We did not overthrow Mossadegh, and he was not democratically elected. We backed the Shah, but he was the head of state, so we didn't overthrow anything. The most that can be said is that we sided with the winner of Iran's civil war, a war that Mossadegh instigated. The full history of the conflict is revealing. First, Mossadegh was only elected by the majlis, or parliament, after the assassination of his predecessor (who was an ally of the Shah and who opposed the nationalization of Iran's oil industry). This is the democratic election that his supporters claim, but it was not a national election (more on that later). Mossadegh then used his position to nationalize Iran's petroleum sector, resulting in the refusal of the British to continue running the refineries and wells. Mosaddegh called elections, but when he saw that the opposition would take the vast majority of seats, he stopped the voting and called a quorum, claiming electoral manipulation by "foreign agents." Still, Mossadegh had enough support within the Majlis (after ensuring that the opposition didn't get their votes counted) to become the prime minister. Essentially, he formed a Rump Parliament and acted as if it had the legitimacy of the whole, making him a sort of Iranian Oliver Cromwell, but at least Cromwell could claim to have won the war that put him in power.
Originally Posted by m00
When he demanded that the Shah give up his authority over the army, the Shah refused and Mossadegh resigned and called for a general uprising, which forced the Shah to reinstate him. He then began to consolidate power, got the Maslis to permit him to rule by decree and attempted to eliminate the rest of the Iranian government and opposition. Meanwhile, the economy collapsed around him due to his attempts at collectivizing farming and his ouster of the British from the petroleum industry. Eventually, his support collapsed, his coalition turned on him and the Shah fired him as PM. The army and the public supported the Shah and drove Mossadegh from his office. He was arrested and eventually convicted of treason.
Also, the Shah was not the monster that the left claims that he was. He was a rather typical Middle Eastern monarch, nowhere near as bad as Saddam, or the mullahs who followed him. If anything, he was more like the Russian Romanovs, autocratic, but open to reform, which is why the mullahs came out against him. He was also an ardent anti-communist, which is why he was attacked by American leftists in the media. Wikipedia's summary of his reforms is telling:
The Shah made major changes to curb the power of certain ancient elite factions by expropriating large and medium-sized estates for the benefit of more than four million small farmers. In the White Revolution
, he took a number of major modernization measures, including extending suffrage
to women, in accordance to the Islamic Law, the participation of workers in factories through shares and other measures, the improvement of the educational system through new elementary schools and literacy courses set up in remote villages by the Imperial Iranian Armed Forces
. The latter step was called "Sepāh e Dānesh", "Army of Knowledge". As part of the White Revolution, the Armed Forces were engaged in infrastructural and other educational projects throughout the country ("Sepāh e Tarvij va Âbādāni") as well as in health education and promotion ("Sepāh e Behdāsht"). Moreover, he instituted exams for Islamic theologians to become established clerics. As a further step, in the seventies the governmental program of a free of charge nourishment for children at school ("Taghzieh e Rāigān") was implemented. Under the Shah's reign, the national Iranian income showed an unprecedented rise. In the field of diplomacy, Iran realized and maintained friendly relations with Western and East European countries as well as the state of Israel
and became, especially through the close friendship with the United States
, more and more a hegemonial power in the Persian Gulf
region and the Middle East
. The suppression of the communist guerilla movement in the region of Dhofar
with the help of the Iranian army after a formal request by Sultan Qaboos
was widely regarded in this context.
The introduction of women's suffrage, the institution of exams for Muslim clerics, the literacy programs and the establishment of relations with Israel and the US infuriated the mullahs. His anti-communism provided fodder for the left to attack him. He wasn't a democrat as we understand the term, but he was much closer to it than the mullahs who followed him, or Saddam Hussein.
Meanwhile, Iran has been actively fomenting terrorism against us and anyone else who doesn't toe their Islamist line. A list of Iranian-directed terror attacks would include:
- November 04, 1979 American diplomats were taken hostage and held for 444 days in Tehran.
- 1980 A car bomb detonated in London killing two people. Kourosh Fouladi, a MOIS member was arrested and imprisoned until 1989 for carrying out the attack. In 1996 Fouladi became a member of Iran's Majlis (Parliament).
- April 1983 A truck loaded with explosives blew up in front of the American embassy in Beirut. Sixty-one were killed and 120 more were injured.
- August 1983 An Air France 747 jumbo jet was hijacked after it took off from Vienna Airport en route to Tehran. The plane was blown up by the hijackers on the tarmac of Tehran's Mehrabad Airport.
- October 23, 1983 The headquarters of the U.S. Marines in Beirut was destroyed in a suicide attack by Iran's terrorist surrogates, resulting in 241 dead, 80 seriously wounded.
- July 1985 Two bombs planted in two restaurants in Kuwait resulted in the death of 10 people and the injury of 80.
- March 18, 1986 Tunisian authorities announced that a terrorist group linked with Iran had been uncovered and 20 of its members had been arrested. The group called itself Hizbollah Al-Mokhtar
- August 28, 1986 A large quantity of explosives, plastic bombs, and weapons was discovered in the luggage of Iranian "Pilgrims" arriving in Saudi Arabia for the annual Haj Pilgrimage. Saudi police arrested 100 of the undercover agents sent by the mullahs' regime
- September 1986 A wave of bombings in public places shocked Paris. Fouad Ali Saleh was convicted of killing 12 and injuring hundreds. He was arrested in March 1987 while transferring explosives into a car in Paris.
- July 1987 A DC-10 plane belonging to Air Afrique was hijacked by terrorists of the mullah regime. During the hijacking of the plane a French passenger was killed in the Vienna Airport. The president of Switzerland said the Iranian government was responsible.
