Donald Newton Wilber was the CIA operative in charge of “Operation Ajax,” which in 1953 led to the overthrow of the democratically elected Iranian government of Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh. To explain his role in Operation Ajax, he wrote a book titled Regime Change in Iran: Overthrow of Premier Mosaddegh of Iran. He begins his narrative from November 1952, and leaves out the details of the process by which the American and the British policy makers came to the conclusion that to get rid of Mosaddegh, a military coup was their sole option.
In this book, Wilber provides six reasons for which America (and Britain) had to overthrow the Iranian government :
1. Mosaddegh refused to abide by the 1933 Anglo-Persian oil agreement. [The 1933 agreement was immensely unpopular in Iran; Mosaddegh had won the election on the plank of repealing this agreement and freeing Iran’s oil industry from British control.]
2. To finance the operation of his government Mosaddegh was resorting to deficit financing. [All countries do deficit spending; the USA has the world’s largest deficit.]
3. Mosaddegh’s politics was emotional, he coveted political power, and he had a “totally destructive and reckless attitude.” [As if the American and British politicians are not emotional; as if they do not covet power; as if they are not destructive and reckless.]
4. Mosaddegh reformed the 1906 Iranian constitution to extend his tenure. [Why should the Americans care about Iran’s constitution?]
5. Mosaddegh tried to undermine the Shah and the armed forces. [Why should the Americans care about the Shah and the Iranian armed forces?]
6. Mosaddegh was collaborating with the Tudeh Party (the Iranian communist party), and was recruiting its members into the government. [There is no evidence that Mosaddegh was a communist; the Tudeh Party was just a bogeyman invented by the British and the Americans.]
According to Wilber, during the November 1952 meeting of the American State Department and the British Foreign Office, the CIA and MI6 were asked to prepare a joint plan to overthrow Mosaddegh. The coup plot was drafted in Washington and finalized in London. On July 1, the Secretary of State and the Foreign Minister had put their signatures on the plan. The plan was cleared by President Eisenhower and Prime Minister Churchill on July 11. The operation was scheduled for the middle of August.
The success of Operation Ajax convinced the American policy makers that they could overthrow democratic governments in any part of the world. In the years to come, the Americans orchestrated coups in Guatemala, Indonesia, Chile, and few other places. Some of these coups led to large scale prosecutions and massacres. America was no longer seen as a champion of liberal democracy but as the orchestrator of coups and the creator of military regimes.