The Acts of the Democracies
Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, the Shah (king) of Iran takes power in a coup planned and supported by the USA and UK secret services (Operation Ajax). He topples the flourishing and popular democracy of Mohammed Mossadeq.
Mossadeq had stated that the mineral wealth of the country should benefit its citizens. This did not please the Western oil companies. The parliament had nationalised UK oil concessions that were reaping 88% of the profits from the country's oil industry. Iran had offered the UK 25% of the profits. The UK responded by imposing a blockade on Iran and freezing Iranian assets.
After the coup, oil concessions are given to USA and UK companies - Anglo-Iranian Oil is renamed British Petroleum.
Internal dissent is crushed by the secret police. This brutal regime terrorises the country for 25 years and is eventually displaced by Ayatollah Khomeini's equally brutal regime in 1979.
The new regime is described by the USA newspaper, the New York Times (6 August) as "good news indeed" and sends out a chilling warning:
"Underdeveloped countries with rich resources now have an object lesson in the heavy cost that must be paid by one of their number which goes berserk with fanatical nationalism. It is perhaps too much to hope that Iran's experience will prevent the rise of Mossadeqs in other countries, but that experience may at least strengthen the hands of more reasonable and more far-seeing leaders."
In the above quote, fanatical nationalism means being independent economically of the USA while reasonable and far-seeing mean compliant.
The American CIA first uses the term Blowback. It is a metaphor for the unintended consequences of the USA government's international activities that have been kept secret from the American people. The term is coined during the Iranian coup. In Iran, a flourishing democracy is converted to a brutal dictatorship which becomes and anti-West theocracy (rule by religion).
The USA had laid the ground for the coup by paying for stories against Mohammed Mossadeq to be placed in friendly newspapers. According to Richard Cottam, one of the CIA operatives: "Any article I would write - it gave you something of a sense of power - would appear about instantly. They were designed to show Mossadegh as a Communist collaborator and a fanatic." He estimates that 80% of the leading newspapers in the capital, Tehran, were under CIA influence.