in the Iranian military, fought a multi-day battle against the supporters of the secular government, ending with the capture of Mosaddegh on a charge of “treason” for resisting the coup, and the installation of the Shah as an absolute monarch.
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