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168. Monthly Report Prepared in the Directorate of Plans, Central Intelligence Agency1

IRAN

February 1953

A. General Developments

1. The operational implications of the struggle for power between Mossadeq and his political opponents are not as yet entirely clear. On the one hand, the communist Tudeh Party is rallying to Mossadeq’s support while on the other, the major force behind the Shah appears to [Page 468]be the dangerous and irresponsible Mullah Kashani.2 Until the situation is clarified, the Iran Branch is devoting its main efforts to preparations for the most adverse development, namely a Tudeh attempt to seize the government if the present situation deteriorates toward anarchy. The results of the talks with the British (see paragraph 2 below) will have an important bearing on the direction of these efforts.

2. In preparation for a possible Tudeh coup in Iran: (a) the interdepartmental committee (State–Defense–CIA) has completed the draft of its first progress report which, upon obtaining interagency concurrence, will be submitted to the NSC; (b) service level talks with representatives of the British Intelligence Service were held 24–28 February in Cyprus to discuss possible joint action in the event of an emergency in Iran;3 (c) a POS specialist inspected [less than 1 line not declassified] military equipment [less than 1 line not declassified] and found a number of deficiencies mostly in connection with the ammunition supply, and steps are being taken to correct these deficiencies as rapidly as possible; and (d) statistics have been worked up relating to supplying tribal resistance forces with non-military essentials such as shoes, flour and sugar with a view to arranging for their delivery when needed.

[Omitted here is operational detail.]

  1. Source: Central Intelligence Agency, DDO–IMS Files, Job 81–01061R, Box 1, Folder 2, Monthly Report—February 1953—Country Summaries and Analyses. Top Secret.
  2. In its report for January 1953, signed by John H. Leavitt, the Iran Branch reported that “the most significant January development affecting operations in Iran was Mossadeq’s successful showdown with Kashani, who for some time had been challenging the Prime Minister’s authority in the National Front. Kashani, as Speaker of the Majlis, tried to keep from coming to a vote Mossadeq’s request for a year’s extension of his special powers. Public clamor and the militancy of the Prime Minister’s Majlis adherents forced Kashani to back down on the pretext he had been ‘misunderstood’. As a result, Mossadeq’s request was overwhelmingly approved, and Kashani’s prestige received a set-back. NEA–4 has for some time been trying to undermine Kashani because of his frenetic anti-westernism and the suspicion that he might ally himself with the Tudeh (communist) Party in a bid for power.” (Ibid., Folder 1, Monthly Report—January 1953)
  3. See Document 158.