- August 01, 1987 Agents of the Iranian regime staged a riot in Mecca during the Muslim annual Hajj pilgrimage as part of a wider plan to destabilize the Saudi regime. The Saudi government said 402 persons were killed and 650 were wounded; 85 Saudi policemen were among the dead.
- August 01, 1987 Embassies of Saudi Arabia and Kuwait in Tehran were occupied by government-organized mobs, and a diplomat was killed.
- April 05, 1988 A Kuwaiti 747 jumbo was hijacked in Bangkok and landed in Mashhad, eastern Iran. One of the mullahs' terrorists of Lebanese origin boarded the plane in Iran and led the terrorist operation. During the 15-day ordeal, two passengers were killed by hijackers.
- May 27, 1989 The Turkish daily Hurriyet reported that a 14-man group trying to infiltrate Turkey from Iran to carry out terrorist attacks had been arrested. The group's leader, Esmat Kamal, had been involved in the assassination of a Saudi diplomat in Ankara
- July 31, 1989 Colonel William Higgins, an American officer working for the United Nations in Lebanon, was abducted and executed by the Iranian regime's agents. A video recording of his hanging was given to international news agencies.
- 1989 During the Muslim annual Hajj pilgrimage, three bombs were exploded around the holy site of Mecca. Scores of people were injured.
- January 30, 1990 French Television Channel 1 broadcast an interview with Lotti Ben-Khala, a terrorist agent who was trained in Iran. He said the mullahs planned a terrorist attack on a French nuclear facility that would have resulted in 10,000 deaths.
- December 29, 1991 Following the arrest of one of the mullahs' terrorists in Bern, the regime barred the employees of the Swiss embassy from leaving Tehran
- March 1992 Relations between Bern and Tehran were severed after an Iranian terrorist was arrested in Switzerland. A Swiss businessman disappeared in Tehran. Later it was discovered that he had been taken hostage.
- March 17, 1992 An attack against the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires resulted in the death of 20 and the injury of 250 people.
- November 21, 1992 French police announced the arrest of two Iranians involved in several assassinations in Europe.
- April 25, 1993 The New York Times reported that at least $100,000 had been deposited in the account of the prime suspects of the February 1993 World Trade Center bombing. The money primarily came from Iran.
- June 02, 1994 AFP reported that U.S. intelligence officials said Iran has secretly planted 400 members of the Revolutionary Guards in Bosnia in order to set up terrorist cells in the former Yugoslavia
- July 18, 1994 A bomb at the Amia Jewish Center in Buenos Aires left 85 civilians dead and 230 injured. Argentine intelligence officials later announced that the Qods Force’s former commander, Ahmad Vahidi, helped plan the bombing.
- June 05, 1996 Bahrain's Interior Minister exposed a plan to topple the ruling family by fundamentalist Shiites. The leader of the group, Ali Kazem Almottaqavi, had been living in Iran since 1983. He was led by Brigadier General Ahmad Sharifi of the Revolutionary Guards. (Brigadier General Sharifi, commander of the Qods Force's Sixth Brigade, was one of the eight main operational commanders of the Qods Force).
- June 1996 The government of Bahrain announced the discovery of a local Hizbollah terrorist cell, whose members were trained and sponsored by the Iranian regime.
- September 24, 1996 An Iranian diplomat was arrested and later expelled by the government of Tajikistan for his role in exporting fundamentalism and terrorism to this country.
- February 02, 1997 The Turkish government expelled an Iranian diplomat for active involvement in exporting fundamentalism and terrorism to turkey.
- February 02, 1997 Terrorists were trained in Imam Sadeq's training base near Qom. They were flown to a third country from Tehran in spring 1996. They were transferred to Saudi Arabia and implemented their plans.
- August 23, 1999 The written testimony of Argentina's vice-President to the judiciary of this country cited evidence pointing to the Iranian regime's role in the bombing of the Jewish Community Center in Buenos Aires in July 1994.
- May 12, 2003 The Washington Post reported on Oct. 14, 2003 that Saad bin Laden was managing the Al-Qaeda organization from Iran under the protection of the Qods Force. "Saad bin Laden and other senior al Qaeda operatives were in contact with an al Qaeda cell in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in the days immediately prior to the May 12 suicide bombing there that left 35 people dead, including eight Americans, European and U.S. intelligence sources say." It added that the contacts have led to the conclusion that the Riyadh attacks were planned in Iran and ordered from there. Also under the Jerusalem [Qods] Force’s protection is Saif al-Adel, al Qaeda’s chief of military operations; Abdullah Ahmed Abdullah, the organization’s chief financial officer, and perhaps two dozen other top al Qaeda leaders, the officials said."
- January 23, 2005 The Sunday Telegraph reported that Pakistani officials blamed Iran for fuelling a growing insurgency in Baluchistan. "Officials in Islamabad believe Iran is encouraging 'intruders' from its own Bal-och community to cross the 550-mile border with the Pakistani province, and give support to the rebels. All this violence is a part of a greater conspiracy, a senior government official told The Telegraph. 'These militants would not be challenging the government so openly without the back-up of a foreign hand.' ... Pakistan's ISI intelligence service set up a unit in the provincial capital, Quetta, last year to monitor suspected Iranian activity in Baluchistan. Officials say that in addition to directly supporting the insurgency, Teheran's state-controlled radio has launched a propaganda campaign against Islamabad."
Iran under the Shah was a more stable, peaceful and benevolent presence in the world than it is under the mullahs.