291. Memorandum Prepared by the Chief of the Iran Branch, Near East and Africa Division, Directorate of Plans, Central Intelligence Agency (Waller)1

General Fazlollah Zahedi is in definite control of Tehran and has restored public order in the capital. No word has been received concerning continuing significant pro-Mossadeq activity in the provinces. From the outset the important Northwest Province of Azerbaijan, long considered a stronghold of pro-Shah sentiment, was behind the Shah and his newly designated Prime Minister Zahedi. The Military units stationed in Senandaj and Kermanshah contributed armed forces to General Zahedi’s successful attempt to assume the Premiership on August 19th.

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The Royalist, pro-Zahedi, movement of August 19th contained a large element of spontaneity and there seemed to have been a genuine reaction of shock and dismay on the part of the Tehran populace when the Shah left Iran for Iraq.

Prime Minister Zahedi and Chief of Staff designate, General Batmangalich, themselves manned tanks during the early stages of the events on August 19th in an effort to rally the people and army to the Shah’s cause.

The Shah intends to leave Rome shortly and proceed to Tehran. Depending upon events, and instructions from the Zahedi government, the Shah may stop off in Baghdad enroute to Tehran so that a more appropriate and impressive entrance can be arranged.

The opportunistic but at least outwardly loyal Mossadeq supporter, Abol Ghassem Amini, acting Minister of Court, who was arrested by Mossadeq during the events of August 14th, is believed to have thrown some support to the Royalist cause from the strong Amini family who controlled certain key points of command in the Iranian army. The strong and influential Qashqai tribe, led by four paramount chieftains, who have remained loyal to Mossadeq and who have been closely allied with the above-mentioned Amini family, can still be considered in opposition to the Shah, but indications are they will take no paramilitary action to endanger Iran’s security for the time being.

  1. Source: Central Intelligence Agency, DDO Files, Job 79–01228A, Box 11, Folder 14, Iran 1951–1953. Secret. At the end of the memorandum is a handwritten note that reads: “above written by John Waller for DD/I [name not declassified] to be incorporated in CIB.”