COUNTERCOUP: The Struggle for the Control of Iran by Kermit Roosevelt

COUNTERCOUP: The Struggle for the Control of Iran

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Though the title has a contemporary ring, former CIA agent Roosevelt's tale is actually a distant background to recent events in Iran, the ""countercoup"" in question being the 1953 CIA-engineered installation of Shah Reza Pahlevi. The title is humorously absurd, implying that if ""we"" hadn't done our coup, ""they"" would have done theirs. But for all Roosevelt's attempt to demonstrate that the Russians had begun to control Prime Minister Mossadegh through the pro-Soviet Tudeh party, the evidence is pure conjecture; the fact is that the P.M. was pursuing a policy we didn't like. The idea of overthrowing Mossadegh came from nationalized British oil interests--which went so far as to nominate Roosevelt, TR's grandson, to head up the operation in Teheran. Roosevelt and his CIA superiors maintained, however, that the oilmen would have no claim on the Shah if the plan worked! Roosevelt recounts his previous experiences in Iran with the OSS, and then runs through the details of the coup with a heavy concentration on individual personalities--consistently depicting Mossadegh and his allies as morally or physically weak, while pro-Shah types are invariably strong. It was the Shah's idea to leave the country for a while, Roosevelt states, which gave the impression that he had been forced out; and during his absence Roosevelt and his operatives fanned the flames of the pro-Shah forces while coordinating the military-backed dismissal of Mossadegh. The moral is that if the CIA is going to overthrow a government, it should make sure of the support of the population and--oh yes, the military.

Pub Date: Sept. 9th, 1979
Publisher: McGraw-Hill