JACQUELINE MARCUS FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
I’m happy for Ben Affleck that “Argo” won best picture of the year at the Academy Awards.
But in order for the audience to fully appreciate the film, they should know why Americans were taken hostage during the Iranian Revolution in 1979, and why Iranians were boiling over with anger at the U.S. government and CIA.
The U.S. oil companies and British Petroleum (Anglo-Iranian Oil Company) were stealing most of the oil from Iran and reaping the profits, leaving a mere 16 percent for the Iranians. While the British got rich off the profits, Iranians lived in poverty. Oil field workers earned less than 50 cents a day and received no benefits or vacations. The Iranians were outraged in 1950 when the U.S. oil company ARAMCO signed a contract giving Saudi Arabia 50 percent of the profits from Saudi oil.
Enter Mossadeq, a former finance and foreign minister. Mossadeq was backed by 95% of the Iranians and well respected internationally. Mohammad Mosaddeq was the democratically elected Prime Minister of Iran from 1951 to 1953 when his government was overthrown in a coup d'État orchestrated by the British MI6 and the CIA.
An author, administrator, lawyer, prominent parliamentarian, Mossadeq became the prime minister of Iran in 1951. His administration introduced a wide range of progressive social and political reforms such as social security, rent control, and land reforms. His government's most notable policy, however, was the nationalization of the Iranian oil industry: oil profits were used to benefit the Iranian workers by increasing the wealth in general for the people. In addition to establishing social programs such as free health care and new hospitals, he also initiated plans to provide free college education for Iranians from the oil profits which had been under British control since 1913 through the Anglo-Persian Oil Company (APOC / AIOC) (later British Petroleum or BP).
Mosaddeq was removed from power in a coup 1953, August 19th carried out by the CIA at the request of the British MI6 which chose Iranian General Fazlollah Zahedi to succeed Mosaddeq. The coup is commonly referred to as Operation Ajax.
Now when the word gets out that leaders of countries want to use oil profits for their people, the CIA moves in swiftly to smash those leaders to pieces so that the oil executives and investors can once again take full control of the oil and profits to enrich the few at the expense of the many.
Thus, the CIA did what it’s really good at doing: The goal: eliminate Mossadeq. The plan: “Operation Ajax”. The CIA created havoc, chaos and terrorist acts in Iran. Then they proceeded to buy up Iranian journalists, police and members of parliament who were instructed by the CIA to foment opposition to the government. The CIA purchased the services of the extremist Warriors of Islam, a “terrorist gang,” according to a CIA history of the coup. They spread lies and rumors about Mossadeq.
Mission accomplished. Twenty-five years later, the coup would come back to haunt the U.S. government. The U.S. would later reap the CIA seeds of destruction—as the Iranians had been harboring hostility towards the U.S. over two decades that began with the CIA intervention of Iran’s democratic election and overthrowing Mossadeq, Iranians’ popular leader. By 1979, Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, who was supported and installed by the United States and United Kingdom, was overthrown for an Islamic republic under Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the leader of the revolution. To add insult to injury, President Carter welcomed the Shah into the United States who was forced into exile. What else could Carter do? The Shah, after all, was the U.S.-CIA’s puppet dictator. But given the Shah’s deplorable human rights record, the Iranians were none to happy about Carter’s welcome party for the man they despised.
Now you have a pretty good idea as to why the Americans were taken hostage during this uprising…
Holding hostages for any reason is unacceptable. But it’s important to know how the U.S. oil executives, investors and their political puppets in Washington D.C. create these same atrocities over and over again essentially because they don’t believe in sharing a drop of the profits from oil. Even worse, they refuse to end the unnecessary oil subsidies worth billions of tax dollars that are paid to the oil companies out of the tax payers’ pockets in addition to the trillion dollars a year in profits the oil industrialists make combined for them and them alone.
So think about the story of Mossadeq nationalizing the oil so that the Iranians could benefit from the profits and how the CIA eliminated him, and any shred of the idea of using oil profits for social and public services that would eliminate poverty and improve global economies. Instead, the CIA and U.S. government made sure to keep the Iranians in poverty, as it was before Mossadeq tried to improve their lives—which led to the people’s revolution known as the “Iranian Revolution” in 1979; keep that little bit of untold history in mind when you watch the glorification of the CIA film “Argo”.