Shah ‘Would Not Take Part In A Coup’

CIA Weighs Zahedi’s Chances Of Becoming Premier

Arash Norouzi

The Mossadegh Project | January 18, 2018                        

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

In this excerpt from an April 1953 intelligence bulletin, the CIA mulled over the likelihood of Gen. Zahedi replacing Mossadegh as Prime Minister of Iran.

By August, the answer to this question was manifest.

CIA Documents on Iran, Mossadegh, 1953 Coup

2 April 1953

Office of Current Intelligence


7. General Zahedi seeks Shah’s support to overthrow Mossadeq

Minister of Court Ala [Hossein Ala] told Ambassador Henderson [Loy W. Henderson] on 30 March that it is generally agreed that Mossadeq must be removed in the near future and that retired General Zahedi [Fazlollah Zahedi] is the only available replacement. Zahedi would be supported by Mullah Kashani [Ayatollah Seyed Abolghasem Kashani] and other conservative elements within the Majlis and the army.

Zahedi has visited Ala secretly and has indicated that he would accept the premiership only if the Shah supported him. Ala told Zahedi that the Shah would not act “unconstitutionally” or take part in a coup. The Minister of Court said, however, that he will try to persuade the Shah to make [a speech] to the Majlis, which meets on 5 April a statement condemning Mossadeq.

Comment: Recent reports have indicated that Zahedi and others are planning a military coup. Henderson’s report suggests that they may be willing to try to remove Mossadeq by parliamentary means rather than by armed action.

The Shah still remains the key factor. His inability to make up his mind to take even constitutional action against Mossadeq, however, will discourage Zahedi and his apparently sizeable following.

[Section #8, possibly pertaining to Iran, remains completely censored.]

Declassified by the Central Intelligence Agency on December 3, 2013.

[Annotations by Arash Norouzi]

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:

Ayatollah Kashani’s Threat to Mossadegh | CIA Reports, Sept. 1952

“Mossadeq likely to control things for some time” | CIA Memo, March 1953

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

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

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