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188. Information Report Prepared in the Central Intelligence Agency1

RSEN–76

SUBJECT

  • 1. Further Details Concerning General Zahedi’s Plans for Supplanting Mossadeq
  • 2. Counter Measures by Mossadeq Government

REFERENCES

  • CS–6360, CS–6434, CS–6672, CS–69612

SOURCE

  • [1 paragraph (6 lines) not declassified]

1. On 5 April 1953 Ardeshir Zahedi, son of General Fazullah Zahedi, told [less than 1 line not declassified] the following:

a. The forces in opposition to Prime Minister Mossadeq are “marking time” until they are able to assess the reaction of the Shah and the public to Mossadeq’s policy speech to be broadcast at 1430 hours (Tehran time) on 6 April.3

b. Although the Shah returned to Tehran on the evening of 5 April, General Zahedi decided not to contact the Shah until the latter had heard Mossadeq’s address.4

c. In the interim, the Minister of Court, Hoseyn Ala, has been charged by the Zahedi group with the task of prevailing on the Shah to support General Zahedi.

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d. General Zahedi will “delay” his planned effort to unseat Mossadeq if the Shah refuses to support the opposition. However, the Zahedi forces plan to stage a demonstration when and if enough deputies return to Tehran to permit a meeting of the Majlis.

e. If the Shah, after hearing Mossadeq’s radio address, “takes a firm stand” against Mossadeq, the Zahedi group is “ready to take over the Government.”

f. The Retired Army Officers’ Association, which is part of the group supporting Zahedi, has set up emergency communications to assure “immediate” contact in the event of a “call to action.”

g. The Government is maintaining continuous surveillance of the following:

(1) The Royal Palaces and the homes of the Shah’s relatives and advisers.

(2) The homes of retired Generals Zahedi, Taqizadeh, and Gilanshah.

(3) The homes of all the Bakhtiari khans.

2. The Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed forces, General Taghi Riahi, has appointed his cousin, General Esmail Riahi, as Commander-in-Chief of Kurdistan, Luristan, and Kermanshah, with headquarters at Kermanshah. The purpose of this move is to halt the pro-Shah, anti-Mossadeq conspiracies in northern and western Iran.5

3. Prime Minister Mossadeq has instructed General Mahmud Afshartus,6 Chief of the Iranian National Police, to visit Azerbaijan and investigate personally reports of a “strong anti-Mossadeq movement” there.

  1. Source: Central Intelligence Agency, DDI Files, Job 80–00810A, Box 9, Folder 65, CS Information Reports 6960–6969. Secret; Security Information; Control—U.S. Officials Only.
  2. For CS–6360, see Document 182. CS–6434, April 1, reported that “General Fazollah Zahedi continues to be active in his efforts to organize a coup d’état against the Mossadeq Government.” (Central Intelligence Agency, DDI Files, Job 80–00810A, Box 9, Folder 12, CS Information Reports 6430–6439) In CS–6672, April 6, the CIA reported that Mosadeq had said he was in direct contact with the Tudeh “and that a ‘sizable portion’ of Iranian Government intelligence concerning possible military coups comes from the Tudeh. The Party promised Mossadeq that, if a coup were successful, the Tudeh would kill the coup leaders within a matter of days.” (Ibid., Folder 36, CS Intelligence Reports 6670–6679) CS–6961, April 8, reported that the Ayatollah Borujerdi had “written to all the mullahs in the Majlis requesting that they organize their own political faction.” (Ibid., Folder 65, CS Information Reports 6960–6969)
  3. The text of Mosadeq’s radio address on April 6 was transmitted to the Department on April 8 in despatch 819 from Tehran. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1950–1954, 788.13/4–853)
  4. Field Comment. A report from the same source, dated 2 April 1952 [1953], stated that General Zahedi intended to visit the Shah in order to request that Mossadeq be dismissed as Prime Minister and he (Zahedi) appointed in his place. [Footnote is in the original.]
  5. See Paragraph 3, CS-6961. [Footnote is in the original. Paragraph 3 of CS–6961, April 8, reads: “Milani and Angaji told Borujerdi that the people of Azerbaijan were ‘demanding’ that they (Milani and Angaji) abandon the National Front and Prime Minister Mossadeq because of the latter’s attitude toward the Shah.”]
  6. Washington Comment. A report from a fairly reliable source [1 line not declassified] date of information 17–25 March 1953, stated that General Afshartus probably would participate in a coup d’état against Mossadeq. See Paragraph 5, CS–6360. [Footnote is in the original.]