CIA Wary of Zahedi’s Grandiose Plans
In “Dream World”, Needs “Firm Realistic Guidance”

Arash Norouzi
The Mossadegh Project
| August 1, 2017     


General Fazlollah Zahedi (1892-1963) | Prime Minister of Iran, 1953-1955

The ink was barely dry on the Shah’s (yet to be delivered) decrees dismissing Premier Mossadegh and appointing Gen. Zahedi before the latter was already fantasizing about the great achievements his embryonic regime would accomplish.

This, we learn, from a newly released CIA telegram from Tehran, delivered on the eve of the first attempt to overthrow Mossadegh. Actually, the operation was intended to begin then at midnight, but, this message reveals, it wound up being postponed for a day to Aug. 15th.

Whoever sent this cable was surely filled with excitement, bringing the good news of the delivery of the indispensable decrees (farmans) required to launch the coup.

The unidentified agent added that a certain individual (Gen. Schwarzkopf? Loy Henderson?, Ashraf Pahlavi?) deserved particular credit for successfully compelling the young Shah to sign them.

Everything was now in place: the stars were aligned, luck was a lady...but Zahedi’s premature, loose chatter about his still hypothetical government’s agenda aroused concern with the CIA, who believed he would need to be ‘guided’ back to reality. Stick with the program, Fazlollah.




260. Telegram From the Station in Iran to the Central Intelligence Agency

Tehran, August 14, 1953, 1303Z.

TEHE 686. 1. Al Homdulillah. [Alhamdulillah, common Arabic phrase meaning “Praise God”, often used to give thanks or express relief]

2. Late last night, accompanied by kisses (literally) from Iranian source, we [were] informed papers brought by [name not declassified]. They [are] now in possession [of] Zahedi. [Fazlollah Zahedi] Evidently [the] pressure [was] finally effective and we feel much credit must go to [name not declassified]. Action scheduled [at] midnight tonight.

3. Earlier meeting with Zahedi showed him firm of purpose but inhabiting [a] dream world so far as his subsequent program [is] concerned. [He] Spoke of free medical care for the third class citizens, mechanizing agriculture and growing vast crops of cotton on Moghan Steppes, equalizing wealth by income taxes, etc. Time [is] not right for us to argue issue but we [are] warning strongly against making impossible promises in early speeches. It [is] clear [that] Zahedi will need firm realistic guidance.

End of message.

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

• Source: “Central Intelligence Agency. Secret. Transcribed specifically for the Foreign Relations series from microfilm in the Central Intelligence Agency that no longer exists” — State Dept. Office of the Historian.

Foreign Relations of the United States, 1952–1954, Iran, 1951–1954: Planning and Implementation of Operation TPAJAX, March–August 1953.


Premier Fazlollah Zahedi and Winston Churchill's Secret Messages After 1953 Coup in Iran
Zahedi & Churchill’s Secret Messages After 1953 Coup in Iran






Related links:

The CIA Scheme to Have the Shah Replace Mossadegh with Zahedi: Aug. 16, 1953

The Capture of Radio Tehran | Aug. 19, 1953 (AUDIO)

Gen. Zahedi Another Praiseworthy Retiring Premier | Buffalo Courier-Express, April 11, 1955



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

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