Shah: I Can’t Go On Like This

CIA Memo Via Secret Inside Source (March 1953)

The Mossadegh Project | October 7, 2022                    

178. Information Report Prepared in the Central Intelligence Agency


Washington, March 16, 1953.

Attitude of Shah Concerning His Present Position

A source with close contacts with the Shah (F). Appraisal of Content: 3

1. The Shah [Mohammad Reza Pahlavi] told source on 11 March 1953 that his duty to his people was making him a virtual prisoner by frustrating his desire to go abroad and live “like a human being” and that he did not know how much longer he could carry on.

Field Comment. According to a source with excellent contacts with the Bakhtiari chieftains, the Shah’s abdication would result in a “tribal dog fight” which would so weaken and disperse security forces that it probably would be an easy matter for the Tudeh Party to take over the Government.

2. The Shah stated that all his efforts to fight Communism were thwarted by Prime Minister Mossadeq, and that these were used against him (the Shah) and his family as “evidence” that they were participating in anti-Government intrigues. [Dr. Mohammad Mossadegh]

3. The Shah denied that he “knew anything” about the tribal disturbance set off in February 1953 by Abul Ghasem Bakhtiar and blamed, by Mossadeq supporters, on anti-Government individuals who allegedly were influencing the Shah. [Abol Ghassem Bakhtiar]

Field Comment. According to same source as Comment 1 above, unless Abul Ghasem were captured and his followers dispersed before the mountain passes thawed (probably in late March), minor tribes adjacent to the Bakhtiar country would flock to their support, thus precipitating a major revolt.

• Source: Foreign Relations of the United States, 1952-1954, Iran, 1951–1954 (2017) [Annotations by Arash Norouzi]

“Source: Central Intelligence Agency, DDI Files, Job 80–00810A, Box 7, Folder 7, CS Information Reports 5020–5029. Secret; Security Information; Control—U.S. Officials Only.” — State Department Office of the Historian


Related links:

Status Report on Iranian Elections | CIA, Jan. 26, 1954

Iranian Prime Minister Faces Growing Opposition | CIA, Feb. 21, 1953

Mossadeq’s New Proposals Offer No Hope For Oil Settlement | CIA, Jan. 1953

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

Facebook  Twitter  YouTube  Tumblr   Instagram