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193. Information Report Prepared in the Central Intelligence Agency1

CS DB–3966

SUBJECT

  • 1. Attitude of Shah toward General Zahedi’s Plans for Ousting Mossadeq
  • 2. Attitude of Shah and Opposition Leaders toward Present Crisis

SOURCE

  • [4 lines not declassified]

1. As of 10 April the Shah’s attitude toward General Fazullah Zahedi’s plans for ousting Mossadeq was reported to be as follows:

a. The Shah is sympathetic to Zahedi’s candidacy but he prefers a “parliamentary” solution to the present crisis rather than forceful action to remove Mossadeq.

b. The Shah does not want to appoint Zahedi by firman at this time and thus incur personal responsibility for the overthrow of Mossadeq. The reason for this attitude of the Shah is his lingering fear of the British who he believes do not want to see Mossadeq out of power just now. The Shah is convinced that the British have two policies in Iran:

(1) An official policy which follows to a certain extent the American line;

(2) A secret policy, the real one, which currently calls for the support of Mossadeq. The Shah is influenced in this latter supposition by the fact that certain personalities, such as Deputies Abdullah Moazami, Jayad Ganjei, and Haji Agha Reza Rafi who in the past have been considered as spokesmen for British interests, are now approaching him and urging that he accept the recommendations contained in the report of the Majlis “Committee of Eight” which, if accepted, would drastically curtail the powers of the Shah.2, 3

c. The Shah fears that a Zahedi “experiment” might bring about a repetition of the Qavam fiasco.

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d. The Shah is inclined to postpone a change of government until such time as Mossadeq’s popularity will have further ebbed. The Shah feels that there is a strong undercurrent sapping away Mossadeq’s power and that this should be allowed to take its course.

2. As of 11 April:

a. the Shah would definitely not fight against the Mossadeq Government to protect his prerogatives but would continue his completely passive position and let events take their course;

b. the political opposition to Mossadeq had dropped, at least temporarily, all plans to overthrow the Prime Minister. However, the opposition was still working secretly to stir up public opinion against the recommendations contained in the report of the “Majlis Committee of Eight.” The opposition asked its friends and supporters not to attempt or encourage street demonstrations against Mossadeq or in favor of the Shah. Furthermore, the opposition urged Zahedi not to run the risk at this time of further compromising his political future by attempting a test of strength with Mossadeq. The opposition decided to conserve its assets by making a strategic withdrawal;

c. Mossadeq was beginning to doubt his ability to command a Majlis majority in support of the report of the “Committee of Eight” or even for a vote of confidence. Mossadeq, therefore, was reluctant to force a decision on the report in the Majlis although he was still hopeful that he could persuade the Shah to endorse the “report” without Majlis action. The Prime Minister was, in fact, making conciliatory gestures toward the opposition, and, in particular, toward the Shah.

3. On 11 April, Mullah Borujerdi, Kashani, and Behbehani, leading clerical figures from the spiritual and/or political point of view, were reaching mutual understanding on the need to bolster the Shah in his resistance to Mossadeq.

4. On 12 April:

a. Majlis opposition leader Seyyed Abul Haerizadeh indicated to Zahedi and other colleagues in the group opposing Mossadeq that this was not the time to attempt to force Mossadeq’s resignation;

c. Moscow’s recent overtures of conciliation toward the West also were having their effect on the opposition by lessening the fear of the Tudeh Party.

  1. Source: Central Intelligence Agency, DDI Files, Job 80S01540R, Box 10, Folder 100, CSDB Intell Reports TS–88046 3966. Top Secret; Security Information; Control—U.S. Officials Only.
  2. Source Comment: Mossadeq is fully cognizant of the Shah’s character and superstitiousness and he intentionally selects such men as Moazami to advise and influence the Shah. [Footnote is in the original.]
  3. Washington Comment: According to an Iranian Home Service dispatch, dated 12 March, this Committee, which was constituted on 5 March 1953 to define and clarify the relationship between the Shah’s powers and the Government, is composed of the following: Hoseyn Makki, Javad Ganjei, Haerizadeh, Braham Majzadeh, Abdullah Moazami, Mozzafar Baghai, Reza Rafi, Kavim Sanjabi. [Footnote is in the original.]