Maziar Bahari's documentary on Mossadegh

Shifteh Ansari
by Shifteh Ansari

"An Iranian Odyssey: Mossadegh, Oil, and the 1953 CIA Coup," directed by Maziar Bahari for the BBC, 2009:

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

Part 4:


more from Shifteh Ansari

Mehman & Bavafa

by Parham on

You're both welcome.

Farah Rusta


by Farah Rusta on

Why can't we have an account of events without the footprints of the 2ns generation Tude'ei all over it. Here our award winning documentary maker leave us in no doubt:

  • Mossadegh is exonerated because after all he didn't do anything unconstitutional (no mention of Dr M's illegal dissolution of Majlis , no mention of illegal referendum - so much for coverage of history!!)
  • Tudeh party is exonerated because they were substituted by the CIA agents shouting death to the Shah!!
  • CIA is exonerated because they had such respect for Mossadegh!
  • BBC is exonerated because they never broadcast the coded message and they don't broadcast at midnight (future BBC commissioned assignments are guaranteed Mr Behari).
  • And, oh, yes even the bad old Kashani is forgiven as he was against the Shah all the way!!! (your family in Iran will be safe Mr Behari)

So who is left? Oh, yes the crafty fox-like Brits (BP implied) and the foroo-maayeh Shah who fled the country? Did I say foroo-maayeh? Yes that is what the sex-voiced narrator Pooneh khanom Ghodoosi said. Hardly an attribute of an objective documentary!

OK enough sarcasm. The trouble is that the present BBC Persian is so badly infested with the 2nd generation Tude'eis they can't help control their anti-Shah, pro Brit, mouse-and-cat with the IRI, and Yankee-phobic sentiments.  

Shocking? Not really, more Shockumentaries are in the pipeline.


Darius Kadivar

Mehman Jaan thanks for the Distinction ...

by Darius Kadivar on

As to your question:

How would you feel if someone would keep insulting the Shah all the time from thread to thread?

Well Now That is what I call Information ! ;0)

I believe that has been precisely the case from Day ONE for the past 30 years ...

Haven't You Noticed ? ...

But well I suppose I cope with it quite well and I should say I often feel that is precisely what troubles most Anti Shahi's because I happen to be more accurate  in my feedbacks to them as opposed to much of their own so called claims of evidence on any matter relative to the Pahlavis ...

So ... For your information ...

I sleep well at nights !


But Thank you for your kind comments.

Appreciated !



by Mehman on

I am not talking about you.

You have some logic and a belief, that is fine. I like many things about the Pahlavis too. They had many good points. I have already mentioned the good points of Reza Shah in a thread. Similarly the late Shah has done good things for Iran. Believe it or not, I have played soccer in Saad Abad with RP (the high school games). I have no grudge against the Pahlavis.

My point was about only one or two persons in this site who keep insulting Mossadegh. They are not 'reasoning' against him as you do, but insulting him all the time, you can check their comments. How would you feel if someone would keep insulting the Shah all the time from thread to thread?

I like a few of your comments and most of your videos.

The 2 words you asked about are not mentioned directly but their contents are inderctly being expressed. Like if I keep insulting someone, I am actually 'hating' that person. right? Or if I like the Pharaohs of Egypt as my ideal political leaders and system, I am in fact propagating Absolutism with an Egyptian style even though I do not mention the word openly.

About Absolutism, we will have a chat later. OK?

Take Care,


Darius Kadivar

Where did you Read the Words "Hate" or "Absolutism" in Thread ?

by Darius Kadivar on

"It is no wonder why the Absolutists in three opposite camps unitedly hate this wonderful character and his political agenda. "

I believe the Questions raised by the Late PRime Minister's toppling are quite Legitimate and to which none of you even bothered to answer ...

Oh Right ... the Old man is SACRED !

Well the TRUTH isn't ! ... No More than History.

Unless like the Current Zahak Prince Ali you think that Social Studies should not be studied for it is deemed against Religious or Moral Values or raises questions for which you cannot come up with answers ... 

