The US/UK regime change coup in Iran 70 years ago – and Pakistan today

The US/UK regime change coup in Iran 70 years ago – and Pakistan today

Jan Oberg

August 19, 2023

On August 19, 2023, it is 70 years ago that the US/CIA and others, with the assistance of their British peers, did one of its countless regime changes worldwide, namely in Iran: The U.S.- and UK-instigated, Iranian army-led overthrow of the democratically elected Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh in favour of strengthening the monarchical rule of the shah, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. Here is Wikipedia’s detailed account of this shameful act.

And with the exception of the years under the Shah’s rule, relations between the West and Iran have been utterly conflictual ever since, and every potential for cooperation has been squandered. The US has felt its usual exceptionalist privilege to harass the country decade after decade, telling it that it will never acquire nuclear weapons, which the US itself and Israel have plenty of – and which it’s doubtful that Iran ever wanted to acquire – scrapping the JCPOA nuclear accords and maintain suffocating sanctions – even, as I have documented – down to the level of 5 US dollars sent as pure humanitarian aid to innocent suffering people in Iran.

The US has also upheld secondary sanctions – dictating to others, including allies, that they cannot trade with or invest in Iran without severe punishment by the US Treasury. These submissive and non-sovereign countries (in that US law is implemented in and by them), have never been able or willing to stand up against this evil empire.

The argument under which they could take moral cover was that Iran was an authoritarian state run by mullahs. Not that it is not, but there are quite a few argument rendering that irrelevant: a) the US/Western pressure on Iran has only helped them stay in power and undermined Iran’s middle class (because of the effects of the sanctions) that could, if any, bring about change; b) one must wonder whether it would have been such a state today if it wasn’t for the 1953 coup against the democratically-elected Dr Mossadegh; c) the West should learn that there can be other ways to govern a country than the one it has itself – and which is in the deepest crisis Western liberal democracy has ever been in – and, finally d) with what right does the US/Western world interfere in other states, other cultures and ways of governing? It would never accept others doing so to the West.

I am well aware that such arguments fall way outside the (anti)intellectual framework which guides US, NATO and EU foreign policy today. Further, morals is anyhow not a category addressed anymore by anyone who wants to be taken seriously. I gladly take that risk.

The innocent 80 million Iranians live inside two cages: that of their national religious leaders and the sanctions cage imposed by the West.

Economic sanctions applied over a sufficiently long time may very well end up like a mass-destructive weapon. It will, however, also have at least too blow-back – or boomerang – effects: a) the victims of the sanctions will be forced to develop a certain self-reliance to reduce their vulnerability and, also ally with others; b) sanctions will eventually hurt the sanctions-imposing country itself in the shape of reduced trade, investment and returns – as well as, sooner or later, being abandoned, isolated.

Now, the regime change case of Iran is far from an isolated case. Here is a list of US regime change attempts since the Second World War and till 2022. (Strangely, this list omits the heavily US-orchestrated and -financed regime change in Kyiv in 2014 which led Russia to annexe Crimea – after which followed what we all have witnessed so painfully). But it is still valid for the cases it lists.

The allies of the US have never stood up against any of these gross violations of international law, mass killings and imperial arrogance.

The list is mind-boggling by any standards – not the least for a country that insists that it adheres to international law and operates a ‘rules-based international order.’ However, the only de facto US rule there is under the blue sky seems to be: “We do as we want because we can and because we are the United States of America.”

The Western mainstream has condoned, or directly legitimated and promoted, most of them wholeheartedly, led by dailies like The New York Times, CNN, BBC and, for instance, so-called public service state media in the Nordic countries.

It seems as if these allies perceive their freedom of operation vis-a-vis Washington as about the same as that which the German Democratic Republic (GDR) had vis-a-vis the Soviet Union. Empires tend to look alike…

And, so, what is the most recent, well-documented regime change à la Iran 1953?

It’s Pakistan.

The U.S. State Department encouraged the Pakistani government in a March 7, 2022, meeting to remove Imran Khan as prime minister over his neutrality on the Russian invasion of Ukraine, according to a classified Pakistani government document obtained by The Intercept. Read the shocking document with a verbatim account of the meeting between State Department officials, including Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs Donald Lu, and Asad Majeed Khan, who at the time was Pakistan’s ambassador to the U.S.

Please read carefully The Intercept’s investigative report on the drama. How much have you heard about this in Western mainstream media and politics?

This is how the declining and morally defunct United States of America upholds its rules-based order and recklessly punishes a country with about 250 million people which had a democratically elected leader who happened to be sticking to its principled, uncorrupted policy concerning the US/NATO conflict with Russia about Ukraine.

And there are a few other reasons too.

Please read “Pakistan’s Imran Khan compares his ouster to CIA coup in Iran, criticizes Western colonialism.” This excellent piece of investigative reporting by Ben Norton says all you need to know.

Finally, a friend of a friend of mine sent this a few days ago:

“Imran Khan wanted to re-align Pakistan by making it neutral in international affairs, have good relations with the US but also Russia and China. Since he left, Pakistan has become party to the Ukraine conflict by sending them weapons, it’s building relations with Israel (behind the scenes) and purchasing surveillance tech from Israel, and it stalled for over a year purchasing cheap gas from Russia that Khan had negotiated.

Over 10,000 of Imran Khan’s supporters and party workers are currently in jail, including many prominent women activists who are being denied basic legal rights. The scale of these incarcerations is barely being covered in the international media.

Imran Khan is being kept in a dirty tiny insect-ridden prison with an open toilet and not allowed home-cooked food. Many worry there could be an attempt to poison him, as there have already been unsuccessful assassination attempts.”

In short, the permanently warmongering US has not learned a single lesson over 70 years. There is no reason to believe it ever will. Empires do not listen; they dictate, harass and punish.

In a nutshell, this explains why more and more countries are turning away from the US-dominated Western world. When the self-destroying US Empire declines and finally falls, it will take its allies and friends with it down.

If these are the bad news, the good news is that both the Rest of the world and the West itself will be a much better place when the US Empire – not the US itself – rests in the dustbin of history.

More information about this case at Al-Jazeera’s bckgrounder of August 10, 2023.

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