NSA: New Findings on Clerical Involvement in the 1953 Coup in Iran

8 March 2018 — National Security Archive

“Large Sums of Money” from U.S. Embassy Sent to “Influential People” in Tehran Prior to August 19, Declassified British Memo Alleges

Latest Declassification of Internal CIA History “The Battle for Iran” Adds More Detail to the Public Record

National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 619

View the posting

Washington, D.C., March 7, 2018Senior Iranian clerics reportedly received “large sums of money” from U.S. officials prior to the August 1953 coup against Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddeq, according to a contemporaneous British document located by researchers at the U.S. National Archives.  It is posted in full today for the first time by the nongovernmental National Security Archive, based at The George Washington University.

Also featured in today’s posting is a version of The Battle for Iran, one of three internal CIA histories produced about the coup.  Like the British memo, the document has been released before but with heavy excisions.  The CIA reviewed Battle again and declassified substantial portions of it in response to a Mandatory Declassification Review request by the National Security Archive.

The role of clerics is one of the remaining unanswered questions surrounding Mosaddeq’s ouster.  More specifically, it is uncertain whether religious figures obtained funds from the West – and if so whether they knew the source of those funds.  The records published today provide further information on that and other topics, which will continue to be matters of intensive debate. 

Check out today‘s posting at the National Security Archive


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THE NATIONAL SECURITY ARCHIVE is an independent non-governmental research institute and library located at The George Washington University in Washington, D.C. The Archive collects and publishes declassified documents acquired through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). A tax-exempt public charity, the Archive receives no U.S. government funding; its budget is supported by publication royalties and donations from foundations and individuals.


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