Recently Declassified Documents Reveal Oil Contracts Were a Key Part of 1953 Iran Coup

The U.S. backed the 1953 military coup that overthrew the democratically elected government of Iran, and in its place installed a brutal dictatorial regime that ruled Iran until the 1979 Iranian revolution. Newly declassified documents reveal what has often been the basic foreign policy principle of the U.S. — control a country economically and politically, then make sure there are cheap natural resources and labor for U.S. big business to exploit for profits.

Newly declassified State Department documents show oil contracts played a key role in the U.S.-backed 1953 coup in Iran that led to the overthrow of the democratically elected Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh. “What the documents show is actually the importance of oil in the coup,” says Professor Ervand Abrahamian. “The conventional wisdom is, oh, it was all the Cold War scare, communism. But here you see, actually, very occasionally, when Eisenhower intervenes in a discussion, it’s about question of oil contracts and so on and how nationalization would disrupt the whole international framework and would be a threat to U.S. interests, oil interests, elsewhere.”