But then Isn't that the mindset described by the  3 Wise Monkey's ?:

"see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil".


نه شرقی نه غربی جمهوری (اسلا)ملی


Reactionary populist anti-modernity is alive and well, but not part of the force of freedom for Iran.


Likewise, I like to thank all including Shifteh Ansari

by Bavafa on

for providing the video and a means for a healthy discussion. The details were very educational for me.

Rohe Mossadegh shad bash



Thank You

by Mehman on

Faramarz, Aynak, Parham, Dr. Kazemzadeh for the valuable discussions and links provided in this blog about the history and political path of the great political leader of Iran.

It is no wonder why the Absolutists in three opposite camps unitedly hate this wonderful character and his political agenda.

Darius Kadivar

Food for Thought: Anyone Heard of The Defence of The Realm Act ?

by Darius Kadivar on

I just came across the following text known as Defence of the Realm Act (DORA) which was passed in the United Kingdom on 8 August 1914 but which prevails to this day in Great Britain if the Kingdom and the Sovereign are deemed in Danger. Obviously it can only be carried out in VERY Exceptional Situations like War ( Or Revolution ?) but nevertheless ... In a Constitutional Monarchy the Monarch is the Head of State and NOT the Prime Minister. As Such the Prime Minister (even if Elected Democratically) is First and Formost Serving the Monarch before Serving the People. In Practice it is the Opposite because Great Britain ( which unlike other monarchies does not even have a written constitution) has EVOLVED into a Democratic System. Yet in Theory and quite LEGALLY the Monarch has certain Prerogatives which he or she maintains including naming or dismissing the Prime Minister. In Practice that NEVER happens unless there is a vacuum of Power such as the death of the PRime Minister during his term in office in which case the Queen or King can name another person from the Majority to form the government. As a matter of fact This did take place in 1964 in Great Britain.   

In Anycase amongst the WRITTEN PREROGATIVES of the Monarch in times of Conflict ( War or Revolution ?) are as Follows :


Be it enacted ... as follows:


(1) His Majesty in Council has power during the continuance of the present war to issue regulations for securing the public safety and the defence of the realm, and as to the powers and duties for that purpose of the Admiralty and Army Council and of the members of His Majesty's forces and other persons acting in his behalf; and may by such regulations authorise the trial by courts-martial, or in the case of minor offences by courts of summary jurisdiction, and punishment of persons committing offences against the regulations and in particular against any of the provisions of such regulations designed:


(a) to prevent persons communicating with the enemy or obtaining information for that purpose or any purpose calculated to jeopardise the success of the operations of any of His Majesty's forces or the forces of his allies or to assist the enemy; or

(b) to secure the safety of His Majesty's forces and ships and the safety of any means of communication and of railways, ports, and harbours; or


(c) to prevent the spread of false reports or reports likely to cause disaffection to His Majesty or to interfere with the success of His Majesty's forces by land or sea or to prejudice His Majesty's relations with foreign powers; or

(d) to secure the navigation of vessels in accordance with directions given by or under the authority of the Admiralty; or

(e) otherwise to prevent assistance being given to the enemy or the successful prosecution of the war being endangered.

By the Way Eversince Cromwell's Era ... Great Britain To Date has Never been faced with Revolution not even of the type which took place in France like in let's say May '68 ... but I wonder ... How the above Act would be applied in such a case ? ... 


If Anyone has an Idea ? I welcome your feedbacks !


Recommended Watching:

HISTORY FORUM: How Truly Democratic is The British Monarchy ?


Comrade, the party pooper

by comrade on

The onus of acting rationally is on all of us. I am in no position to advise anyone; but on a personal level, I will never let myself be sucked into our history's black holes, to use an oversimplified term.

As I said, it's a personal choice. If you think you can defeat the common enemy by tearing each other apart, go ahead. Otherwise, a strategic unity would not compromise any party's political values. You can keep the version of history that you like forever as baggage with you and carry it to our freed country when the time comes. Today is a day of acting in unison against the common enemy. That' all... 

