Ervand Abrahamian on Mossadegh
1953 Coup About Control, Not Communism, Says Professor

Arash Norouzi
The Mossadegh Project
| November 5, 2013   
[Updated June 30, 2017]


Professor Ervand Abrahamian Prof. Ervand Abrahamian, an Iranian-born Armenian raised and educated in England and New York, teaches Middle East history at Baruch College, CUNY. His books include Iran Between Two Revolutions (1982), Khomeinism: Essays on the Islamic Republic (1993), and A History of Modern Iran (2008). After years of research, Abrahamian completed The Coup: 1953, The CIA, and The Roots of Modern U.S.-Iranian Relations, published in February 2013.

Abrahamian’s overall purpose in writing The Coup was to address two points that, he contends, are widely misunderstood even among scholars sympathetic to Mossadegh:

1) No reasonable offer was ever made by the British over oil nationalization, and thus it was not Mossadegh who was “stubborn” and “intransigent”.

2) The 28 Mordad coup could not have succeeded without foreign intervention, and was motivated primarily by hegemonic factors, not fears over Communist encroachment.

Here are over five hours of lectures and interviews with Professor Ervand Abrahamian on the significance of Dr. Mohammad Mossadegh, oil nationalization, and the 1953 coup.



The Real News Interview: June 30, 2017

Prof. Abrahamian reacts to the State Department’s newly released Foreign Relations of the United States (FRUS) documents on Iran from 1951-1954. (15 minutes)






Archival Interview: September 16, 2016

Prof. Abrahamian discusses Premier Mossadegh’s confrontation with the Shah leading up to the 30 Tir uprising of 1952. In the second video, he describes the 1953 military coup in Iran, including U.S. Ambassador Loy Henderson’s scheme to have Mossadegh pull his supporters off the streets. (About 2 minutes each)








USC Lecture on the 1953 Coup: April 22, 2016

A portion of the Q&A from Abrahamian’s presentation on the 1953 coup at the University of Southern California. (37 minutes)






Mossadegh in the Year of Zarif: August 21, 2015

An examination of the recent comparisons made by some Iranians between Mossadegh and Foreign Minister Javad Zarif. Prof. Abrahamian, Mark Gasiorowski and Darioush Bayandor are interviewed by Roland Elliot Brown for this IranWire podcast. (15 minutes)






IFTtv Interview: March 8, 2015

An interview on the 1953 coup with Prof. Muhammad Sahimi, including a discussion of the revisionist coup-denial trend. (36 minutes)






University of Manchester: September 6, 2013

Abrahamian’s I.B.Tauris Keynote Lecture at the two-day symposium "The 19 August 1953 Sixty Years On", held in Manchester, England. One hour speech, then a 15 minute Q&A.






KPFK Interview: August 28, 2013

67 minute interview on the KPFK radio program Voices of the Middle East and North Africa, conducted by Shahram Aghamir:





BBC Persian Interview: August 20, 2013

TV appearance discussing the 1953 coup on its 60th anniversary — 28 minutes, in English with Persian subtitles.






Tablet Interview: August 19, 2013

Five minute video clip with Prof. Abrahamian discussing Mossadegh’s significance internationally and the 1953 coup.





University of New England: October 24, 2012

Lecture on the 1953 coup at UNE in Biddeford, Maine. The talk is about 53 minutes long, followed by a question and answer session lasting 18 minutes.



ORIGINAL SIN: The 1953 Coup in Iran Clarified | by Arash Norouzi
ORIGINAL SIN: The 1953 Coup in Iran Clarified | by Arash Norouzi




Related links:

Author Christopher de Bellaigue (Patriot of Persia) on Mossadegh and the 1953 Coup

“The Things We Did Were Covert” — Eisenhower’s Diary Admission of CIA Coup in Iran

Operation Ajax Was Always An Open Secret — A Timeline



MOSSADEGH t-shirts — “If I sit silently, I have sinned”

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