Revisionists want to downplay U.S. role in 1953 Iran coup. Don’t listen,

Daniel Larison, former senior editor at The American Conservative magazine

U.S. involvement in the 1953 coup in Iran is not debatable, but there continues to be a fight over the extent of that involvement and how significant the U.S. and U.K. roles were.

According to a recent surge of revisionist accounts, the U.S. role was not that great, but hundreds of documents released by the U.S. government in 2017 have confirmed the standard view that the U.S. role was significant and indeed crucial to the toppling of the popular prime minister, Mohammed Mossadegh.

The eminent historian of Iran, Ervand Abrahamian, has written a new book reviewing the information disclosed in these declassified documents from the government. In that book, “Oil Crisis in Iran: From Nationalism to Coup d’Etat,” Abrahamian explains that the documents show much more extensive U.S. involvement in Iranian domestic politics in the years leading up to the coup than had previously been acknowledged. […]

The standard story about the reason why the U.S. backed the coup was that Washington feared losing Iran to communism, and this interpretation has leaned heavily on the Cold War justifications that the relevant policymakers themselves offered. As Abrahamian shows, however, the focus of both the U.S. and U.K. governments in the years leading up to the coup was on preventing oil nationalization and stopping Iran from creating a precedent that they feared would then be applied elsewhere in the world. Läs artikel