"Learning carries within itself certain dangers because out of necessity one has to learn from one's enemies."



This Comrade is a party

by benross on

This Comrade is a party spoiler. Don't pay attention to him. Do whatever you were doing for the past 70 years. Nobody cares anyway.



by aynak on

I guess in your world someone starting a thread named Mossadegh in Gyoumeh,  and the rest of your gang attacking the Dr. 40 years after his death does not count for anything.     You should wonder why they and the Islamic regime supporters after all these years not letting go, for his 2+ years in charge, not the other way around.   I would have thought,  a communist should be more worried about Proletariat than the Pahlavis but what do I know.


You're welcome aynak

by Parham on

If by "bad timing" you're referring to the death of Stalin, of course not. As you mention yourself, there is a whole lot more to the "derailing of Iran's aspiration for democracy" (AND the derailing of its resources to others!), the most important of which, in my opinion, is the ease with which so many of our compatriots turned coats and participated in it, if only for personal benefit.

Think about it, the Americans envisaged a budget of $800,000 for the toppling of Mossadegh's government, but only used $10,000 of that! That ought to tell us something about how things happened and why. It also ought to give us a better understanding of the way things went later in 1978/79; but most of all, it should tell us something about ourselves as a collective entity...

So it wasn't all Stalin's death... That was only the spark!


Thanks Parham

by aynak on

for taking the time and going over the discrepancies on the BBC documentary.      The only thing that leaves me a bit hanging here, is that the event of coup, and derailing Iran's aspiration for democracy all falls on bad timing?!   Of course hind site is 20/20.   And of course the situation back in 53 with the balance of power was so different.   On the hand looking to the future, and knowing full well the challenges of others interest in a countries resources, people who will betray their country and then masses who may not be as persistent as they should be to achieve their full human rights,   and how to balance it all.   Tough challenge indeed but I am optimistic.


اگه تو نباشی‌، من می‌میرم


I wonder what would happen to the supporters of Mosaddegh's legacy if  Reza Pahlavi's supporters decided to throw in the towel. I'm afraid, in that hypothetical case, our friends at  JM would lose part of their purpose in life.


"Learning carries within itself certain dangers because out of necessity one has to learn from one's enemies."



Re: Kermit Roosevelt and Henderson Meeting with Mossadegh

by Parham on

Dear Masoud,

Of course I have read Kinzer's take on the meeting. I have also read many other takes, and I'm basing my view upon a composite of everything I've read. In my opinion, the re-emerging idea that even KR thought the coup was lost and that he was not such a genius to begin with can hold, although the opposite can be true too. But to be honest with you, I don't see KR (or let's say most human beings) to be that enlightened to come up with such schemes, especially in that environment.

When you read Kamran's interview, you'll see him reveal that the head of the military arm that was supposed to confront the bunch from the second attempt sells out and that's how the Zahedi crowd gets a hold of the leash.
That's a version I buy more, to be frank.

As to Mossadegh being naïve towards the Americans, I'd agree that up to a certain point he must have been more optimistic than reality would have allowed; but I think, again judging by the exchanges that take place between him and Henderson for example, or only by taking the fact that his request for a loan was not accepted into account, that he must have been disillusioned about them quite some time before the coup. Thinking of him another way would be to imagine him a little too naïve, i.m.o.

Now as to why he didn't call people to the street on the 28th, say by sending a message through the radio station (that was actually very close to him), there will always be debate. One will say things went too fast for him to realize what was happening, another would say he probably thought people would come out on their own anyway, and of course we've heard the other justifications about how Henderson persuaded him, or that he thought things were lost anyway, etc.

To be honest with you, I still don't know what to stick with as it's a hard one, but I'm pretty sure it wasn't Henderson who convinced him, or that he did not give up. I think he was mostly taken by surprise, and I think, again, Ramin Kamran's explanation sticks.

