How Anglo oil companies and CIA destabilized the democratic government of Iran


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On May 28, 1901, Shah Mozzafar al-Din of Persia made an oil concession with William Knox D'Arcy, founder of Anglo-Persian Oil Company (APOC), all future oil and petroleum exports from Persia for the next 60 years.[3] On May 20, 1914, the British government signed a deal with the Anglo-Persian Oil Company paying 2.2 million pounds for 51% of APOC’s stock, receiving a majority stake and nationalizing the APOC for Britain.[4] This was primarily due to the fact that Winston Churchill had converted the British Royal Navy from coal burning to oil burning ships just weeks before the onset of World War I.[5]By 1950, 40% of the western and 75% of Europe's oil was produced in Iran. On May 2, 1951, Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadeq began the nationalization of Iranian oil wishing to rebuild the country using the profits from Iranian oil, whose production was primarily done by the British-owned AIOC.[6] The nationalization of the AIOC put Mossadeq and Britain in direct conflict, as Britain still owned half of the AIOC's stock. Iran sought the same 50-50 split of profits that had previously been granted to both Venezuela and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia by the oil giants of the United States of America. Britain denied Iran's request, instead choosing to keep the lion's share of the profits accrued from the production of Iranian oil.[7] Britain had no intentions of letting Mossadeq nationalize the AIOC without some sort of compensation, but was unable to get an agreeable compromise from Mossadeq. When the issue was brought before the International Court of Justice on July 22, 1952, the court ruled that it was unable to intervene in the conflict, stating "it is nothing more than a concessionary contract between a government and a foreign corporation * * * It does not regulate in any way the relations between the two Governments"[8] This ruling caused Britain to revisit Mossadeq's first proposal of a 50-50 profit split, however by this point it was too late.[9]After this loss, the British began using alternative tactics to force Mossadeq to agree to a more suitable compromise, putting severe economic embargoes on Iranian exports as well as withdrawing the skilled workers needed to run the AIOC refineries, known as the Abadan Crisis.[10] Concerns arose within the United States that the actions taken by the British would cause Iran to begin aiding the Soviets. In spite of these hardships, anti-communist Mosaddeq refused to abandon his stance. The British government turned to the U.S. for help, but the Truman administration was not interested and remained neutral in this conflict. After months of holding out against Britain's wishes, the British concluded that Mosaddeq had to be replaced with someone who would be more inclined to British interests. When Eisenhower became president of the United States in January 1953, the U.S. allied with Britain in this conflict.[11] Mosaddeq responded to this partnership by offering the U.S. the following ultimatum: Iran would sell oil to the U.S. with a 40% discount rate or the Iranian oil companies would start selling their oil to the Soviets. The U.S. remained resolute with Britain stating that until an agreement and compensation had been met with Britain on their end, they could not discuss any matters concerning oil.[12] Plan Y was an operation involving a three-part assault on Iran by land, air, and sea. Britain attempted to seek aid from the United States under the Truman administration, but the U.S. declined due to a possible conflict that could arise with the Soviet Union.

In 1952, Britain constructed a plan for a coup and pressed the U.S. to mount a joint operation to remove the democratically elected government of Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddeq[13] and install the Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi to rule Iran autocratically. Representatives of British Intelligence met with CIA representatives in Washington in November and December 1952 for the purpose of discussing a joint war and stay-behind plans in Iran. Although it was not on the previous agreement and agenda of the meeting, British Intelligence representatives—including Mr. Christopher Montague Woodhouse, Mr. Samuel Falle, Mr. John Bruce Lockhart[14]—met with representatives of the CIA's Near East and Africa Division—including Mr. Kermit Roosevelt, Mr. John H. Leavitt, Mr. John W. Pendleton, and Mr. James A. Darling[15]—and brought up the proposition of a joint political action to remove Prime Minister Mossadeq. Mohammed Mossadeq was Iran's first elected prime minister appointed through popular demand by the people of Iran.

