The Battle for Iran – CIA History

The CIA routinely prepares histories of important operations for use by future operatives.

Let’s take a quick look at the CIA’s The Battle for Iran, author’s name excised, undated (c. mid-1970s)

Though no date is given, judging from citations in the footnotes The Battle for Iran was written in or after 1974. It is marked “Administrative – Working Paper” and contains a number of handwritten edits. The vast majority of the covert action portion (Section III) remains classified, although the most recent declassification of the document leaves in some brief, but important, passages.

Section III. Covert Action

A. The Genesis of TPAJAX

The many chroniclers of Central Intelligence Agency misdeeds, whether in their books, magazines articles, or newspaper columns, have long placed the August 1953 coup that overthrew Premier Mosadeq near the top of their list of infamous Agency acts. Complete secrecy about the operation that was known under the cryptonym of TPAJAX has been impossible to enforce under existing laws, and enough talkative people, including many Iranians, were privy to segments of the operation to make it relatively easy for journalists to reconstruct the coup in varied but generally inaccurate accounts. The point that the majority of these accounts miss is a key one: the military coup that overthrew Mosadeq and his National Front cabinet was carried out under CIA direction as an act of U.S. foreign policy, conceived and approved at the highest levels of government. It was not an aggressively simplistic solution, clandestinely arrived at, but was instead an official admission [ BLANK ] that normal, rational methods of international communication and commerce had failed. TPAJAX was entered into as a last resort.

The rest of section 3 has not been declassified and remains secret.

Thanks for reading,


Read The Battle for Iran (PDF)

National Security Archive: CIA Confirms Role in 1953 Iran Coup

Coup 53 The Movie

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