I concur with your short paragraph starting with "on that horrible day..."

About the British agents -- again, that's an inaccuracy. True, they were gathered by the Rashidian brothers and the Rashidians were under the pay of the British, but the "agents" were on American money. Honestly, I wouldn't be surprised if we found out one day that Kashani's people were among them, or that they had actually been doing this even before the paid agents.

As to the documentary, again I think there are better ones out there, notably some made by the Americans and the Brits themselves.

Masoud Kazemzadeh

Kermit Roosevelt and Henderson Meeting with Mossadegh

by Masoud Kazemzadeh on

Dear Parham,


Kinzer has a good section on Henderson and Mossadegh meeting. Kinzer says that Kermit Roosevelt (KR) told Henderson what to say. According to Kinzer, Roosevelt had a very good understanding of Mossadegh’s personality and character and knew he was a gentleman and compassionate. So, KR set a trap for Mossadegh. So, KR told Henderson to say that the Iranian mobs had assaulted Americans. Mossadegh picks up the phone and orders the armed forces to go to the streets and bring order. KR needed Mossadegh’s order to take the troops out of their barracks. Then, KR has his other contacts bring others out (Shaban Bi-Mokh, Fadaian Islam, etc) and his contacts with Zahedi to bring officers in the military to move towards Mossadegh’s home and the radio station, etc. In other words, Henderson’s meeting with Mossadegh was essential for the coup on 28 Mordad. Roosevelt was brilliant and that did deceive Mossadegh.


See pp. 171-176 (unfortunately p. 175 is not included in the google book)'s+men+Roosevelt+knew+that+Mossadegh+was+a+deeply+compassionate+man&hl=en&ei=flp0TLLWFISBlAfH9PjHCA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CCgQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q&f=false





2. Dr. Mossadegh had a very positive and naive view of the Americans. One of Mossadegh’s closest friends was the U.S. Supreme Court Justice, William O. Douglass, who a very liberal FDR appointee. Mossadegh who have been a long-time friend with Douglass assumed that many, or most, Americans were like Douglass. Before 1953, Americans had a very good reputation among Iranian liberals because of the involvement of Americans like Baskerville in the Constitutional Revolution (who fought and died on the side of constitutionalists), and the positive role of Morgan Shuster during the constitutional era.



3. The fight was very very close. A few decisions had gone another way, we would have won. We lost in large measure because of brilliance and tenacity of Kermit Roosevelt. In my opinion, Dr. Mossadegh made a few mistakes. One was to send in the troops. He had assumed that the coup was over. The second mistake was that once he realized what was happening, he should have called upon his supporters to go to the streets and confront the coup plotters.


On that horrible day, we lost our independence, our freedom, our lukewarm democracy. Our nation has been suffering brutal dictatorship and savage repression since that horrendous day.






4. The British agents were Iranians, who were Iranians like the Rashidian brothers, who were loaned to the CIA. When the documentary says, British agents, it does not mean British citizens. It means Iranians who were in pay of the British. These agents played crucial roles in the coup.



5. Thank you for posting the link to Ramin Kamran’s article. I will read it shortly.







Dear Aynak,

Thank you for your post. I agree with you.






Shifteh khanum,

Thank you for posting this excellent documentary.





by Parham on

You're more than welcome. That document (the Ramin Kamran interview) is, to my opinion, the freshest, most "whole" view of the events of those years and sheds a lot more light on the whys and why-nots of what happened than anything I've personally seen in the past. It also answers a lot of the questions that one always wonders about reading other historical accounts/explanations, which always seem incomplete.

That is, again in my opinion, the case of the documentary presented here. While it doesn't "negate" what Kamran says in the interview, it does raise a lot of the questions Kamran answers there.

However, the fact is that it also carries inconsistencies, some of them major ones. One example of such case would be the part in the video where they mention the meeting between Henderson and Mossadegh on the 27th. The documentary states as a fact that Henderson told Mossadegh that if he called on the people to go to the street again (or didn't get them out of the streets), he would make all the Americans leave.

