INR–NIE files


No. 387
National Intelligence Estimate 2


Probable Developments in Iran Through 19543

the problem

To estimate probable developments in Iran through 1954.

[Page 837]


Relatively moderate governments are likely to continue in Iran through 1954, although hampered by: (a) the indecision of the Shah; (b) the irresponsibility of the diverse elements making up the Iranian political community; and (c) the unruliness of the Majlis. The chances that Zahedi himself will remain prime minister through 1954 are not good.
Few significant steps toward the solution of Iran’s basic social, economic, and political problems are likely to be taken during the period of this estimate. The effectiveness of the government will largely be determined by its success in dealing with Iran’s immediate fiscal and monetary problems and in making some apparent progress towards settlement of the oil dispute. An early and satisfactory oil settlement is unlikely. Without further outside financial aid, an Iranian Government probably would manage to cope with its immediate fiscal and monetary problems by resorting to deficit financing and other “unorthodox” means. Under such circumstances, it would encounter—and with difficulty probably keep in check—mounting pressures from extremist groups.
The security forces, which are loyal to the Shah, are considered capable of taking prompt and successful action to suppress internal disorders and recurrent rioting if provided timely political leadership. This capability will continue if, during the period of this estimate: (a) security forces receive adequate financial support; (b) differences between the Shah and top level leaders over control of the security forces are not seriously aggravated; and (c) strong public opposition to the regime does not develop.
Tudeh’s capabilities do not constitute a serious present threat to the Iranian Government, and the Tudeh Party will probably be unable to gain control of the country during 1954, even if it combines with other extremist groups. It will retain a capability for acts of sabotage and terrorism.
Iran will attempt to maintain friendly relations with the USSR, but will almost certainly resist any Soviet efforts to increase its influence in Iran’s internal affairs.
Failure to receive continued financial aid from the US or an acceptable oil settlement will probably result in a government coming to power which will be less friendly to the US than the present one.

[Here follow paragraphs 7–33, providing further discussion and elaboration of the above conclusions.]

  1. Files of National Intelligence Estimates, Special Estimates, and Special National Intelligence Estimates, retained by the Directorate for Regional Research, Bureau of Intelligence and Research.
  2. National Intelligence Estimates (NIEs) were high-level interdepartmental reports presenting authoritative appraisals of vital foreign policy problems. NIEs were drafted by officers from those agencies represented on the Intelligence Advisory Committee (IAC), discussed and revised by interdepartmental working groups coordinated by the Office of National Estimates of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), approved by the IAC, and circulated under the aegis of the CIA to the President, appropriate officers of cabinet level, and the National Security Council. The Department of State provided all political and some economic sections of NIEs.
  3. According to a note on the cover sheet, “The Intelligence Advisory Committee concurred in this estimate on 10 November 1953. The FBI abstained, the subject being outside of its jurisdiction. The following member organizations of the Intelligence Advisory Committee participated with the Central Intelligence Agency in the preparation of this estimate: The intelligence organizations of the Departments of State, the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, and the Joint Staff.”