‘Coup 53’: New documentary highlights MI6 role in toppling Iranian leader Mossadegh

Film starring Ralph Fiennes offers first-hand account of Britain’s role in unseating the democratically elected prime minister, a move that still has ramifications for Iran’s view of the UK and US to this day, as diplomatic editor Kim Sengupta explains

Tuesday 18 August 2020 06:33 BST
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Mossadegh was jailed for three years after his administration was toppled, and then kept under house arrest until his death in 1967
Mossadegh was jailed for three years after his administration was toppled, and then kept under house arrest until his death in 1967 (AFP/Getty)

The US is not the only foreign power which provokes enmity in Iran. There is also deep mistrust about Britain, a sentiment shaped by events in recent history and one which is unlikely to be forgotten or forgiven in the near future.

This is reflected in the current scenario with Donald Trump intent on sabotaging the country’s nuclear deal with international powers – one which the UK, along with other signatory states, is trying hard to preserve. But it is not only America being blamed in Iran for the near collapse of the agreement which was supposed to open the country up to the outside world, with all the rewards that offered.

“We know what Britain is saying publicly, but it is what they may do privately which we are very suspicious about,” Iranian voter Ali Rezah told me while casting his ballot in Tehran in this year’s parliamentary election. “We know what they did to [ousted prime minister] Mossadegh. We also cannot forget Britain’s part in the First World War famine when millions died because British soldiers took away the transport for moving food.”

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