First of all, still to this day, there is no consensus on what was said in that meeting between Mossadegh and Henderson. There is a lot of speculation, but no certitude as to what was exchanged.

Then, think of the logic of what is being said there: On the 27th, everyone thought the coup was avoided on the 25th. So there mustn't have been any reason for the majority of people to be still out on the streets (and they in fact weren't there, as we saw on the 28th).

On the other hand, if Henderson had told Mossadegh that he should get the people out of the way if such thing happened again, that would be just like giving away the fact that there would be a second offensive, while an absurd thing to say anyway. And knowing a bit about Mossadegh, what do you think his reply would have been anyhow?

But where the documentary maker makes the most amount of mistake, and this is what a lot of historians do in fact, is the use of the word "people."

People sent out by Kashani are taken for all "people," as in some instances the Toudehis are also taken for "people" and sometimes the "people" are taken for supporters of Kashani and so on. This is one of those instances where any reader or viewer could get easily confused, as it is obviously the case of the documentary maker.

Look at where the documentary talks about 30 Tir: It claims those who came out were Kashani's people, whereas most accounts of the event talk about the "people" people, meaning everyone, including Kashani's. In fact, to be honest with you, I sort of wondered if that wasn't slipped in there on purpose, as it was a biggie.

Or, when the documentary talks about the British agents disguising themselves as Toudehis, most accounts say that either the amount of those were minimal to none, as the Brits were very afraid to mix themselves up at that point and didn't have many left "on the ground" anyway.
Another one is one wonders why he has even included the interview with Kashani's son, as it seems to negate everything that's been said so far (including in the documentary) in favor of his father!

Which brings us to the point you raised: I don't believe Mossadegh undermined the power of the clerics. Instead, the events show that he was well aware of it, as at one point or another he even benefits from it -- so there shouldn't be any reason he shouldn't know. Just that, as Kamran explains, his politic was to play all these powers together at the same time and create an equilibrium that way -- which is really the democratic way to do it too. Except at one point Stalin dies and the balance is lost.
I actually think he even knew how Kashani could change coats and turn the other way (some think he didn't), just that perhaps in his liberal/democratic mind, he thought if it's the people deciding their fate, it shouldn't be only one faction (meaning those under Kashani's order).

Now as to what was said in that meeting between Henderson and Mossadegh, the documentary suggests that it was a turning point in the events, in that Mossadegh did not call on people to go in the streets on the 28th, and that's why the coup succeeded.

I've read all sorts of versions about what was said in the meeting, and I personally think not much was in fact said there, and that it was just a simple meeting between the two and not much more.

Also, the documentary seems to suggest that Mossadegh over-trusted the Americans. While I believe that it is true that the Americans were very well seen in the eyes of the majority of people in Iran at the time, I don't think anyone with that age and experience in diplomacy would be so naïve to over-trust one side more than another -- as can even be seen by all the maneuvering by Mossadegh prior to the events of the coup. Think about it: Even the loan he had requested to the Americans had been turned down. He should have known.

Finally, one point where in fact the documentary does negate Kamran's account is how it actually starts: The impression is set from the get-go that poverty is ruling because of Mossadegh's policies and his so called "stubbornness" in not bending to the embargo. Kamran rightly makes the point that poverty had in fact been there even before --whereby how and why things happened-- and in fact there was no lack in the government's budget, salaries were all paid on time, etc. More, government bonds are nothing extra-ordinary and we see them even pop-up in modern times. In fact, it was the powers that had to bend to Mossadegh's rigidity if you think about it, as all they could do about what was happening was to cheat by organizing the coup!.. It wasn't like they won on proper grounds and that's one mistake a lot of historians make, and it seems to be the case here in the BBC documentary as well.



