236. Memorandum From the Chief of the Near East and Africa Division, Directorate of Plans, Central Intelligence Agency (Roosevelt) to Mitchell1

1. In response to [cryptonym not declassified] query regarding our ability to neutralize Qashqai support of Mossadeq, we have on this date received the following assessment from Tehran. This assessment was arrived at after conversations with Qashqai leaders. Although the Qashqai position as described below may be subject to change in the future it is believed to be accurate at this time.

A. The Qashqai principal political assets at this time are represented by:

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(1) The confidence that their past support has inspired in Mossadeq.

(2) Their influence over General Mahmud Amini.

(3) Their “control” of key military figures in Fars and Khuzistan.

(4) Their influence in the National Movement fraction.

B. Qashqai current intentions:

(1) The Qashqai principal Khans including Nasser Khan intend to continue to back Mossadeq against all opposition. At this time even strong U.S. pressure on the Qashqai Khans would not cause latter to alter this position.

(2) The Qashqai Khans who are working closely with General Mahmud Amini intend to use their proximity to Mossadeq to build their own political fences in preparation for an eventual but not imminent bid for power.

(3) The Qashqai Khans do not take seriously Zahedi’s opposition and feel that latter has little or no chance of winning out in a test of strength with Mossadeq.

C. Qashqai estimate of Mossadeq’s strength:

(1) Mossadeq is the only strong political figure in Iran.

(2) Mossadeq has the confidence of all people except a few disgruntled aristocrats.

(3) Mossadeq cannot be ousted at this time.

2. Conclusion:

In our opinion the Qashqai Khans find it expedient to support Mossadeq and cannot be expected to withdraw this support until Mossadeq’s position becomes materially weaker and some other political figure emerges to pose a strong threat to Mossadeq’s position; or until the Qashqais themselves feel strong enough to make a bid for power.

  1. Source: Central Intelligence Agency, DDO Files, Job 80–01701R, Box 3, Folder 12, Misc. Correspondence—TPAJAX. Secret. The recipient is referred to as “Mr. Mitchell” in the original and is not further identified.