In 1951, the control of Iran’s oil fields by a British company known as the Anglo-Iranian Oil
Company, or AIOC, became an illustrious political topic. The Iranian people believed, with
some justification, that the existing deal between the Iranian government and AIOC unfairly
benefited the company. Muhammad Mossadeq, then a member of the Iranian parliament, took
the lead in demanding a renegotiation of the pact. The masses of the Iranian people rallied to his
standard and quickly made him the most esteemed leader in the land. The Shah, who then ruled
as an authoritarian monarch, lost control of events as his previously powerless parliament, the
Majlis (later the Coup d’etat), took on a life of its own.
As Sandra Mackey, author of the book entitled, The Iranians
“Mossadeq’s leading the charge against Iran’s economic master, the Majlis [better known
later as the Coup d’etat], on March 15, boldly nationalized the Anglo-Iranian Oil
Company…On April 29, the same Majlis elected Muhammad Mossadeq prime minister.
While the Shah sat on the throne as a mere shadow, Muhammad Mossadeq basked in the
acclaim of the vast majority of Iranians, who for the first time in decades gave their
genuine respect, devotion, and loyalty to their recognized leader.” 4482 7501 7658 8381
It is undeniable that, by the time of his rise to power as prime minister, Mossadeq had the
backing of the overwhelming majority of the Iranian population. For the first time in its long
history, Iran had a democratically elected leader.
By 1953, Mossadeq was in an increasingly difficult situation. Oil revenues had plummeted
due to a boycott of Iranian oil, and the economy slumped. The Soviet-backed Iranian communist
party was becoming increasingly aggressive, and the U.S began to worry. Iran was a vital chess