Holding Down the Fort
CIA Memo on Mossadegh’s Control in Iran (1953)

Arash Norouzi
The Mossadegh Project
| December 29, 2017                                                     


CIA Documents on Iran, Mossadegh, 1953 Coup | 1951-1954

This brief CIA document on the situation in Iran names no author and is undated, but it would have derived from March 1953. Though written in the abbreviated style of a telegram, it appears it may have been an outline for a much longer March 10th report, "The Situation in Iran".

There are two versions of this document. The first, with handwritten cross-outs, inserts and no paragraph breaks, and a revised version with a couple of minor changes. Because it is easier to read, the revised version precedes the draft below.





IRAN

Mossadeq [is] slowly consolidating [his] position. No serious overt opposition but [he is] maneuvering cautiously.

Kashani [Ayatollah Kashani] has withdrawn into shell.

Dissatisfaction [in] army circles and rumors [of a] military coup [are] possible but Mossadeq [is] probably able [to] block this and [begin] purge of army continuing with [the] Chief of Staff taking Mossadeq’s orders.

Tudeh [is] not yet ready to attempt [a] coup but 4 to 6 thousand Tudeh followers gave orderly demonstration in memory of Stalin.

Mossadeq has requested withdrawal [of] Point-4 personnel from [the] South Caspian area fearing Communist pressure.

Differences with [the] Shah [are] unresolved but he [is] being slowly undermined. Prince Abdr Reza [sic—Abdolreza Pahlavi] left for India and [the] Queen [Soraya Esfandiari Bakhtiari] [is] about to leave.

Tribal leaders [are] restive and new army commanders [have been] sent to [the] Bakhtiari area.

Oil conversations [are] dead-locked and Mossadeq [is] about to formally reject [the] last British offer and announce [a] breakdown of talks. This [is] partially [a] political maneuver by Mossadeq to strengthen [his] position

Iran appears to be in [a] situation of slow disintegration but with Mossadeq likely to control things for some time.

• Note: Bracketed text added for better readability.
[Annotations by Arash Norouzi]

Date unknown. Declassified by the Central Intelligence Agency on August 30, 2000.






Iran:

Mossadeq [is] slowly consolidating [his] position. No serious overt opposition but [he is] maneuvering cautiously. Kashani has withdrawn from overt opposition. into shell Dissatisfaction [in] army circles and rumors [of a] military coup [are] possible but Mossadeq [is] probably able [to] block this and [begin] purge of army continuing with [the] Chief of Staff taking Mossadeq’s orders. Tudeh [is] not yet ready to attempt [a] coup but 4 to 6 thousand Tudeh followers gave orderly demonstration in memory of Stalin. Mossadeq has requested withdrawal [of] Point-4 personnal [sic] from [the] South Caspian area fearing Communist pressure. Differences with [the] Shah [are] unresolved but he [is] being slowly undermined. Prince Abdor Reza [Abdolreza Pahlavi] has left for India and [the] Queen [is] about to leave. Tribal leaders [are] restive and new army commanders [have been] sent to [the] Bakhtiari area. Oil conversations [are] dead-locked and Mossadeq [is] about to formally reject [the] last British offer and announce [a] breakdown of talks. This [is] partially [a] political maneuver by Mossadeq to strengthen [his] position. Iran Appear[s] to be in [a] situation of slow disintegration but with Mossadeq likely to control things for some time.


• Note: Bracketed text added for better readability.
[Annotations by Arash Norouzi]

Date unknown. Declassified by the Central Intelligence Agency on August 30, 2000.


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Related links:

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