A British spy whose identity remains obscure, has provided clarification on Britain’s role in a pivotal moment in Iran`s history.
For the first time since the 1953 coup that overthrew the elected prime minister of Iran and restored the shah to power, a first-hand report has been released. The MI6 officer`s account explained how it took years for British Intelligence to win the US over to take part in the coup.
During this time, members of Iran`s parliament were also bribed by MI6 recruited agents with banknotes concealed in biscuit tins. MI6 worked in collaboration with CIA to recruit Shah Reza Pahlavi`s sister with the intention of persuading the reluctant monarch to support the coup to overthrow Mohammed Mossadegh.
The head of the MI6 `s Persia station in Cyprus at the time of the coup, Norman Darbyshire, said: “The plan would have involved seizure of key points in the city by what units we thought were loyal to the shah … seizure of the radio station etc … the classical plan.”
Darbshire said the major reason MI6 was making all efforts to overthrow Mossadegh was because Britain`s spies presumed his government, although it had only one communist Tudeh party member, would still be overwhelmed by Soviet influence in the end.
“I really do believe it because Mossadegh was a fairly weak character,” the British intelligence officer said. “[O]nce you get highly trained members of the communist party in, it doesn’t take long. We didn’t share the American view that he was acting as a bulwark against communism … we thought he would be pushed by the communists in the long run.”
The coup became successful on the 29th of August in 1953, when Mossadegh was put on trial and kept under house arrest until he died 14 years later.