It was on 4 April in 1953 that CIA Director Allen Dulles authorized $1 million to be used “in any way that would bring about the fall of Mossedegh”. This was in reference to Mohammad Mossedegh, Prime Minister f Iran.
Upon taking office, Mossedegh sought to enforce the Oil Nationalization Bill that would terminate the British ownership and influence on the Iran’s oil industry. The British immediate reaction was a lawsuit against Iran in the Hague International Court. The Hague Court voted in favor of Iran. The Anglo-Iranian Oil Company was dissolved and the 1933 oil agreement between the Government of Iran and the British was cancelled.
Winston Churchill made a personal appeal to President Eisenhower to involve the CIA in a plot by British Military Intelligence to remove Mossedegh, convincing the President that the Prime Minister was coming under the Soviet sphere of influence. ‘Operation Ajax’ was authorized and a violent coup that resulted in the downfall and arrest of Mossedegh was executed in August of 1953.
Documents related to the coup have since been declassified and the actions of the United States criticized by political figures on both the Left and the Right as having damaged the reputation of the United States among the peoples of the Middle East.