History in the Making

Document Type



Much of the anger and hatred that is a part of US Iranian relations, which has exploded onto the world stage since the Iranian Revolution of 1979, stems from the 1953 coup d’état which removed Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadeq from power. A large field of scholarly work has been dedicated to the 1953 coup, specifically surrounding the participation of US and British intelligence. However, one interesting and surprising aspect of the 1953 coup which has not been sufficiently investigated is the role of Iranian religious clerics, known in Iran as the ulama, in assisting the CIA and their Iranian sub-agents in carrying out the overthrow of their own country’s democratically elected prime minister. As new documents are released, we can refine our understanding of the complex dynamics and array of participants in this event. Further illuminating this history is particularly relevant because it is the ulama that leads the 1979 Revolution and establishes a new government.