Mossadeq felt that the wealth needed to rebuild Iran was leaving the country under the control of a British company called Anglo-Iranian oil company (later known as British Petroleum, or BP). While in power, Mossadeq successfully put in place the naturalization of the oil industry in Iran which gave him control over the oil industry. As a result, the British company sued Mossadeq in the world court and lost. In order to regain control of the oil industry the British persuaded and collaborated with the US government to overthrow Mossadeq. In March 1953, The CIA began to draft a plan to overthrow Mossadeq. Dr. Donald Wilber, who was a writer, spy, and covert consultant to the NEA, was charged with investigating and developing the plan to overthrow Mossadeq. He traveled to Nicosia, Greece in May 1953, and together with Matthew Darbyshire, the head of SIS’s Iran branch, they held meetings to design the recommended plan of action.[16] At these meetings, they reviewed all of the important political players in Iran, especially General Zahedi, who was the most pronounced politician who opposed Mossadeq. Wilber noted that his views were similar with that of Darbyshire’s, and that SIS was pleased to allow the CIA to take the lead on the operation, because of their advantages in personnel, funding, and facilities.[16] After the discussion of politics in Iran, the parties involed discussed their current assets in Iran. The SIS mentioned that they had Rashidians in the armed forces, members of the Iranian Parliament, religious leaders, and other people they believed to be influential.
Although their assets were considered to be useless, the Rashidians came through and were willing to assist in the overthrow.[16] They concluded that Zahedi was the best candidate to support in the coup, and that all attempts must be to give the appearance of a legal transition of power, rather than an absolute coup. They also concluded that public opinion must be swayed against Mossadeq directly before beginning the operation, and that the plan must be shared and reviewed with the Iranians who will help implement it. To sway the opinion of the public, the CIA devised a plan to expose Mossadeq's collaboration with the Soviet Union and show the falsehood of his patriotism. By June 1953, operational plans were finalized and sent for approval. The operational plan was approved by the British (Director of SIS, Foreign Secretary, and Prime Minister) on 1 July 1953, and by the United States (Director of CIA, Secretary of State, and President) on 11 July 1953. The study indicated that a Shah/General Zahedi combination, supported by local CIA assets and financial backing, would have a good chance of overthrowing Mossadeq, as long as the CIA's physical and financial support guaranteed that mobs would fill the streets and that Mossadeq's orders would be ignored.[17] Partially due to this report, and partially due to the fear of Communist overthrow and spreading in the region due to increasing influence of the Communist Tudeh party.[18] Also, having the Shah's cooperation meant that the legalization of the new and chosen prime minister would occur.[19] However, to get the Shah involved was not an easy task.
Pressure was needed to be placed on the Shah in order for the operation overthrowing of Mossadeq to be successful. The goal was to get the Shah to believe it would be easier to go with the plan rather than fighting it.[20] Speaking to the influence of Soviet Communism in Tudeh Party, a declassified CIA memorandum from September 1953 highlights the collaboration between the Tudeh Party and the Soviet Union. Point 6 of this memorandum states that the, "Tudeh Party is now printing newspapers in Soviet Embassy…Newspapers are then taken by diplomatic cars to four distribution centers…From these points, bundles are thrown into unlicensed jeeps which throw bundles on streets."[21] The Tudeh Party and its connections to the Soviet government proved problematic for the United States’ decision making for multiple reasons. While the Truman administration did not want to create friction with the United States’ primary ally against the Soviet Union, the British, it also feared the unstable economic conditions in Iran that would result from the United States siding with the British.
NSC intelligence pointed to the idea that if the United States explicitly sided with the British this would push the Iranian people closer to the Tudeh party and Mosaddegh further into the Soviet sphere of influence in the hopes the Soviets could assist in the production and purchase of Iranian petroleum products. The State Department feared an alliance between the extremely popular Mosaddegh and the Soviet Union as it would provide the Soviets with a perfect window of opportunity to gain further political influence.[22] Similarly, based on the reports of CIA field agents, the United States feared the consequences of a further deterioration of Iran’s economy if Mosaddegh continued to rebuff Soviet influence. The CIA believed that the constant poor economic conditions of the country, and Mosaddegh's unwillingness or inability to solve Iran’s economic problems would cause the people to revolt against Mosaddegh. If the Iranian people did act against their government, the Tudeh had proven to be the greatest political organizing force in the country, and would therefore be thrust into a primary political role. Considering the Tudeh party’s friendly relationship with the Soviets, if Mosaddegh were to fall, the Soviets would have direct access to political control or influence in Iran.[23] Not only was Soviet influence and control in the region an inspiration for the United States to get involved in Britain's coup, but the United States also feared that a move toward the Tudeh would destabilize the region while also causing the U.S.'s relationships with countries in the region to deteriorate, thus causing a decreased amount of available oilThe US also decided to get involved to gain control of a larger share of Iranian oil supplies.

