TUDEH FACTIONALISM AND THE 1953 COUP IN IRAN
The 19 August 1953 toppling of Muhammad Musaddiq's government in Iran was an important historical event from various perspectives, many of which are being discussed by Middle East observers to this date. First, it was the first covert post-World War II operation by the U.S. government, in cooperation with Britain, to topple the constitutional government of a sovereign nation. Operation AJAX, as the coup d'état came to be called by the CIA, was implemented at the height of the Cold War, and as such was accompanied by many familiar justifications. The most important of these were the improbability of any resolution to the oil-nationalization crisis between Iran and Britain as long as Musaddiq remained in power and the communist threat posed by the Tudeh Party of Iran and its Soviet sponsor.1 The long-term consequence of this intervention can partially explain the 1979 revolution in Iran and the ongoing crisis in Iran–U.S. relations.
c1 Maziar Behrooz is an Assistant Professor in the Department of History, Bridgewater State College, Bridgewater, Mass. 62325, USA; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.