Barack admits US role in 1953 Iran coup
“In the middle of the Cold War, the United States played a role in the overthrow of a democratically elected Iranian government,” Obama said during his keynote speech to the Muslim world from Cairo University in the Egyptian capital.
It is the first time a sitting US president has publicly admitted American involvement in the coup.
The CIA, with British backing, masterminded the coup after Mossadegh nationalized the oil industry, run until then by the British-owned Anglo-Iranian Oil Company. The oil company had been for many decades the largest single financial asset of the British government.
For many Iranians, the coup demonstrated duplicity by the United States, which presented itself as a defender of freedom but did not hesitate to use underhand methods to get rid of a democratically elected government to suit its own economic and strategic interests (something the British were to note bitterly after Anglo-Iran”s operations were taken over by by an American consortium in the immediate post-coup years).
The 1953 Tehran skullduggery was the first time the CIA was directly involved in this type of action and its success fed into a long string of such involvements around the world, the democratically-elected government of president Jacobo Arbenz Guzman in Guatemala being the next victim in 1954.
That same year, the Muslim Brotherhood was banned and decapitated in Egypt, with the Nasser regime being assisted by the guiding hand of Kerrmit “Kim” Roosevelt, the same CIA operative who ran “Operation Ajax”, the code-name of the 1953 Iran coup.
The meat of Obama”s words on Iran-US ties frankly noted, “For many years, Iran has defined itself in part by its opposition to my country, and there is in fact a tumultuous history between us.
“Since the Islamic Revolution, Iran has played a role in acts of hostage-taking and violence against US troops and civilians. This history is well known.”
“Rather than remain trapped in the past, I”ve made it clear to Iran”s leaders and people that my country is prepared to move forward. The question now is not what Iran is against, but rather what future it wants to build.”
Shortly after Obama”s inauguration on January 20, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad demanded apologies for “crimes” he said the United States had committed against Iran, starting with the 1953 coup.
On Thursday, ahead of Obama”s speech, Leader of the Islamic Revolution, Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei had said, “Nations in the region hate the United States from the bottom of their hearts because they have seen violence, military intervention and discrimination (from that country).”