The US agreed to the operation dreamed up by the British,[24] U.S. Brigadier General Norman Schwarzkopf, Sr., and CIA guru Kermit Roosevelt, Jr. were ordered to begin a covert operation to overthrow Mossadeq. The resulting operation was inspired by Plan Y, a 1951 British planned land, sea, and air invasion that the U.S. opposed under Truman. MI6 and the CIA once again discusses plans to orchestrate a coup in Iran in 1952 under the name Plan Boot; however, knowing President Truman's opposition to the previous plan, Plan Boot was kept secret under the order of CIA director Dulles. With Kermit Roosevelt Jr. as the head of CIA operations in the Middle East under the newly elected President Eisenhower, Operation Boot was renamed Operation Ajax and put into practice. Representatives from both the United States and Britain met in Beirut in order to finalize the details of the plan, and examine .
[25] certain aspects such as the state of the political scene in Iran. Also, in addition to TPAJAX that was crafted during these meetings, there was another plan entitled the "Amini/Qashqai Plan" that was to serve as a backup to it. After meetings in Beirut, the plan was formally given to the SIS and redrafted as a final London draft.[26] On June 19, 1953 the final operational plan was submitted to Washington and the British Foreign Office for approval, after it was agreed upon by Kermit Roosevelt and British Intelligence. The State Department would want to ensure two things before they granted approval; First, The United States wanted to ensure adequate aid could be given to the successor Iranian government to that such a government could be sustained until an oil settlement was reached, and secondly, the British government would submit in writing their intention to reach an early oil settlement with the successor in Iran.[27] On June 25, 1953 Roosevelt met at the State Department with the senior foreign policy makers to discuss the final plan for TPAJAX. Though President Eisenhower didn't attend, other officials did, including Secretary of State John Foster Dulles, DCI Allen Dulles, and Undersecretary of State Walter Bedell Smith. Following Roosevelt's briefing all officials agreed with the plan, but Allen Dulles and Walter Smith expressed a way higher interest. On July 15, 1953 the operation began with its first phase which was Asadollah Rashidian meeting with Princess Ashraf at the French Rivera. He met with her to suggest that Mossadeq was a danger to Iran and he should be dismissed. She was not convinced by the idea but when Mossadeq made it difficult for her to return home, she agreed to meet with her brother to discuss the removal of Mossadeq. She wasn't able to convince her brother and left the next day.[28] On August 26, 1953 a memorandum was written for the commendation for the work that John Waller had done for TPAJAX. He had stuck by the plan from start to finish and Frank O. Wisner had written the memorandum in hopes of drawing positive attention to John Waller.[29] Authorization was granted by the Prime Minister and the Director of the SIS on July 1, 1953.[30] Operation Ajax was granted authorization by the President, the Secretary of State, and the Director of the CIA on July 11, 1953.[31] In a memorandum to the President circa August 1953, the Department of State detailed the behaviors of General Zahedi and the Shah, both present leaders of Iran at the time. With regard to Zahedi, the Department of State reported that he had been excited about the aid received by the United States and was eager to resume diplomatic relations with the United States.[32] With regard to the Shah, he was reported to have shared similar feelings of the Zahedi, remarking that along with swift economic aid, military aid would be useful as well.[32] After concluding whether or not they were worthy of support, officials would then have to decide the resources they were going to allocate to them.[33] Operation Ajax was conceived and executed from the US Embassy in Tehran where the 1979 Hostage Crisis would take place.

