Read: August 2022
Inspiration: What is the history of the US’ relationship with Iran?
Written with the help of ChatGPT, below is a brief summary to understand what is covered in the book.
“All the Shah’s Men”, published in 2003 by author and journalist Stephen Kinzer, tells the story of the CIA’s operation to overthrow the government of Iran in 1953. The book discusses how the operation, which was code-named TPAJAX, was carried out in secret and involved the use of propaganda and covert action to create the appearance of popular support for the coup. Kinzer explores the motivations of the key players in the operation, including the Shah of Iran and the CIA officials who oversaw it. He also examines the long-term consequences of the coup, including the rise of Islamic fundamentalism and the Islamic Revolution of 1979. All the Shah’s Men is a fascinating and illuminating account of a crucial moment in modern Middle Eastern history.
Direct from my original book log, below are my unedited notes (abbreviations and misspellings included) to show how I take notes as I read.
1953 US replace PM Mohammad Mossadegh with Reza Shah—end move to democracy in Iran, US now take every chance to snarl at Iran/threaten force, Iran is proud and 2000 year history, not like ruler currently but still proud of country and see US as derailing it for pursuit of oil, strategy, etc., democracy by force won’t work, 1953 US backed coup for strategic gain crushed the country and brought repression, must be diplomatic and negotiate with Iran or face Iraq-type situation, known as Operation Ajax in 1953 (Mossadegh rule for 26 months)—ordered by Eisenhower and Churchill, 1951 Mossa election Britain was most hated and Mossa nationalized Anglo-Iranian oil co away from British (Churchill furious), Eisenhower elected after Truman in ’52 (truman not in favor of coup), Dulles bros in US see Iran as vulnerable to communism/second China, in lead up US control 4/5 of iranian newspapers to criticize Mossa and promote Shah, Mohammad Reza Shah was weak and hesistant and Mossa immensely popular, General Zahedi to take power—need Shah on board to nominate Zahedi and sign decree removed Mossa, Sat aug 15 coup occur (thurs and fri are Iran weekend), plan leaked and Nasiri who sent to arrest Mossa was arrested by loyalists who got to Mossa compound first, radio announce Mossa win and Shah flee but Kermit Roosevelt (leading in Iran for CIA, grandson of teddy) undeterred, sunni and shiites split on successor to prophet Mohammad as caliph—shiites say Ali (cousin raised by Mohammad) and then Hussein (adore these men who sacrificed), 90% of global muslims are sunni, Shiism national religion since 1501, Qajar regime overthrown by citizens 1925 as want to remove foreign influence and form parliament, Peacock Throne looted from Delhi and name of Iran throne, “farr” right to rule in Iran, Nasir al-din Shah 1890s sell rights to Iran resources/assets to foreigners, tobacco stores/sales sold to British and iranians protest in Tobacco Revolt which signal new political age (stop smoking which was huge), 1906-1911 iran had first constitution and parliament but stamped out by britain/russia influence, Reza Shah Pahlavi enter scene 1921 with charisma and british backing to replace Qajar—1926 formally take Peacock Throne, Reza Shah rule via terror and try to box out british but Reza did progress country infrastructure/edu, 1935 insist iran not persia (foreign name), Reza align with Nazis as chase modernity but clash with Iran people as censor and go against tradition, Reza’s ambition failed—too harsh, no real progress and brought down 1941 as ally with fascists, son take over but confused, D’Arcy concession set stage for Anglo-Iranian oil co which Reza Shah cancel/renegotiate in 1933 then 1941 Reza out and Mossa in parliament body write law banning foreign concessions like D’Arcy concession—battle with British over oil, Mossa came up as charismatic opposition to Shah (Shah try to work with but Mossa refuse), Shah son take over an allow Britain to control more or less via PM in place, Young reza shah nearly assassinated ’49 then ramp up power, oil plant in Abadan (largest in world) have poor conditions and feel getting scammed—workers revolt vs British, AIOC Supplemental Agreement 1949 spark divide as Shah/PM try to push for British but Mossa and Majlis resist, then Arabian-American oil co Amarmco announce 50/50 sharing and British refuse to make same offer to Iran, 1950 PM Razmara killed and nationalize of AIOC take place backed by Mossa and Ayatollah, pre-1953 iranians universally admire US as speak out vs british influence (try to help avoid crisis but brits stubborn), Truman see russia as trying to bring iran into communist orbit, 1950-51 british remain hard against nationalization though already happening, Truman try to mediate but conflict rise with British/US relations and US/Iran relations, Brits refuse compromise but Mossa have near full backing of country, British Foreign Sec Morrison pro invading Abadan to take back oil fields but no support abroad and Mossa warn, 1951 Mossa to NYC UN and embarrass british delegation on oil co debate (Mossa well liked by US pop), Mossa 1951 Time Man of the Year, late ’51 Churchill back to power and toughen stance—only want to depose Mossa, not negotiate, 1952 british embargo crush iran economy—Mossa resign abruptly as move vs shah, British support Qavam who claim victory in elections but protests and many killed then Qavam resign and Shah give into Mossa for control of ministry of war, Qavam rule 4 days “bloody monday” protests bring Mossa back, Truman work with Mossa which enrage Churchill as try to isolate, British plan coup with Zahedi but Mossa learn and cut off relations and send diplomats out, but Truman not run for reelection in US, Eisenhower on the fence but Dulles brothers and Britain organize protests to make seem chaotic and necessitate coup, first coup foiled but roosevelt try again—coordinate with local Iranians to stir chaos after Shah fled, US/Britain pay for riots/shootings, Mossa not react to riots until CIA trick him as say Americans in Iran threatened (then Mossa order crackdown, which looked even worse than chaos already), Mossa order supporters to stay home so then next day vulnerable as all/police paid off, Oct 28 Mossa fall—tank battle at his house literally, Zahedi PM, Roosevelt missed msg to flee, Shah return and Mossa criminal, Reza Shah denounce Mossa, Mossa die ’67 then Reza flee 1979 and Ayatollah Khomeini take over (enemy of Reza), Mossa honored by Iranians but Khomeini use to consolidate power then arrest National Front supporters, Reza Shah ’53 grow as dictator via US funds lead to ’79 revolution of Islamic fundamentalist, Shah to US via Pres Carter lead to Tehran embassy hostage crisis, fundamentalist clerics to power anti-US and fund hamas/hezbollah (inspire Al Qaeda in afghan), Iran fear coup again as Shah refuge in US ’79 which fuel hate, Clinton in 2000 recognize US role via Albright speech, coup seemed successful for 25 years then unravel at a cost