Mr. Taheri’s interview
Host: Let's move on ... Anyway, it is 66 years that this issue has been the subject of controversy between Mr. Mosaddegh's and Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi's supporters, and still it is not clear what happened. But I thought this year, we can once for all, because this program is not intended to deal with historical issues, but I said since we have you, we can do this once and for all as it happened from a reporting and journalism perspective, from the 25th to the 28th of August.
Guest: See Shah under the pressure of different groups, clerics and some of Dr. Mosaddegh’s friends, such as Dr. Baghaie, Hussein Makki, clerics like Ayatollah Kashani, Shams Ghanat Abad, and some of the military led by General Zahedi, of course you know that Zahedi was no longer in the military since he had been retired for 12 years. He was a senator, but well some military ... because he was the president of the retired officers' club, some of the Reza Shah’s military guys were around him, Batman Ghelich, and so on. They were pressuring the Shah to replace Mosaddegh -- he has reached a dead end and if the country continues like this, Tudeh members would gain power. Tudeh Party was very powerful at that time with five daily newspapers, they had about fifty thousand members.
Host: They were very influential among the officers ..... after the list came out ...
Guest: Yes, there were 600 people, also among the workers, especially among oil workers through its labor organization and so on, but one thing they didn't realize at the time was that Kremlin itself was involved in a dispute over power, with Stalin's death in the same year, they could not think of Iran meaning the dispute between Khrushchev ... Khrushchev and Malenkov who was left in his place by Stalin. But at that time, Iranians didn't notice it, and the Americans exaggerated about it, for example, they sent General Schwarzkopf who worked for Reza Shah's gendarmerie, to tell the king that Mossadegh should go -- both the external pressure and internal pressure were on the Shah.
Host: The economic situation was very….
Guest: The economic situation was raging. You know the national bond sale, of course I was a kid myself; a lot of national bond was sold and all that ... and it wouldn't be good to run a country like that. So, Shah dismissed Mosaddegh. Mosaddegh himself had made a lot of mistakes during that time, for example, he got rid of the high Council for money so that he could print money just like that….. Then he dissolved the Senate, he also dissolved the House, the election was left incomplete, the Cabinet did not hold a meeting as Dr. Sediqi has written in his memoir ... and I think Mossadegh himself was asking God for somebody to come to his rescue .... He didn't want to damage his reputation because of his own interest but he did not have any plans either.
Host: Now Roosevelt's trip to Iran and the events of August 25th-28th are very much in dispute.
Guest: Yes, Kermit Roosevelt is written a book by the name of Counter coup, he came to Tehran a year before the revolution at the request of Ahmad Tehrani, one of our diplomats. He called me and said he wants to see you ... See me, I accepted, he came to our office in Keyhan and told me, “I want to write a biography of the king and then we want to make it like a cartoon for the kids with the help of an Tehran journal’s journalist, an Armenian, Petrosyan, I said, “Then why are you talking to me now and so on.” He said, “We wanted to talk to a lot of people” and so on. But after the unrest happened, he decided to write his memoir about him being in Tehran at that time instead of the Shah’s biography. He is written a book by the name of Counter coup which means against the coup and his theory was that Mosaddegh and the Tudeh Party wanted to do a coup and we came and stopped it. As you know, of course, that's nonsense because neither Mossadegh wanted a coup nor the Tudeh Party could do such a thing, and Mosaddegh and the Tudeh Party did not have a good relationship. The Tudeh newspapers regularly portrayed Mosaddegh as an Arab dancer putting him at front of America and swearing at him. So, this Kim Kermit Roosevelt was in Tehran hiding in the house of Colonel Farzanegan during the events of August 28th, he wrote it himself as well. He was a nobody. The American help was that the CIA or any organization they had, published the news of Mosaddegh’s removal because none of the newspapers were ready to write about it. But the Associated Press, United Press, Routers, and so on under the pressure of CIA, per the New York Times reporter, Kenneth Love, who wrote at that time, helped, meaning their roles were that. As you know, Major Nasieri who became a General later….
Host: They say Mr. Kashani was much more aware of the foreign intelligence. As they said themselves they had failed to deliver it on August 25th.
Guest: Yes ..... And as you know ... the US ambassador was on vacation in Athens at that time, he wasn’t there and the conference (unintelligible). No one thought something was going to happen. On August 28th, some people came on the streets, I was a kid, I was eleven years old, I could see them. Mosaddegh did not resist, as you know, he was the defense minister. Military was under him, he had assigned General Riyahi as the head of armed forces, and Police Chief was his relative, Colonel Momtaz was the chief of his guards. Therefore, if he wanted to resist or shoot and kill, he could, because at that time there was no military forces in Tehran. The only military that started moving toward Tehran was the Kermanshah’s armored brigade who arrived after the event, after Mossadegh was gone and was in hiding and was arrested. See all these... when I was writing my book about the spy nest, US-Iranian relations, I went to the Library of Congress and watched their news footages for thirty hours, you can watch it here in the Library of Britain as well. There was no military at all. In the afternoon of August 28th, only one tank was found on the street, everyone went on the top of it to take a picture, I was one of them, Like today’s revolutionaries who become revolutionary after the victory.
Host: Excuse the interruption in the e middle of your conversation, if we can extend the time for a couple of minutes, I have another question for Mr. Taheri because they tell me that the program is coming to an end, but the discussion is at a so called exciting point, finish your conversation.
Guest: Yes I wanted to say that the story that the events of August 28th was an American coup….it is written in a book by James Angleton in 1962, a former CIA operative. CIA for compensating its reputation for the failure of “Bay of Pigs” in Cuba because it could not do anything wanted to say that we have done something.
Host: it means mostly the domestic issue in America.
Guest: Then they all took it as they have looked down on us, Iranians, we have become a passive in our own history ... as if we can't make a mistake or we can't be rebellious ourselves.
Host: Now why, we have really less than two minutes, Mr. Taheri, this issue is still hanging around after six decades, more than six decades, and the Islamic Republic, anyway, what role Mr. Mosaddegh would have had if he were here, it is using it as an excuse to condemn America every year.
Guest: If Mosaddegh were here now, at least he was in house arrest at the minimum, but see they have created this to make us fight with each other, this is a colonial ideology that we call the so-called Third World Nations as not being humans. We are a passive in our own history, they cannot do a good thing and they cannot do a bad thing either. I say, let’s put this aside. When Mossadegh was in charge, the population of Iran was 15,000,000, now it is 85,000,000. Majority of Iranians don’t know who Mosaddegh is, this is part of history. We should not destroy our future for something in the past. We have to open our arms for all of our compatriots. Our 70 years old quarrels do not matter for us, what is matter is Iran’s next 70 years