By Letter to the Editor on January 8, 2020.
After an American air strike killed Iranian war hero Soleimani, there has been a great deal of media discussion about deteriorating relations between America and Iran but very little analysis about how we got to this impasse.
To understand the present crisis we need to go back 67 years, to Aug. 19, 1953 when the CIA, with the assistance of Britain’s MI 6, overthrew the government of the democratically elected prime minister, Mohammad Mossadeq. And why would they do that? Oil! The British Anglo-Iranian Oil Company, now known as BP, was strongly opposed to Mossadeq’s plan to nationalize the Iranian oil industry.
As a result, on Aug. 19, 1953 the CIA launched a coup to overthrow the prime minister and replace him with the U.S.-backed Shah Pahlevi. In 1979, following months of protests, Pahlevi was forced to leave the country and Ayatollah Khomeini returned from exile to establish an Islamic state.
In short, then, the move towards the deadly events of the last week began 67 years ago with the Anglo-American decision to support oil over democracy.
Robert D. Tarleck