OPERATION AJAX DID NOT CREATE KHOMEINI
Critics of American ME policy often cite the toppling of nationalist Iranian Prime Minister Mossadegh by a CIA orchestrated coup on 1953 a the direct cause of Khomeini's 1979 Islamist revolution
. This is an argument that never made much sense to me given the enormous timeline between the two events. Certainly, American meddling in internal affairs rankled Iranian nationalists but the Shah's downfall was mostly his own doing. Nor did Khomeini have any particular love for Mossadegh style secular nationalism or the Communist Tudeh Party. Khomeini viewed the world on his own terms and would have ultimately opposed any secular Iranian government, regardless of political stripe or its relations with the United States.Dave
at The Glittering Eye
had an exemplary post that looks at the Mossadegh era
in detail. An excerpt:"But a greater problem, it seems to me, is that Mossadegh had little natural support. The Tudeh Party (lit. the Masses, the Iranian Communist Party under another name) had abandoned him. Recent revelations from the Kremlin (pointed to by Francis Gavin in his paper, Politics, Power, and U. S. Policy in Iran, 1950-1953) suggest that although Mossadegh was leaning increasingly towards the Kremlin, the Soviet-funded Tudeh was pushing increasingly hard in that direction. The military had many pro-Shah officers despite his best efforts at replacing them with his own men. Religious conservatives had abandoned him, possibly worried about the increasing socialization (and secularization) of the country."The post however deserves to be read in full.
I too am of the opinion that Mossadegh could not have continued to ride the tiger of internal Iranian politics indefinitely. He was too mercurial and having alienated Britain and the United States, that left Iran the option of cozying up to the Soviet Union. Mossadegh was not a Communist nor did he trust or love the Tudeh activists who were his semi-allies but partnership with the USSR would have meant conceding the Tudeh a role in Iran. As in Afghanistan, Indonesia, China and other Third World countries from the 1930's to the 1970's, Iran would have reached a crisis point between the nationalists and Communists and the outcome, given the proximity of the Soviets, could have easily been in the Tudeh's favor.