The 1979 Hostage Crisis was related to the one the CIA put in place as the new prime minister who was the Shah. To release the hostages students demanded the return of the Shah to Iran for trial as he was in the U.S. for medical treatment. They also wanted the Shah's blood money returned to the people of Iran, promise of no more U.S. interference in Iran and an apology from the U.S.[34] For the hostage crisis a group of protesters gathered outside of the embassy to protest the US support of the exiled Iranian leader Shah. This protest at first seemed harmless but as time went on they began to get louder and more intense. A group of Islamist students had entered onto the Embassy property and taken 66 Americans hostage. Of the 66 hostages 52 of them remained in captivity for 444 days. This occurred on November 4, 1979.[35] The American television program Nightline was created in order to tally the days the hostages were held.[36] The CIA divided into two different groups. One had the responsibility of studying the military aspect of the operation. The other group was responsible for the psychological warfare phases of the plan. Put in charge of the propaganda was Dr. Donald Wilber with the help of the CIA art group.[37] Operation Ajax had four main parts: First, a massive propaganda campaign to ruin Mossadeq's name and accuse him of communist affiliations (though he was famously democratic). One piece of propaganda by the CIA portrays Mossadeq as a totalitarian dictator complete with a secret spy network to intimidate his political opponents and allies alike. This piece of propaganda attempts to illustrate Mossadeq as a madman and dictator with sympathies towards the Soviets and communists and an enemy to his own nation. The document also links Mossadeq to anti-Islamic sentiment. [38] Another major piece of propaganda was for high ranking U.S. officials to make official statements that the United States would not provide any forthcoming economic aid to Mossadeq and Iran. This would also destroy the illusion that the United States supported his regime.[39] Still other documents containing anti-Mosaddeq sentiments from the CIA attempt to paint him as a threat to the good moral character and international reputation of the Iranian people, blaming the "dictator" and his alliance with the Soviet Tudeh Party for the rise in "rudeness," while espousing the love that "foreigners" have for Iran and its people.[40] Although this last document makes little mention of Americans and focuses on other countries (such as France, Germany, and England), American anti-Soviet sentiments in its condemnation of the Soviet Tudeh Party and its likening the Iranian dictator to Bolsheviks. Second, encourage disturbances within Iran. A report released by the CIA regarding the results of Operation Ajax suggests that both nationalists and communists "inadvertently assisted our cause through their premature attempts to promote a republican government."[41] However, the CIA performed much of its own encouragement by paying citizens. For example, Kermit Roosevelt hired a crowd of Iranian citizens to act as a riotous mob in Tehran. For a sum of $50,000, the crowd was instructed to attack mosques and images of the Shah under the facade of supporting Mossadeq to attempt linking the leader to anti-Islamic and communist groups. Two days later on August 19, 1954, the same mob was sent to march on Mossadeq’s house with knives, clubs, sticks, and other weapons. As reports mentioned Mosaddeq was pinned in his home and the only way out was climbing over a garden wall it was also reported that he wasn't even there but took refuge in a neighbors home.[42] Over 300 individuals died in this CIA-organized attack, some were found with the CIA’s dollars still in their pockets.[43] This number has also been challenged as a British report in 1953 had the count at 300 wounded and 50 dead.[44] Other CIA propaganda focused on Iranian national pride. It claims that "we Iranians are proud of our" culture and "reputation abroad" and then went on to paint Mossadeq as a threat to that source of pride.[45] Third, pressure the Shah into selecting a new prime minister to replace Mossadeq. The comeback of the Shah and end of Mossadeq was sparked by two political sides. The tensions of both political sides caused this outcome to occur.[46] A CIA memo from Kermit Roosevelt suggests that CIA operatives possibly bribed members of the Iranian Parliament to create a vote of no-confidence in Mossadeq's leadership.[47] Fourth, support Zahedi as a replacement for Mossadeq.[48] Operation Ajax, enacted by the UK using the moniker "Operation Boot", was implemented the following year, though was initially unsuccessful. On August 16, 1953, the same day the Shah of Iran fled to Baghdad after a failed attempt to oust Prime Minister Mossadeq. This failed mission was said to happen because Mossadeq learned of the plan through a leak, most likely from the Tudeh Party, and took immediate counteraction to protest the plan.[49] One of the most influential figures in this coup was Kermit Roosevelt, the grandson of former President Theodore Roosevelt, and head of CIA operations in the Middle East.[50] with the cooperation of the Department of State, the CIA had articles planted in the United States but when reproduced in Iran, it had psychological affects in Iran and contributed to the war. In addition to internal propaganda, the CIA also worked to make sure that the United States government publicly distanced itself from Mossadeq's government. This was done to both discourage Mossadeq and encourage public dissent with the government.[51] The letter that President Eisenhower sent to Mossadeq in response to his call to the U.S. for economic aid, due to not agreeing to the British oil deal was the most notable example of how this effort created public anger with the government. Eisenhower writes "The failure of Iran and of the United Kingdom to reach an agreement with regard to compensation has handicapped the Government of the United States in its efforts to help Iran."[52] According to CIA reports, this succeeded in weakening Mossadeq's position, and turned the media, the Parliament, and the populace against him.[53] The Shah believed that any delay in execution for Mossadeq would cause for his supporters to attack back.[54] The CIA also increased their propaganda campaign to link Mossadeq to the Communists.
