مصدق ، دکتر محمد مصدق،مصدق السلطنه
Mohammad Mosaddegh (born 16 June 1882,
Tehran, died March 8, 1967)
Iranian politician and nationalist leader who served in the government after graduating from law school in
Reza Shah was deposed in 1941,
Mosaddegh was re-elected to the parliament (1944). Following Mosaddegh's successful nationalization of the
Anglo-Iranian Oil Company,
Mohammad Reza Shah
Pahlavi (1941–79) was virtually forced to appoint him premier (1951). Tension between the monarch and the premier crested, however, and the shah attempted to dismiss him in 1953. The resulting unrest forced the shah to flee the country until a coup, backed by British and U.S. intelligence services drove Mosaddegh from power. Convicted of treason, he spent three years in prison and the rest of his life under house arrest.
Mosaddegh was the democratically elected
Prime Minister of Iran from 1951 to 1953 when he was overthrown in a coup d'état orchestrated by the
Central Intelligence Agency.
From an aristocratic background, Mosaddegh was an author, administrator, lawyer, prominent parliamentarian, and politician. During his time as prime minister, a wide range of progressive social reforms were carried out. Unemployment compensation was introduced, factory owners were ordered to pay benefits to sick and injured workers, and peasants were freed from forced labor in their landlords' estates. Twenty percent of the money landlords received in rent was placed in a fund to pay for development projects such as public baths, rural housing, and pest control.
He is most famous as the architect of the nationalization of the
Iranian oil industry, which had been under British control since 1913 through the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (
AIOC) (later British Petroleum or
BP). The Anglo-Iranian Oil Co. was controlled by the British government. Mosaddegh was removed from power in a coup on 19 August 1953, organized and carried out by the United States
CIA at the request of the British
MI6 which chose Iranian General
Fazlollah Zahedi to succeed Mosaddegh. While the coup is commonly referred to as Operation Ajax after its CIA cryptonym, in Iran it is referred to as the 28
Mordad coup d'état, after its date on the Iranian calendar. Mosaddegh was imprisoned for three years, then put under house arrest until his death.
Mosaddegh was born to a prominent family in Tehran in 1882; his father,
Bakhtiari tribesman, was a financial administrator in
Khorasan province under the
Qajar dynasty and his mother,
Shahzadeh Malika Taj
Khanoom, was the granddaughter of the reformist Qajar prince
Abbas Mirza, and a great granddaughter of
Fathali Shah Qajar. When Mosaddegh's father died in 1892, his uncle was appointed as tax collector of the Khorasan province and was bestowed with the title of Mosaddegh-ossaltaneh by
Naseroddin Shah. Mosaddegh himself later bore the same title, by which he was still known to some long after titles were abolished.
In 1901, Mosaddegh married Zahra Khanoom (1879–1965), a granddaughter of Naseroddin Shah through her mother. The couple had five children, two sons (Ahmad and Gholam Hussein) and three daughters (Mansooreh, Zia
Ashraf and Khadijeh).
Mosaddegh received his Bachelor of Arts and Masters in (International) Law from University of
Sorbonne) before pursuing a Doctorate in Law from the University of Neuchatel in Switzerland. Mosaddegh also taught at the
University of Tehran at the start of
WWI before beginning his long political career.
Mosaddegh started his career in Iranian politics with the Iranian
Constitutional Revolution, at the age of 24, he was elected from
Isfahan to the newly inaugurated
Majlis of Iran. In 1920, after being self-exiled to Switzerland in protest of the
Anglo-Persian Treaty of 1919, he was invited by the new Iranian
Prime Minister, Hassan Pirnia (
Moshiroddoleh), to become his
Minister of Justice; but while en-route to Tehran, he was asked by the people of
Shiraz to become the
Governor of the
Fars Province. He was later appointed Finance Minister, in the government of Ahmad
Ghavamossaltaneh) in 1921, and then Foreign Minister in the government of Moshiroddoleh in June 1923. He then became Governor of the
Azerbaijan Province. In 1923, he was re-elected to The National Assembly of Iran, known as the Majlis. In 1925, the supporters of
Reza Khan in the Majlis, proposed legislation to dissolve the Qajar dynasty and appoint Reza Khan the new Shah. Mosaddegh voted against Reza Khan's decision to crown himself Reza Shah Pahlavi, arguing that such an act was a subversion of the 1906 Iranian constitution. He gave a speech in the Majlis, praising Reza Khan's achievements as a statesman, while encouraging him to respect the constitution and become the Prime Minister, not the Shah. On December 12, 1925, the Majlis deposed the young
Ahmad Shah Qajar, and declared Reza Shah the new monarch of the Imperial State of Persia, and the first Shah of the Pahlavi dynasty.