by aynak on

The link to Ramin Kamran is a comprehensive coverage  and rebuttal to most all of the clumsy attacks and distortions of history by the monarchists as well as the religious fanatics and Tudeh Party.  But I don't see the Maziar Bahar documentary negating any of what Ramin Kamran states.   Basically the Bahar documentary, closes in on a very important point:  That both Mossadegh and Shah, overlooked the power of clerics.   Although that political power is fast fading, precisely because the clerics up and until Islamic revolution had no position in governing the country, now the history showed that they would be even more corrupted by absolute power than Shah.   What I truly enjoyd about Ramin Kamrans analysis, was his summary about  Mossadegh's approach:   Independent external policy and liberal-democratic policies inside.     As such, those against him, are really not fighting Mossadegh, but the essence of what he stood for:  A true  democratic government *with all its Inherent/true strength, and also superficial weaknesses*.    He is also very correct, that the constitutional  monarchy that the Saltantat-Talabs claim of supporting, was indeed never better materialized than  under Mossadeghs less than 3 years as prime minister.   Alas, CONSTITUTION was these absolute  monarchists real problem  with Mossadegh.    Thank you for that ageless link, and it deserves a thread of its own.        

Darius Kadivar

Interesting But doesn't Evaluate Iran's Democracy Index in 53

by Darius Kadivar on

This is a very interesting documentary but leaves out many details it prefers to ignore and as such raises more questions that it answers.

It is very accurate in Chronological terms but overlooks many aspects of the Regime prior to Mossadegh's Premiership.

The Knowledge of which in my humble opinion is essential to understand why Mossadegh's political behavior doomed him in advance and once again explains much of his miscalculations and Political adventurism which jeapordized an Already Fragile Democracy barely in it's Premise.

Notably the fact that far from being an Ideal Democracy, Iran was very much inflicted by Instabilty and Violence throughout the 12 years during which the Shah reigned but did not rule (Very much like in many Western European Constitutional Monarchies). 

For instance Prime Minister General Razmara who was Assassinated ( He was the second of the Shah's Prime Ministers to be assassinate the first was Abdolhossein Hazhir  see Below ) 

The man Rashidian calls a "Pedar Sookhteh" and Sam Fall unjustly calls "Tarsoo" was himself subject to several assassination attempts which failed:

Mohamad Reza Shah Pahlavi in hospital recovering from an assassination attempt by a Tudeh Communist Party member (1949)

And despite which he remained in the country and assumed his responsabilities both on a national and International Scale limited to Representational Functions:

Shah of Iran at the United Nations 1948: 

The Shah's deemed weakness was not of character but of not having succeeded to his father's abdication from a position of Strength.

Not only did he have no other choice but to compromise with an unfortunate situation: That of seeing his country humiliatingly occupied by Invading Forces ( i.e: Russians and the British) during WWII. He had to fill in the vacuum left by his Strong willed and Charismatic father in a land Ruled by Absolute Monarchs for Centuries.

As if Not humiliating a situation enough, the young Monarch had to also cope with an Administration largely dominated by former Qajar Aristocrats and Statesmen who understood the mechanism's of Power in the country.

How else could a 20 year old man upon whose shoulders the destiny of a nation is supposed to depend on, take upon himself entirely and decide what should be done or not done without weighing the consenquences of his actions ? 

The Shah's behavior Prior to Mossadegh's Premiership and even during the latter's Premiership does not appear to me as that of an Irresponsible Man ... Far from that ...

However what does seem clear is the fact that Iranian Society was hardly prepared for Democracy and that Mossadegh's Adventurism brought the already fragile democratic institutions to their knees by creating a situation of total chaos and social anarchy ( with the help of the Mullahs and the Left Tudeh) over which he himself had no real control.