In an attempt for a second coup, the CIA began to bribe the army and police officials.[55][56] Roosevelt used the first failed coup and the exodus of the Shah to his advantage. Using $50,000 he bribed many protestors to pretend as if they were communists. They destroyed or defaced property pertaining to the Shah.[57] Many Iranians were "shocked and angered" at the fact that the Shah was forced to leave Iran after the failed coup attempt. On August 19, 1953 pro Shah demonstrators began protesting in the bazaar section of Tehran. They would also be joined by army units loyal to the Shah. By the afternoon these protestors and army units had gained control of much of Tehran. In particular, Radio Tehran was considered one of the top priorities in the city by the CIA: "Radio Tehran was a most important target, for its capture not only sealed the success at the capital, but was effective in bringing the provincial cities quickly into line with the new government."[58] The eventual takeover of the radio allowed Zahedi to declare himself prime minister, and by the end of August 19 he had effective control of the nation.[59] Newspapers were also heavily involved in circulating Zahedi's message; an internal history of the coup by the CIA mentions that the firman that named Zahedi prime minister was circulated in numerous newspapers around Tehran, along with an interview that was fake in which it was stated, falsely, that Zahedi had declared his government the only legitimate one.[60] In order for Zahedi to receive the financial assistance he badly needed, the CIA made 5 million dollars available within two days of Zahedi's assumption of power. After several attempts and over 7 million dollars were spent, operations to overthrow Mossadeq were completed. Zahedi immediately implemented martial law and began executing nationalist leaders. Mossadeq was spared from execution by serving 3 years in solitary confinement and after he remained on house arrest until his death.[55][61] In September after the coup, the Zahedi government had begun to remove Tudeh Party officials from the government. This forced the party underground and attempting to form a pro-Mossadeq coalition.[62] The Coup in Iran was the CIA's first successful coup operation.[63]

Several people involved in the coup received commendations. This included John Waller, who managed the coup at CIA headquarters, who was described as "in no small measure," playing a central role in the coup's success.[64] It became a model for future covert political operations on foreign soil.[65] Mossadeq was removed from power and Iran oil shares were split amongst the British, French, and United States for a 25-year agreement in which Iran would earn 50% of the oil profits.[66] Britain earned 40% of the oil shares, the Dutch Oil Company, Shell received 14%, French CFP received 6%, and the United States received the remaining 40%. By 1953, the U.S. installed a pro-U.S. dictator, Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. As the CIA took this as a win to overthrow the Prime Minister it also created more problems that the U.S. would have to deal with later on. Over the next decades the Shah increased the economic strength of Iran but he also repressed political dissent. He accomplished this through the use of a secret police force known as the SAVAK, which he had help in creating via the CIA and Mossad. The Shah was accused by many as trying to get rid of Islam, despite the fact that the country's population was over 90% Muslim.[63] This eventually led to the rise of political Islam in Iran.[67][68] In a speech on March 17, 2000 before the American Iranian Council on the relaxation of U.S. sanctions against Iran, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said: "In 1953, the United States played a significant role in orchestrating the overthrow of Iran's popular prime minister, Mohammed Mossadegh. Further proof of the United States involvement was announced on March 19, 2013, the 60th anniversary of the overthrow, when the National Security Service posted recently declassified documents that the CIA had on the coup.[69] Although previous to this the CIA claimed that all the documents about 1953 were destroyed or lost in the 1960s because of lack of storage space, it was said that the record holders safes were too full.[69] As the National Security Service posted declassified documents it was still hard to see how much Britain played a factor in the coup. As many documents had deleted passages believing to hide the role of the British there were some that they couldn't hide. Two declassified references place them involved in the coup, one of them was an official admission by both the United States and United Kingdom that normal, rational methods of international communication and commerce had failed. The second inclination of Britain's involvement was the State Department off insisted that, if a coup were to go forward, London would have to provide "firm commitment" to be "flexible" on any future oil settlement with "the new government."[70] As we now know the CIA's involvement with overthrowing the prime minister and replacing him with the Shah the question still remains who was really responsible for it. In an article in the July/August 2014 issue of Foreign Affairs by noted Iran analyst Ray Takeyh is the latest in a series of analyses by respected scholars who conclude Iranians, not the CIA or British intelligence, were fundamentally responsible.[71] The following link is of President Eisenhower's diary where he talks about the Mossadeph coup on pages 10 and 11.[1] The operational plan was created from a skew of assumptions, which were agreed upon by the CIA and the SIS. A few of these assumptions were 1) That the Shah would be persuaded to take action is pressure was applied to him, 2) Zahedi would win the support of key positiones officers with the support and backing of the Shah, and 3) The rank and file of the army would choose the Shah over Mosaddeq if faced with a choice. These assumptions were challenged by the American ambassador and State department. It was "unrealistic to believe the Shah would sponsor a coup supported by an army". Although many were at odds with these assumptions, it was the action of strong and positive action that would make these assumptions come true. The success of the plan put into place was not about agents carrying out orders, but having "the heart and soul" to believe in the operation.[72] Following the success of the coup, the Shah had chose to put the former Prime Minister Mossadeq on trial and condemned to death. However, he was unsure on how to proceed with the trial and as to whether Mossadeq should either be immediately banished from Iran or executed. With the conclusion of the trial, the Shah wanted to prevent any delay in Mossadeq's punishment because he feared that it would allow the pro-Mossadeq Tudeh to commence a counterattack. Because of this, the Shah decided to execute Mossadeq immediately. This however did not prevent from the Tudeh from formulating an attack. The CIA reported to the Shah that the Tudeh will attack at some point within the next thirty days.

