US Sponsored Regime Change in Iran Mossadegh and Ahmadinejad: Iran Faces Almost the Same Dilemma as in 1953

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There is
a stark similarity between some aspects of the political atmosphere
dominant over Iran today and those under Prime Minister Mohammad
Mossadegh right before the U.S.-led coup of 1953 that resulted in
the overthrow of the legitimate government of Iran and the establishment
of a U.S.-puppet government of the Shah.
In the period between 1951–53, the U.S. in a close collaboration
with the British colonial power through their channels within Iran’s
military and political apparatus, particularly the Shah’s court,
was able to contrive division within the ruling circle and as a
result the society at large.

The U.S.-U.K.
sanctions of Iran’s oil export at the time pursued a multitude of
purposes: political instability, economic hardship, and international
isolation. In the final year of Mossadegh’s rule, the government
was unable to pay the salaries of the civil servants in full, which
had resulted in resentment towards the Prime Minister’s policy of
oil nationalism and his capability to rule. Secondly, Iran could
not import consumer and industrial goods necessary for maintaining
the normal course of economic and social reproduction. Thirdly,
a layer of the ruling class whose interests were the extension of
the U.S.-U.K. domination over Iran’s natural resources and political
system, made every effort to turn the wheels back or make the political
system unmanageable. As a result, during the first eight months
of 1953, Iran was in constant political turmoil and the ground was
being prepared for a coup d’tat by the forces hostile to Iran’s
nationalization plan, as well as to its independent direction in
its domestic and foreign policies.

The U.S.-U.K.
intelligence services under the covers of their diplomatic corps
took advantage of the chaotic atmosphere, artfully promoted by the
landed aristocracy and their spokesmen in the national congress
and Mossadegh’s administration. Iranian society in the early 50′s
was basically agrarian and hence a great majority, up to 65 percent
were engaged in farming and played a miniscule role in shaping national
policies. In a few large cities of Tehran, Isfahan, Tabriz, Kerman,
Abadan and Shiraz, the politically active population was led by
several political and ideological groupings. Among them the Tudeh
Party that had organized a fraction of the workers, women and the
intelligentsia under the banner of socialist ideals was a modern
party merely in its infancy. The organizers of the Tudeh Party were
Iranian intellectuals who were educated mainly in Western Europe,
where the communist parties were strong during and after WWII, and
the Soviet Union’s army had effectively defeated the Nazi forces
in Russia and Eastern Europe.

This party
lacked experience and suffered from lack of deep understanding of
the character of Iran’s social-economic development, the corresponding
class forces and the necessary strategy for transition from a semi-feudal
and a semi-colonial society to an independent and democratic social
order. Although from the viewpoint of social justice, the Tudeh
Party put the working class demands forward and achieved some successes,
but in respect to the vital question of nationalization of the Iranian
oil industry and the essentiality of forming a united front of working
class and the national bourgeoisie which Mossadegh was the representative,
the Tudeh did not seize the opportunity of uniting in time to prevent
the success of the U.S. coup of 1953.

Ironically,
this could be a useful lesson to be learned by all those Iranian
groups today that wear the mantle of modernism and progress; however,
in the recent unrest they joined the crowd whose aim was to overthrow
the legitimate and democratically-elected government of President
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Such association between pro-working class
groups and counter-revolutionaries within the "Green Movement"
makes some charges by the conservative elements against the "Marxists"
and "Socialists" seem credible.

Tremors
From Within

The second
political grouping that associated itself with Dr. Mossadegh and
his foreign policy was an amorphous amalgamation of individuals,
tendencies and parties in a broad forum of what was known as the
"National Front" of Iran. This conglomeration of loose
political groupings represented mainly the interests of the merchant
class that viewed the socialist movement and the Soviet Union as
a "communist" neighbor with apprehension. In the camp
of Mossadegh, in addition to the middle merchants, retailers, artisans,
younger intellectuals and students who supported nationalization
of Iran’s oil industry and hence Mossadegh’s premiership against
the Shah’s despotism, there were big landlords, rentier strata,
speculators, big businessmen, particularly in the import-export
sector, and the families of the aristocracy and high echelons of
clerics who hand-in-glove conspired to undermine the nationalization
of oil movement.

The political
organizations that made up the National Front headed by Dr. Mossadegh
were: Iran party, Pan-Iranist Party of Nation of Iran, Islamic Mojahedin
Party, and Toiling Masses Party of Iran. The leaders of some of
the organizations served as representatives in the Iranian Parliament
and spokesmen of Mossadegh’s Cabinet. In this group, representatives
Shams Ghanatabadi, Abdol-ghadir Azad, Mozafar Baghaee, Hassan Imami,
the leader of the House, actively opposed Dr. Mossadegh’s plan for
nationalization and hand-in-glove collaborated with the agents of
foreign powers in undermining the national security and government
stability from within the system. Before the final attack against
the government of Dr. Mossadegh, on August 19, 1953, the U.S.-U.K.
axis with the support of the domestic military and civil agents
of foreign powers carried out several "mini-coups" that
were neutralized by the great support of the Iranian people.

Patriotic
Forces on Guard

Today, 57 years
later, Iran faces almost the same dilemma in which the imperialist
forces are planning to undermine Iran’s political and economic system,
using the UN sanctions, while the well-to-do classes frightened
by President Ahmadinejad’s pro-working class and national independence
policies, are engaged in activities aimed at fostering insecurity
domestically and weakening Iran’s position internationally. The
unceremonious role of this segment of the population led partly
by the "reformists", is in fact preparing the ground to
enhance U.S. influence in Iran, strengthen its supremacy in the
Middle East region and change the balance of forces in Central and
East Asia. The leadership of this "movement" attempted
to use the tenth presidential election as a stepping-stone to seize
state power by slandering the result of the election, in which President
Ahmadinejad with 63% of the votes defeated the reformist candidate
Mir-Hossein Mousavi.

But here is
where similarities between Mossadegh’s period and today’s situation
under Ahmadinejad ends and important differences begin. In sharp
contrast to the liberal government of Dr. Mossadegh, President Ahmadinejad’s
government is an outcome of a revolution. Secondly, Iran is much
more developed in comparison and the U.S. in the last 30 years has
not been able to bring down Iran’s social-economic system and lastly,
but not the least important, the Islamic Republic’s security forces
are the result of the revolution and are trained, equipped and ideologically
armed by the world outlook of the Islamic leaders, while the Shah’s
military forces were trained by the colonial and imperialist powers
and were at the service of the monarchy allied with foreign interests.
Finally, the economic sanctions of the West have been to some extent
derailed by China and Russia that have lost their potency in undermining
the Iranian economy.

This appeared
on Global Research.

February
5, 2010

Ardeshir
Ommani is an Iranian-born writer and an activist in the U.S. anti-war
and anti-imperialist struggle for over 40 years, including against
the Vietnam War, and now the Iraq war. During the past seven years,
he has participated in the U.S. peace movement, working to promote
dialogue and peace among nations and to prevent a U.S.-spurred war
on Iran. He holds two Masters Degrees: one in Political Economy
and another in Mathematics Education. Co-founder of the American
Iranian Friendship Committee, (AIFC), he writes articles of analysis
on Iran-U.S. relations, the U.S. economy and has translated articles
and books from English into Farsi, the Persian language.

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