In 1941 Reza Shah Pahlavi was forced to abdicate in favor of his son Mohammad
Reza Pahlavi by the British. In 1944, Mosaddegh was once again elected to parliament. This time he took the lead of Jebhe Melli (
National Front of Iran), an organisation he had founded with nineteen others such as
Hossein Fatemi, Ahmad Zirakzadeh, Ali Shayegan and Karim Sanjabi, aiming to establish democracy and end the foreign presence in Iranian politics, especially by nationalizing the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company's (A
IOC) operations in Iran.
Support for oil nationalization
Most of Iran's oil reserves were in the
Persian Gulf area and had been developed by the British Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (AIOC) for export to
Britain. For a number of reasons — a growing consciousness of how little Iran was getting from the AIOC for its oil; refusal of the AIOC to offer of a ‘50–50% profit sharing deal' to Iran as Aramco had to
Saudi Arabia; anger over Iran's defeat and occupation by the Allied powers — nationalization of oil was an important and popular issue with "a broad cross-section of the Iranian people."
Razmara, the Shah's choice, was approved as prime minister June 1950. On 3 March 1951 he appeared before the Majlis (parliament) in an attempt to persuade the deputies against "full nationalization on the grounds that Iran could not override its international obligations and lacked the capacity to run the oil industry on its own." He was assassinated four days later while praying in the mosque by
Khalil Tahmasebi, a member of the militant fundamentalist group
Fadayian Eslam. This order of events, while appearing in many mainstream historical accounts, confronts countervailing evidence.
After negotiations for higher oil royalties failed, on 15 March and 20 March 1951, the Iranian Majlis and
Senate voted to nationalize the British-owned and operated AIOC, taking control of Iran's oil industry.
On 28 April 1951, the Majlis named Mosaddegh as new prime minister by a vote of 79–12. Aware of Mosaddegh's rising popularity and political power, the young Shah appointed Mosaddegh to the Premiership. On 1 May, Mosaddegh nationalized the AIOC, cancelling its oil concession due to expire in 1993 and expropriating its assets. The next month a committee of five Majlis deputies was sent to
Khuzestan to enforce the nationalization.
The confrontation between Iran and Britain escalated as Mosaddegh's government refused to allow the British any involvement in Iran's oil industry, and Britain made sure Iran could sell no oil. In July, Mosaddegh broke off negotiations with AIOC after it threatened "to pull out its employees", and told owners of oil tanker ships that "receipts from the Iranian government would not be accepted on the world market." Two months later the AIOC evacuated its technicians and closed down the oil installations. Under nationalized management many refineries lacked the trained technicians that were needed to continue production. The British government announced a de facto blockade, reinforced its naval force in the
Persian Gulf and lodged complaints against Iran before the
United Nations Security Council.
Mosaddegh shaking hands with Mohammad-Reza Shah in their first meeting after Mossadegh's election as Prime Minister
The British government also threatened legal action against purchasers of oil produced in the formerly British-controlled refineries and obtained an agreement with its sister international oil companies not to fill in where the AIOC was boycotting Iran. The entire Iranian oil industry came to a virtual standstill. This
Abadan Crisis reduced Iran's oil income to almost null, putting a severe strain on the implementation of Mosaddegh's promised domestic reforms. At the same time BP and Aramco doubled their production in
Iraq, to make up for lost production in Iran so that no hardship was felt in Britain.
Still enormously popular in late 1951, Mosaddegh called elections.
On 16 July 1952, during the royal approval of his new cabinet, Mosaddegh insisted on the constitutional prerogative of the prime minister to name a
Minister of War and the Chief of Staff, something the Shah had done hitherto. The Shah refused, and Mosaddegh announced his resignation appealing directly to the public for support, pronouncing that "in the present situation, the struggle started by the Iranian people cannot be brought to a victorious conclusion".
