Segments in this Video

Mohammad Mosaddegh (01:56)


In 1951, Iranian Prime Minister Mosaddegh nationalized Iranian oil to end Great Britain's power over the country. It became a model for other nations in the Middle East. He had a lasting impact on the politics and culture of Iran.

Iranian Oil (02:07)

The British controlled most of Iran's oil industry when Mosaddegh became prime minister. BP was in the province of Khuzistan, which was run like a British colony. Officials in Mosaddegh's government began taking control of the oil fields.

British Response to Mosaddegh (03:46)

British officials were angered at Mosaddegh's nationalization of the oil and searched for ways to secure assets in the country. The British Navy blockaded oil tankers and the military was prepared to invade. British officials in Tehran began planning to overthrow Mosaddegh.

Incorruptible Iranian Politician (02:05)

Mosaddegh came from a wealthy family with connections to the royal family. He received a western law education in Switzerland and was a skilled leader; the British struggled to outsmart him.

Cold War: A New World Order (03:28)

In 1951, the Soviet Union ruled most countries in Eastern Europe and the Korean War had begun. Iran had been an ally of the West but was threatened by the Soviets. Mosaddegh attempted to stop the Communist party and Soviet influence in Iran.

United States of America: An Elusive Ally (05:00)

The U.S. made split profit deals with other oil producing nations; Iran tried the same with the British. America was aligning with third world nations to support independence. American diplomats went to Iran after the oil was nationalized but supported the British position.

King of Iran (02:26)

Mosaddegh had a strained relationship with Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the Shah of Iran. He thought the Shah should be a figure head and sought to limit the royal court's power. The Shah's supporters aligned themselves with the British against Mosaddegh.

Ayatollah of Iran (01:32)

Mosaddegh believed in the separation of religion and politics but worked with Ayatollah Kashani to rally the religiously conservative Iranian public. Kashani told the Iranians that it was their religious duty to support Mosaddegh.

Mosaddegh's Influence (02:57)

In July 1952, Mosaddegh realized the military was planning a coup. Many Iranian loyalists believed he was going to abolish the monarchy and make himself the president of a new republic. Mosaddegh resigned as prime minister after a dispute with the Shah but was reinstated following a people's revolt.

Their Own Worst Enemies (03:38)

The 21st of July Revolt, which reinstated Mosaddegh, was heavily influenced by Ayatollah Kashani. He and Mosaddegh had a falling out after a power struggle in the government. The Communist Party in Iran began to support Mosaddegh.

Expelling the British (02:39)

The British continued their plan to overthrow Mosaddegh and replace him with General Fazlollah Zahedi. Mosaddegh discovered the plot and cut all diplomatic ties with the British. The British convinced the new American presidential administration that Mosaddegh needed to be removed.

Overthrow Through Propaganda (02:48)

In 1953, the Americans increased their anti-Communist and anti-Mosaddegh campaign within Iran. The people were beginning to turn on Mosaddegh's government as the country grew poorer because of the oil boycott. He wrote to America for help, but his request was rejected.

TP Ajax: The CIA Coup (02:08)

The CIA wanted to replace Mosaddegh with Zahedi. Though the it disliked the Shah, they worked with him to stage the coup that was set for August 1953.

August 15, 1953: Preparation for the Coup (01:35)

As the CIA was tracking down the Shah, Mosaddegh learned about the coup. Mosaddegh had Iranians who were involved arrested and Zahedi went into hiding. The coup failed, but the Americans began planning their next moves.

August 16, 1953: Apparent Failure (02:16)

Iran learned about the failed coup the following morning. The Shah fled to Iraq and Communists took to the streets in Tehran.

August 17, 1953: The End of Monarchy? (02:02)

Mosaddegh's supporters rallied and called for the Shah to abdicate. Communists continued to crowd the streets and destroy symbols of the Shah. CIA operatives went against orders from Washington, D.C. and plotted another coup to put Zahedi in power.

August 18, 1953: Reorganizing (01:35)

The American ambassador pressured Mosaddegh to stop the protest and start arresting Communists; they were his strongest supporters since the failed coup.

August 19, 1953: The Second Coup Attempt (01:58)

By orders from the CIA, the Iranian military organized anti-Mosaddegh mobs to take over the streets of Tehran. The army and mobs attacked Mosaddegh's residence. Zahedi was declared prime minister.

The Uprising of the Shah (04:25)

The Shah returned to Iran and declared he and Zahedi organized the coup without foreign intervention. Thousands of Iranian Communists were imprisoned or killed following the coup. Islam became a political force in Iran and would eventually overthrow the government in 1979.

Credits: Iranian Odyssey (00:00)

Credits: Iranian Odyssey

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The West’s attitudes toward Iran can be traced back to 1951 when Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh tried to end British domination of Iran. Mossadegh nationalized Iranian oil which had been monopolized by a single British company, BP, for more than 40 years. Mossadegh fought against a virtual alliance of foreign and domestic enemies; a struggle which culminated in a coup d’état by the CIA in August 1953. More than 60 years later, it is impossible to understand Iran without understanding Mossadegh’s victories and failures. Through exclusive access to eye-witnesses and the characters of the story in Iran, Great Britain, and the United States as well as never before seen archival material, we tell the gripping story of the rise and fall of Mossadegh.

Length: 52 minutes

Item#: BVL166365

ISBN: 978-1-64481-372-0

Copyright date: ©2009

Closed Captioned

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