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Operation AJAX


Operation Ajax was the Central Intelligence Agency's plot, organised to cause the downfall of a democratically elected government in Iran. This short paper explores the reason that plotted this operation.

Operation Ajax

A movement led by Mossadegh in 1951 aimed to end the British monopoly along with nationalizing Iran's oil industry. This movement experienced a critical role of Washington in tempering London's patriotic temptations, i.e. first to occupy Iranian provinces rich in oil, and second to organise a coup to bring down Mossadegh. Long before passing the nationalization laws in 1951, the United States begun to pressurise Britain in 1949 to identify the escalation of nationalism in Iran and across the world, and reassess the one-sided 1908 oil agreement, arriving at a more reasonable agreement. The British repudiated and charged the United States of harmful naivete. After appointing Mossadegh as the prime minster, so persistent was the behind-the-scenes US assistance for his requirements. In their sensitive internal communication, the British surmised that Mossadegh could possibly be in confrontation with the Washington. Ultimately while communicating through a letter with Truman, Churchill managed to make it clear that ongoing British support for the war attempt in Korea would be related to American support for Britain as well as against Mossadegh in Iran.

Operation Ajax was a secret operation organised by the United States CIA in working together with the Pahlavi Empire, to cause the downfall of the elected government of Iran and Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh and negotiate the power of Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi. The reason for this intrusion involved Mossadegh's socialist unsupported claims and his nationalization, without settlement, of the oil industry, which was formerly managed by the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company. Later on the Anglo-Iranian changed its name to The British Petroleum Company. Under agreements challenged by the nationalists as illegal, a specific point of argument was the rejection of the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company to permit a review of the records identifying whether or not the Iranian government obtained the royalties that were due. The stubbornness on the part of the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company directed the nationalist government to advance its demands, asking for an equivalent share in the oil revenues. The ultimate crisis was brought on when the Anglo-Iranian oil company quit its operations instead than recognising the nationalists' demands.

Whilst organising the operation, the CIA prepared a revolutionary force in a situation the communist Tudeh Party captured power consequently of the chaos designed by Operation Ajax. In accordance with formerly 'Top Secret' documents published by the National Security Archive, Undersecretary of State Walter Bedell Smith documented that the CIA had reached a contract with Qashqai tribal leaders in southern Iran to determine a clandestine safe haven from which U.S.-funded guerrillas and from where the intelligence agents could operate.


Operation Ajax was planted as an operation that interfered with Iran's domestic affair, resulting in many unfortunate circumstances that still haunt the US. One such prevailing situation is intrusion of the UK and US in oil-rich Arab countries even today.