Veteran politician Ahmad Qavam was appointed as Iran's new prime minister. On the day of his appointment, he announced his intention to resume negotiations with the British to end the oil dispute, a reversal of Mosaddegh's policy. The National Front responded by calling for protests, strikes and mass demonstrations in favor of Mosaddegh. Major strikes broke out in all of Iran's major towns, with the
Bazaar closing down in Tehran. Over 250 demonstrators in Tehran,
Ahvaz, Isfahan, and
Kermanshah were killed or suffered serious injuries.
After five days of mass demonstrations on July, 21, 1952 (30 Tir on the Iranian calendar), military commanders, ordered their troops back to barracks, fearful of overstraining the enlisted men's loyalty and left Tehran in the hands of the protesters.
Frightened by the unrest, Shah dismissed Qavam and re-appointed Mosaddegh, granting him the full control of the military he had previously demanded.
More popular than ever, a greatly strengthened Mosaddegh convinced parliament to grant him emergency powers for six months "to decree any law he felt necessary for obtaining not only financial solvency, but also electoral, judicial, and educational reforms". Mosaddegh appointed
Ayatollah Abol-Ghasem Kashani as house speaker. Kashani's
Islamic scholars, as well as the
Toodeh Party, proved to be two of Mosaddegh's key political allies, although relations with both were often strained.
With his emergency powers, Mosaddegh tried to strengthen the democratic political institutions by limiting the monarchy's unconstitutional powers, cutting Shah's personal budget, forbidding him to communicate directly with foreign diplomats, transferring royal lands back to the state and expelling his politically active sister
In January 1953 Mosaddegh successfully pressed Parliament to extend "emergency powers for another 12 months". With these powers, he decreed a land reform law that established village councils and increased the peasants' share of production. This weakened the landed aristocracy, abolishing Iran's centuries-old feudal agriculture sector, replacing it with a system of collective farming and government land ownership. Mosaddegh saw these reforms as a means of checking the power of the
Toodeh Party, which had been agitating for general land reform among the peasants.
However, during this time Iranians were becoming poorer and unhappier due to the British boycott. Mosaddegh's political coalition began to fray, his enemies increased in number.
Partly through the efforts of Iranians working as British agents, several former members of Mosaddegh's coalition turned against him. They included Mozaffar Baghayi, Hossein Makki and
The government of the
United Kingdom had grown increasingly distressed over Mosaddegh's policies and was especially bitter over the loss of their control of the Iranian oil industry. Repeated attempts to reach a settlement had failed.
Unable to resolve the issue single handedly due to its post-
World War II problems, Britain looked towards the United States to settle the issue. Initially America had opposed British policies. After
American mediation had failed several times to bring about a settlement, American Secretary of State
Dean Acheson concluded that the British were destructive and determined on a rule or ruin policy in Iran. However,
Dwight D. Eisenhower won the presidential election in the United States and a change in
US policy toward Iran ensued.
In the meantime the already precarious alliance between Mosaddegh and Kashani was severed in January 1953, when Kashani opposed Mosaddegh's demand that his increased powers be extended for a period of one year.
In October 1952, Mosaddegh declared Britain an enemy, and cut all diplomatic relations. In November and December 1952, British intelligence officials suggested to American intelligence that the prime minister should be ousted. The new US administration under Dwight D.
Eisenhower and the British government under
Winston Churchill agreed to work together toward Mosaddegh's removal. In March 1953, Secretary of State
John Foster Dulles directed the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), which was headed by his younger brother
Allen Dulles, to draft plans to overthrow Mosaddegh.
On 4 April 1953, CIA director Dulles approved US$1 million to be used "in any way that would bring about the fall of Mosaddegh". Soon the CIA's Tehran station started to launch a propaganda campaign against Mosaddegh. Finally, according to The
New York Times, in early June, American and British intelligence officials met again, this time in
Beirut, and put the finishing touches on the strategy. Soon afterward, according to his later published accounts, the chief of the CIA's
Near East and
Kermit Roosevelt, Jr. the grandson of U.S. President
Theodore Roosevelt, arrived in Tehran to direct it.
