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The Coup: 1953, the CIA, and the Roots of Modern U.S.-Iranian Relations [Englisch] [Gebundene Ausgabe]

Ervand Abrahamian

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The Coup In August 1953, the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency orchestrated the swift overthrow of Iran's democratically elected leader and installed Muhammad Reza Shah Pahlavi in his place. Over the next twenty-six years, the United States backed the unpopular, authoritarian shah and his secret police; in exchange, it reaped a share of Iran's oil wealth and became a key player in this volatile region. The Full description

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5.0 von 5 Sternen The Definitive History of the 1953 Coup 22. April 2013
Von The Peripatetic Reader - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
American participation in the CIA overthrow of the sovereign nation in Iran has long been an official secret, long denied by the CIA. The veil of official denial was lifted by the President's oblique apology in Cairo several years ago. It is a historical event largely unknown to the average American, whose only exposure with Iran is the Hostage Crisis of 1979 - 1980. The motivations of the hostage takers are all but unknown. That veil was lifted with the opening minutes of Argo, Ben Afflick's award-winning movie, which very briefly summarized the events which are described in rich, exacting, painstaking detail in Ervand Abrahamian's book.

Abrahamian's book is the definitive historical account of the military coup engineered by American and UK intelligence agencies, a hostile overthrow of an independent, democratic, sovereign nation to exploit its natural resources and substitute in its place a brutal dictatorship. The files of the American and UK intelligence agencies are still classified, no surprise, so Abrahamian account is culled from the files of Anglo-Iranian Oil Company, better known today as British Petroleum (BP), Foreign Office and State Department publications, correspondence, contemporary newspaper and magazine accounts, and interviews and memoirs from the individuals involved in the events described. It is also a definitive account of the history of Iran in the Twentieth Century.

As the author admits, there have been other books written about the military coup in 1953 which overthrew Mohammed Mossadeq. One such book was written by Teddy Roosevelt's grandson, Kermit Roosevelt, one of the principle CIA operatives involved in engineering the coup. This book however has long been out of print, and if available, as it is on this website, the price befits the scarcity of the book. Roosevelt's account of how he overthrew Mossadeq is hardly an objective account or a good source of information. What sets Abrahamian's account apart from other books on the subject is the exacting and scholarly detail with which the author gives to the background of the Iran's nationalization of the oil industry, with a history of BP and its dealings with Iran, influence on the UK and American governments, of the origins of the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company, better known today as British Petroleum (BP), and the step-by-step account of how the overthrow was achieved.

He expertly describes the post-nationalization negotiations conducted by BP, the UK and American governments, and Mossadeq. Abrahamian definitively describes the schizophrenic policy of the UK government, publically placating the Iranian government, supporting on the one hand the nationalization as a legitimate action of a sovereign nation, but privately on the other doing anything and everything it could to bring about its failure. In this regard Abrahamian debunks the long-held, official view that Mossadeq was responsible for the coup happening because of his intransigence and unwillingness to compromise. Following nationalization BP used every non-military means at its disposal to undo Iran's action. This included legal action to the World Court (they did not prevail, the English judges on the panel finding against the UK!), seeking American support for an invasion of the oil fields (Truman wouldn't have anything to do with it), seeking US help to sanctions (they failed and the UK ultimately experienced significant political blowback later from those efforts), seeking US assistance in brokering some accommodation (they failed too), having English envoys negotiate with Iranian officials (they failed), and petitioning the UN to resolve the dispute (failed). After all these diplomatic and political efforts at arriving at a solution agreeable to both sides failed, US negotiators fashioned a plan which Mossadeq accepted and which appeared to be facially even-handled and fair -- Britain refused the proposed settlement!

One is struck with the healthy and vibrant Iranian democracy which existed before the coup. The nationalization of the oil industry was the result of a long democratic process -- not all Iranian politicians supported nationalization -- and was the result of legislative and congressional (in pre-coup Iran, called Mejlis) debates and discussions. One is struck with the futility and similarity -- then as in now -- of commercial and economic sanctions the Western powers imposed on the country short of actual intervention. One is also struck with the naked exercise of Western Imperialism by BP, the UK, and the US when all other non-invasive methods failed. To be clear nationalization was driven by the long history of officially- sanctioned business abuses and corrupt business practices of BP. Abrahamian goes into great, painstaking detail of these corrupt business practices and of how and in what manner BP systematically shortchanged the Iranian government of royalties due while the concessions were in effect while at the same time exploiting its natural resources.

Abrahamian's tendency is to stick to the documentary record and chronological sequence of events, and this can sometimes be tedious. But this is strength of his account. He is not writing a polemical political tract charged with accusations or invective, although it might be very easy to do so. This is a serious historical account and Abrahamian sticks to and preserves the documentary and/or historical record in all its shocking glory. The effect is dramatic and will make for unforgettable reading.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen A Well Researched Piece of History 22. März 2013
Von Z. Ahari - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
This is a true to form Ervand Abrahamian. It is an extremely well researched and referenced piece of history writing. Abrahamian fills the gaps that were left to imagination or at best to the leaked rumors after the Coup. It is an addendum to both his earlier books, Iran Between two Revolutions and A History of Modern Iran.
The book provides unshakable evidence of the CIA’s direct involvement in the coup, return of the Shah and strangulation of a budding democracy in Iran. It also hopefully puts a stop to the arguments of the "Coup Deniers" who have used the present regime’s-- mildly stated-- misdeeds to distort the facts. Undeniably reading the book takes time, despite its small size. The reason is absorption of the references and the unfamiliarity of some of the characters involved, long gone. It should be a book to have and read time and again. To keep the memories alive, to remind further actors who keep inventing the wheel again and again of repeating the same mistakes and to realize the Red Thread that extends from that historical event to today’s Middle East and the blowback it created for the United States. It is a sad but excellent book, but so is history.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen Informative and comprehensive 16. Februar 2013
Von R. Jacobs - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
Abrahamian's latest book explores the facts behind the CIA coup that overthrew the elected leader of Iran in 1953. Unlike other texts on the subject, this book takes a comprehensive look at the nations and corporations behind the coup, while framing the Iranian people in terms that show their patriotism and hatred of foreign interference. He has access to materials not previously available which help prove his point even more. An essential read for those who really want to understand Iran.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen must read 26. Juni 2013
Von m. jouvenel - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Kindle Edition|Verifizierter Kauf
it must be read, especially by the US readers. Unfortunately that story is little known and yet helps to understand what is going on to-day with the Iranian/US diplomatic relations. As I heard recently on a US TV show, as a reporter was asking questions on the street in front of the White House "Do you know who Mossadegh was ?" : "No, I have no idea, who is he? ", another good one was "I wasn't even born then, why should I know about a coup in Iran in 1954?". and other answers in the same vein...

Mr. Abrahamian did a wonderful, professionnal job, it is clear, easy reading, no repetition, and to end this excellent book, a clear exposé of the blow-back which is occuring to-day (60 years after the coup) between the US and Iran.
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4.0 von 5 Sternen The Complete Story; All the Facts 30. Juli 2013
Von Rod - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Kindle Edition|Verifizierter Kauf
This book provides the complete story of the coup; the events leading up to it as well as those following it. It gives the reader some idea of what Mossadeq had to contend with; from enemies both within the government and those outside thee government. From Churchill's efforts to convert the British fleet to oil to Eisenhower's excessive fear of Russian communism. Add to that the CIA and the oil companies efforts to maximize profits. It also tells the story of what eventually became British Petroleum. If only the U.S. had supported Mossadeq.
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