A first-hand account of Britain’s role in the 1953 coup that overthrew the elected prime minister of Iran and restored the shah to power has been published for the first time.
The account by the MI6 officer who ran the operation describes how it took British intelligence years to persuade the US to take part in the coup. Meanwhile, MI6 recruited agents and bribed members of Iran’s parliament with banknotes transported in biscuit tins.
Together the MI6 and CIA even recruited Shah Reza Pahlavi’s sister in an effort to persuade the reluctant monarch to back the coup to overthrow Mohammad Mossadegh.
“The plan would have involved seizure of key points in the city by what units we thought were loyal to the shah … seizure of the radio station etc … the classical plan,” recalled Norman Darbyshire, the head of MI6’s Persia station in Cyprus at the time of the coup.