The plot, known as Operation Ajax, centered on convincing Iran's monarch to issue a decree to dismiss Mosaddegh from office, as he had attempted some months earlier. But the Shah was terrified to attempt such a dangerously unpopular and legally questionable move, and it would take much persuasion and many U.S. funded meetings.
Mosaddegh became aware of the plots against him and grew increasingly wary of conspirators acting within his government. According to Dr.
Donald N. Wilber, who was involved in the plot to remove Mosaddegh from power, in early August, Iranian CIA operatives pretending to be socialists and nationalists threatened
Muslim leaders with savage punishment if they opposed Mosaddegh, thereby giving the impression that Mosaddegh was cracking down on dissent, and stirring anti-Mosaddegh sentiments within the religious community. A referendum to dissolve parliament and give the prime minister power to make law was submitted to voters, and it passed with 99 percent approval, 2,043,300 votes to 1300 votes against. Around Aug. 16, Parliament was suspended indefinitely, and Mosaddeq's emergency powers were extended.
A few days later on Aug. 19, 1953, Mosaddegh was rounded up as the CIA-backed coup came to a successful end. He was then tried, imprisoned for three years and kept "under house arrest at his estate" until he died in March 1967.
In August 1953, the Shah finally succumbed to the CIA plot and formally dismissed the Prime Minister in a written decree, an act explicitly permitted under the constitution. Then, as a precautionary measure, he flew to
Baghdad and from there hid safely in
Italy. He actually signed two decrees, one dismissing Mosaddegh and the other nominating the CIA's choice, General Fazlollah
Zahedi, as Prime Minister. These decrees were specifically written as dictated by
Donald Wilbur the CIA architect of the plan, which were designed as a major part of Wilbur's strategy to give the impression of legitimacy to the secret coup, as can be read in the declassified plan itself which bears his name. Wilbur was later given a letter of commendation by Alan Dulles, CIA head, for his work.
Soon, massive protests, engineered by Roosevelt's team, took place across the city and elsewhere with tribesmen paid to be at the ready to assist the coup. Fake anti- and pro-monarchy protesters violently clashed in the streets, looting and burning mosques and newspapers, leaving almost 300 dead. The pro-monarchy leadership, chosen, hidden and finally unleashed at the right moment by the CIA team, led by retired army General and former Minister of Interior in Mosaddegh's cabinet, Fazlollah Zahedi joined with underworld figures such as the Rashidian brothers and local strongman
Shaban Jafari, to gain the upper hand on 19 August 1953 (28 Mordad). The military joined on cue: pro-Shah tank regiments stormed the capital and bombarded the prime minister's official residence, on Roosevelt's cue, according to his book. Mosaddegh managed to flee from the mob that set in to ransack his house, and, the following day, surrendered to General Zahedi, who was meanwhile set up by the CIA with makeshift headquarters at the
Officers' Club. Mosaddegh was arrested at the Officers' Club and transferred to a military jail shortly after.
Shortly after the return of the Shah, on 22 August 1953, from his flight to Rome, Mosaddegh was arrested, tried and convicted of treason by the Shah's military court. On December 21, 1953, he was sentenced to death. Later, Mosaddegh's sentence was commuted to three years in solitary confinement in a military prison, followed by house arrest in his
Ahmadabad residence, until his death, on 5 March 1967. Mosaddegh supporters were rounded up, imprisoned, tortured or executed. The minister of Foreign Affairs and the closest associate of Mosaddegh: Hossein
Fatemi was executed by order of the Shah's military court. The order was carried out by firing squad on Oct. 29, 1953.
Zahedi's new government soon reached an agreement with foreign oil companies to form a consortium and "restore the flow of Iranian oil to world markets in substantial quantities", giving the U.S. and Great Britain the lion's share of Iran's oil. In return, the U.S. massively funded the Shah's resulting government, including his army and secret police force,
SAVAK, until the Shah's overthrow in 1979.
The secret U.S. overthrow of Mosaddegh served as a rallying point in anti-US protests during the 1979
Iranian Revolution and to this day he is said to be one of the most popular figures in Iranian history. Despite this, he is generally ignored by the government of the
Islamic Republic because of his popularity and historical facts that define him as a real democratic person.
In early 2004, the
Egyptian government changed a street name in
Cairo from Pahlavi to Mosaddegh to improve relations with the Iranian nation.