Home > History, Politics, Video > Operation Ajax: The CIA/MI6 coup that overthrew Iran’s democratic government

Operation Ajax: The CIA/MI6 coup that overthrew Iran’s democratic government

Below is a short documentary on the overthrow of Iran’s short-lived democratic government in the 1950s. This government was headed by Mohammad Mosaddeq and his National Front party, bringing together a wide coalition of peoples and parties. This new government sought to establish Iran’s independent sovereignty in the face of foreign (at the time British and Russian) interference. It was overthrown in a coup plotted by the CIA and the British Intelligence Service, reinstating the Shah, and, in time helping him dominate the national scene as an autocratic monarch through the liberal use of such tools as the secret police, SAVAK.

This short documentary claims that, “by 1950, 40% of the West’s oil was being produced in Iran, and 75% of Europe’s. This reliance on Iranian oil had caused the British to become deeply entrenched in Iran’s politics.”

I’m not certain about the accuracy of these statistics. (Does someone have historical statistics on the distribution of oil imports?). In 2008, Iran was the second largest producer of crude oil among OPEC members, following Saudi Arabia.

Top Iranian Crude Oil Export Destinations, 2007

To learn more about the events surrounding the Mosaddeq government, I highly recommend reading the book, Mohammad Mosaddeq and the 1953 Coup in Iran. On the whole, the documentary clip summarizes a good share of this book.

Part 1:

Part 2:

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