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270. Telegram From the Station in Iran to the Central Intelligence Agency1

TEHE 710. 1. MilSitRep 15–16 August 53.

A. As of night 13 Aug 52 [53] (as recd) CIA cut out of military preparation by Batmangeliche and Zahedi.

B. Farzanegan was told night 14 August he was not Deputy Chief Staff. Once Batmangeliche took over control of situation lost.

C. On 14 Aug 53 Zahedi (as recd) made decision to cut in Gen Daftari on final plan to act. This may have been fatal. Riahi was informed 1700 hours 15 Aug that Shah would act that night at 2400 hours.

D. Riahi used 7 hours warning to advantage. By 2300 hours his commanding officers Parsa, Momtaz, Ashrafi, Sharokh, and Novanry were all on spot and waiting arrival Zahedi emissaries.

E. Despite that fact Momtaz, Sharokh, Kiani were arrested when Col Nassiri went into action.

F. Belief that Mossadeq would not accept firman unless forcefully presented to him proved by events. Nassiri was correct in going directly to Prime Minister with firman for that is normal channel. But Nassiri walked into superior force and was arrested after notifying Mossadeq servant he had personal message for Mossadeq. Firman dismissing Mossadeq now probably in Mossadeq’s hands.

G. Meantime Batmangeliche refused to attempt Chief of Staff’s office when he saw tanks and troops waiting for him at door. Without his presence in Chief of Staff’s office command radio net could not be used.

H. Zahedi waited for 2 jeeps of troops to escort him to officers club but of course troops firmly under Riahi’s commanders. Zahedi look for escort then returned Farzanegan brothers house in Shimran at 0035 August.

I. Troops moving down at 0120 hours from Shimran to Teheran sounded to Zahedi like Nassiri’s. Troops sent to arrest the alerted Riahi. This sounded like plan being attempted despite now overwhelming odds.

J. At that time Zahedi sent Navabi to reconnoitre. Navabi returned 0210 hours. Police and troops stopping all vehicles. Mossadeq’s house protected from 1130 hours by infantry and tanks.

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K. At 0230 hours Gen General Guilanshah took Batmangelich on tour of city. At 0309 hours Guilanshah reported to Zahedi that Nassiri had been arrested at 1150 and obviously someone was a traitor.

L. Consensus was that Daftari had given game away.

M. Debate followed. Should Zahedi hide, run, or come out in open. Decided to hide and send Farzanegan to ask CIA advice.

N. At 0410 hours Station officer reconnoitered city. Mossadeq house surrounded for blocks. Ministry of War protected by sleeping soldiers. 2 tanks being brought up to reinforce Mossadeq’s house. All police boxes reinforced. City quiet. No fighting.

O. Advice to Zahedi to make firman known and to declare openly his legal rights reported elsewhere.

P. Riahi called meeting all high ranking officers 0900 hours and laid down law. Gen McClure estimates that had Zahedi then walked in with firman he would have won.

End of message.

  1. Source: Central Intelligence Agency. Secret. Transcribed specifically for the Foreign Relations series from microfilm in the Central Intelligence Agency that no longer exists. See “Sources” chapter.