191. Information Report Prepared in the Central Intelligence Agency1



  • Opposition Test of Strength with Mossadeq


  • [2 lines not declassified]

1. The Iranian political crisis has been reopened with Prime Minister Mossadeq taking the initiative in a planned surprise attack in which the Government plans to use all of its assets to try to crush the opposition and to force Majlis acceptance of the report of the “Committee of Eight”2 on 16 April 1953. Mass demonstrations, Government-and Tudeh-sponsored, are to be staged that day in the Majlis Square.

2. On 15 April a Court representative attempted to enlist Mullah Kashani’s support of the following plan (to which the Shah “appeared favorably disposed”) to oust Prime Minister Mossadeq and replace him by General Fazullah Zahedi:

a. Kashani would address a letter to the Shah stating that, in view of the lawless condition in Tehran and threats to the Majlis deputies, the Majlis no longer could function.

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b. On the same day the above-mentioned Court representative would prevail upon the Shah to issue a firman and proclamations quoting Kashani’s letter, relieving Mossadeq, and appointing General Zahedi as “Director of Public Security” to maintain order so that the Majlis could designate an able and capable new prime minister in an atmosphere free from violence.

c. In the event that the firman dismissing Mossadeq could not be obtained from the Shah, the opposition would refrain from participation in street conflicts, but opposition deputies would walk out of the Majlis in order to prevent the formation of a quorum.

3. Kashani preferred a variation of the above plan, by which he, Kashani, would draft a letter to be signed by Majlis members as well as by himself. Kashani claimed that he could obtain signatures of “possibly forty deputies” before the Government could demand a parliamentary showdown of the “Committee of Eight.”

4. Royal Court officials are deeply concerned over the demonstrations scheduled for 16 April and anticipate bloodshed.

5. The following information increases Court fears of possible serious repercussions in the wake of Government-planned demonstrations on 16 April:

a. Bands of “hoodlums” have been directed by Government supporters to attack the Palace, Majlis buildings, and American installations, but the security forces have not been ordered to stop them.

b. The Army guard (including tanks) has been reinforced around Mossadeq’s house and Radio Tehran.

c. The Government is giving a holiday to all workers on 16 April and the Bazaar is to close on the same day (thus freeing thousands to gather in the streets).

d. All schools have been ordered to be closed on 16 April.

  1. Source: Central Intelligence Agency, DDI Files, Job 80–00810A, Box 10, Folder 4, CS Information Reports 7700–7709. Secret; Security Information; Control—U.S. Officials Only.
  2. Washington Comment. The “Committee of Eight” was formed on 5 March 1953 to define the powers of the Shah. [Footnote is in the original.]