Just to give an idea of how unstable Mohamed Reza Shah's first 12 years of more or less democratic rule was, one simply has to look at the Number of Prime Ministers who took office ( often several times the same) during this period of time:

To Read In Chronologically Reverse Order:

Mohamed Mossadegh: Second Term in Office (21 July 1952 – 19 August 1953)

Ahmad Gavam: Third Term in Office under MRP Rule (17 July 1952 – 22 July 1952)

Mohamed Mossadegh: First Term In Office (28 April 1951 – 16 July 1952)

Hossein Ala' : In Office (12 March 1951 – 30 April 1951)

Haj Ali Razmara (Assassinated) : in Office (26 June 1950 – 7 March 1951)

Ali Mansur : In Office (23 March 1950 – 26 June 1950)

Mohammad Sa'ed : Second In Office ( November 1948 – 23 March 1950)

Abdolhossein Hazhir (Assassinated): In Office (13 June 1948 – 9 November 1948)

Ebrahim Hakimi: Third Term In Office (29 December 1947 – 13 June 1948)

Mohammad-Reza Hekmat :Term in Office (18 December 1947 – 29 December 1947)

Ahmad Gavam: Second Term in Office under MRP Rule (28 January 1946 – 18 December 1947)

Ebrahim Hakimi: Second Term in Office (30 October 1945 – 28 January 1946)

Mohsen Sadr : Term in Office (6 June 1945 – 30 October 1945)

Ebrahim Hakimi: First Term in Office (13 May 1945 – 6 June 1945)

Morteza-Qoli Bayat : Term in Office (25 November 1944 – 13 May 1945)

Mohammad Sa'ed : First Term in Office (6 April 1944 – 25 November 1944)

Ali Soheili : Second Term in Office (15 February 1943 – 6 April 1944)

Ahmad Gavam: First Term in Office under MRP Rule (9 August 1942 – 15 February 1943)

Ali Soheili : First Term in Office (9 March 1942 – 9 August 1942)

Mohammad-Ali Foroughi : Term in Office (27 August 1941 – 9 March 1942)


In Such Conditions How Can ANYONE Possiblly Claim that when Mossadegh was so called Democratically Elected that he was Running a STABLE DEMOCRACY ?

Who can therefore claim that Iranian Society had experienced Democracy to the Fullest merely because Mossadegh had allowed freedom of Press during his Premiership ? All the more that in a country where Democracy was not fully experienced allowing Freedom of Expression as Mossadegh did was more of a political tool to controle his constituency through "populism" and not genuine political discourse as one would expect in a genuine democratic society, where despite a Free Press, laws are not voted by the mob in the Streets but by the elected representatives. 

Just for the anecdote I did the Maths in regard to our Constitutional History during which time we can consider that we were experiencing some kind of more or less Full Democracy in our Country which prior to the Constitutional Movement had been run by Absolute Rule for the past 25 Centuries albeit under different dynasties:

1) At the time of the Coup Iran's Constitution was barely 50 years old ( 47 years to be exact).

2) Muzzeferedin Shah was to first monarch to accept the drafted constitution shortly before dying (40 days to be exact).

3) Muzzaferedin Shah's Son Muhamad Ali Shah he doesn't really count for he bombarded the Majlis and was never a democratic ruler to begin with pushed the country into a civil war and then died in exile.

4)  Ahmad Shah Qajar Respected the Constitution during his Reign before being Toppled which makes 9 years in all.

5) Reza Khan overlooked the Constitution entirely after deposing the Qajars but implemented most of the Constitutionalist's Secular ideals and put Iran on the Road of Modernity if not democracy.

6) Muhamed Reza Shah reigned but did not rule for 12 years which makes him the Only King in Iran's Entire History to have Reigned for the longest Period of Time and Not Ruled according to More or Less Fully Democratic Standards worthy of any Parliametary Democracy in Western Europe at the time.

So that makes in all 40 days under Muzzaferedin Shah, 9 years under Ahmad Shah Qajar and 12 Years under Mohamed Reza Shah which amounts to more or less 21 years and 40 days of democratic practice in Iran according to the Only Democratic Draft we Ever had in our Country and that is the 1906 Constitution.

Conclusion: At Best Iran experienced 21 years and 40 days of democratic practice in all by the time of the Coup of 1953 when the Constitution was barely 47 years old.

