“Fifty years ago this week [on August 19, 1953], the CIA and the British SIS [Secret Intelligence Service] orchestrated a coup d’etat [in Iran] that toppled the democratically elected government of Mohammad Mossadegh. The prime minister and his nationalist supporters in parliament roused Britain’s ire when they nationalised the oil industry in 1951, which had previously been exclusively controlled by the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company. Mossadegh argued that Iran should begin profiting from its vast oil reserves. Britain accused him of violating the company’s legal rights and orchestrated a worldwide boycott of Iran’s oil that plunged the country into financial crisis. The British government tried to enlist the Americans in planning a coup, an idea originally rebuffed by President Truman. But when Dwight Eisenhower took over the White House, cold war ideologues–determined to prevent the possibility of a Soviet takeover–ordered the CIA to embark on its first covert operation against a foreign government. …the CIA–with British assistance–undermined Mossadegh’s government by bribing influential figures, planting false reports in newspapers and provoking street violence. Led by an agent named Kermit Roosevelt, the grandson of President Theodore Roosevelt, the CIA leaned on a young, insecure Shah to issue a decree dismissing Mossadegh as prime minister. By the end of Operation Ajax, some 300 people had died in firefights in the streets of Tehran.

 – Dan De Luce, “The Spectre of Operation Ajax,” The Guardian, Aug. 20, 2003