The Day Iran's Democracy Died
August 19, 1953 (28 Mordad 1332)

Ebrahim Norouzi & Arash Norouzi
The Mossadegh Project
| August 19, 2009        


Mossadegh in court On August 19, 1953, the most genuine democratic government in the history of Iran was overthrown through an Anglo-American code-named "Operation Ajax". The act against the nation had been plotted and put into action by the CIA, with a helping hand from Iranian co-conspirators.

Dr. Mohammad Mossadegh, the revered democratically elected Prime Minister, was arrested, tried in the military court and convicted of treason. The 72 year-old Mossadegh endured three years of solitary confinement and was kept under house arrest for the rest of his life.

In 1960, during the Shah's dictatorial regime fully supported by the United States, Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi published his book Mission for My Country. Tellingly, the Iranian audience went unconsidered, as it was published in English only. However, two of Tehran's main daily newspapers, Kayhan and Ettela'at, published a Persian translation in a serialized format.

In Mission For My Country, the Shah criticized Mossadegh at length. Mossadegh, who was writing his own memoirs, became aware of the Shah's accusations by reading the newspapers. Mossadegh's Memoirs was finally published in 1986, 19 years after his death.

In the third and final chapter of Memoirs, Mossadegh responds to each one of the accusations made by the Shah against him. In his characteristic polite manner, he titled the chapter "Reply to the remarks of his Majesty, the Shah-in-Shah".

The following is our translation of Mossadegh's first entry:



Shah in Mission For My Country:

Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi “...the 28 Mordad 1332 [August 19, 1953] rescued Iran from the clutches of Mossadegh. Dr. Mossadegh was the type of man who had the potential to be a good political leader, but near the end of his government became a prisoner of his own extremist thoughts and a number of people around him; as well as the indirect dictates of a foreign government. I believe that the overthrow of Mossadegh was the work of ordinary people of my country whose heart held a spark of divine will.”


Mossadegh's reply:

Dr. Mohammad Mossadegh “It was the spark of divine will in the heart of Eisenhower that he signed off on a plan to trade a nation's freedom for a 40 percent share in the [oil] consortium. For this exchange to be workable, first the notice of my dismissal was issued and the coup of the night of 25 Mordad 1332 [August 16, 1953] was begun.

When that did not accomplish their goal, a second attempt was launched and $390,000 American dollars was distributed among some corrupt ulama [theologians] and unprincipled commanders and officers. Every one of those common people that the Shah-in-Shah mentioned received a pittance and, one for all and all for one, under the lead of the same officers and non-commissioned, proceeded to plunder my house, arrest and deliver me to the military court.”


Translation by Ebrahim Norouzi, MD. © 2009 The Mossadegh Project




Related links:

The CIA Scheme to Pressure the Shah to 'Dismiss' Mossadegh — August 16, 1953

Mossadegh's Permanent Estrangement from the Shah

General H. Norman Schwarzkopf: The First American Implicated in the 1953 Coup



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

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