So Given this fact and above Figures How Can One Seriously Claim that Mossadegh alone during his two Terms in Office Turned Iran into a Perfect Democracy Overnight ? ...

Recommended Reading:

The Democracy Index is an index compiled by The Economist examining the state of democracy in 167 countries, attempting to quantify this with an Economist Intelligence Unit Index of Democracy which focused on five general categories: electoral process and pluralism, civil liberties, functioning of government, political participation and political culture. According to Economist Intelligence Unit's Democracy Index 2008 Sweden scored a total of 9.88 on a scale from zero to ten, which was the highest result, while North Korea scored the lowest with 0.86. The countries are categorized into "Full Democracies", "Flawed Democracies", "Hybrid Regimes" (all considered democracies), and "Authoritarian Regimes" (considered dictatorial. See Here

Jahanshah Javid

History of Iran

by Jahanshah Javid on

I'm going to write down as much as I know about Iranian history. Without any editing. I'm not going to check Wikipedia. I'm not going to look at any sources. I will just tell you all I know -- right or wrong >>>



by Mehman on

Mr Javid,

"The past has past."

Is history done and gone? Are we obsessive with the past? Are we (iranians) the only persons who are obsessed with the 1953 coup?


Because we can see lots of articles being written by American and British commentators in well-known papers these days. Why should 'they' be obsessed with an event that happened 60 years ago?

Answer: the 'events' of past are done and gone but 'history' is being constantly written and re-written.

What is history then? Simply a set of events in the past?


It is more complex: History is 'the interpretation of past events' not the past events themselves.

Interpretation is the key word here. The philosophy of interpretation or the science of 'Hermeneutics' is one of the greatest achievements of the post-modern era.

History is what 'the interpreters' render as the 'true' sequence of past events. No one has access to all of the actions as they did really occur in the past.

Those who have more 'power' and more intrigue have more access to the means of writing (or re-writing) history making us believe that their version or interpretation of history is the true and genuine record of what happened in the past.

(Just look at the article being written yesterday about the real cause of the 1953 coup in the Washington Post! Suddenly found the cause!)

Here comes Foucault with the notion of Power and its inevitable role in the making and re-making process of historical discourse, and here come the late 20th century New Historicists with the thesis of non-literary and literary texts all coming to be read as documents of historical discourse.

If we put the broad agenda of Power and geo-political hegemony in the heart of historical discourse and 'analysis', we can understand better why a simple event happening 60 years ago in a third world country is so much important not only for Iranian writers but also for the British and American 'experts'.



Mossadegh Photo Essay on

by Faramarz on


This photo essay was published on back in 2003. Nice Pictures!


I disagree

by Parham on

This is not the best documentary about the coup d'état. There are still inaccuracies in there and more importantly, it still bears hidden opinions, despite it having tried to remain objective.
The best account of the coup and why things happened the way they did, in my opinion, can be found in this interview with Ramin Kamran:

I'd recommend reading the whole thing if you're truly interested.

And as to the other point raised -- they say "gozashte cheraghe rahe ayande ast." I don't think the right lessons have been learned from this collective experience for us to properly move on. That's why we're still debating it. And I don't think we will move on unless all has been resolved in our collective conscience.


Thank You

by R2-D2 on

Will Come Back to Watch All The Videos .....

P.S. JJ, I agree with you .. Please Read This Comment




Jahanshah Javid


by Jahanshah Javid on

Maziar Bahari's documentary may be the best on this subject ever. Having said that I wonder if we are aware that we are stuck in history? Is there anything new and significant that has not been covered? In 2010, do we want to go back to 1953? Are we in love with Mossadegh or democracy? This deep obsession with history is also evident in our love for all sorts of dead characters from Cyrus to Emam Hossein to Mossadegh and the Shah. If we concentrated half as much on our present and future issues we'd be much better off. The past has past. Lessons are there to see. Look forward, not back.