Beginning in January 1953, the U.S. and Britain agreed to work together toward Mosaddegh’s removal. The plot, known as Operation Ajax, centered on convincing Iran’s monarch to issue a decree to dismiss Mossadegh from office.
Mohammad Mossadegh became Prime Minister of Iran in 1951 and was hugely popular for taking a stand against the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company, a British-owned oil company that had made huge profits while paying Iran only 16% of its profits and often far less. His nationalization efforts led the British government to begin planning to remove him from power. In October 1952, Mosaddegh declared Britain an enemy and cut all diplomatic relations. Britain looked towards the United States for help. However, the U.S. had opposed British policies; Secretary of State Dean Acheson said the British had “a rule-or-ruin policy in Iran.”
That changed after Dwight D. Eisenhower was elected President in 1952. Beginning in January 1953, the U.S. and Britain agreed to work together toward Mosaddegh’s removal. The plot, known as Operation Ajax, centered on convincing Iran’s monarch to issue a decree to dismiss Mossadegh from office. But the Shah was reluctant to attempt such an unpopular and legally questionable move. He finally relented, after much persuasion and bribes to his family.
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