Source: Wikipedia

It worth to mention that Mossadeq was being elected by Time magazine as the man of the year in 1951! His biography:
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One of the main lobbyist behind the scenes was Kermit Roosevelt who himself was the second son of Theodore Roosevelt

His picture below:


Kermit Roosevelt, who was a member of the famous American political family but who made his contributions to the nation in the shadowy world of spy craft, died Thursday at a retirement community in Cockeysville, Md., near Baltimore. He was 84.
Mr. Roosevelt's best-known exploit was as director of the 1953 coup that overthrew the leader of Iran, Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh, a nationalist who concerned Washington because he was supported by the Iranian Communists at the height of the cold war.
Earlier this year, the Central Intelligence Agency's secret history of the coup surfaced, providing a detailed account of the overthrow, which brought Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlevi to power.
Mr. Roosevelt, the chief of the C.I.A.'s Near East and Africa division, spent much of his time in Tehran, trying to get the shah, depicted in the history as a vacillating coward, to summon the courage to dismiss Mr. Mossadegh.
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''On Aug. 3rd,'' the secret history says, ''Roosevelt had a long and inconclusive session with the shah,'' who ''stated that he was not an adventurer, and hence, could not take the chances of one.''
The history continued: ''Roosevelt pointed out that there was no other way by which the government could be changed and the test was now between Mr. Mossadegh and his force and the shah and the army, which was still with him, but which would soon slip away.''
Mr. Roosevelt told the shah that ''failure to act could lead only to a Communist Iran or to a second Korea.''
On Aug. 16, fearing the coup had failed, the shah fled to Baghdad and the C.I.A. urged Mr. Roosevelt to leave Iran immediately. He refused, insisting that there was still ''a slight remaining chance of success.''
After the tide started to turn against Mr. Mossadegh, Mr. Roosevelt got one of the coup leaders, Gen. Fazlollah Zahedi, out of hiding and he made a radio address to the nation that brought the forces over to the shah's side.
It was the C.I.A.'s first successful overthrow of a foreign government, and the shah stayed in power until the Islamic revolution of 1979.
''For an operation to last 25 years is not so bad,'' one of Mr. Roosevelt's C.I.A. colleagues, Samuel Halpern, said today. ''It fell apart. Every operation cannot go on forever.''
Mr. Roosevelt was a grandson of President Theodore Roosevelt and a distant cousin of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. He was born in Buenos Aires, where his father, also named Kermit, was a banker and shipping line official, and he grew up in Oyster Bay, N.Y., near Theodore Roosevelt's Long Island home at Sagamore Hill.
In 1937, Mr. Roosevelt graduated a year ahead of his class at Harvard and married Mary Lowe Gaddis. Mrs. Roosevelt, who lived in the retirement community with her husband, survives him, as do their three sons, another Kermit, of Washington; Jonathan, of Sudbury, Mass., and Mark, of Brookline, Mass.; a daughter, Anne Mason of Chevy Chase, Md.; a brother, Joseph Willard Roosevelt of Orient, N.Y.; and seven grandchildren.
The younger Kermit Roosevelt noted today that the tradition of naming boys Kermit, without a differing middle name or a Jr. or a Roman numeral, could be confusing. He added that alternate Kermits were also known as Kim, and that was the case of his spy father.
That Kim Roosevelt dealt with the notorious Kim Philby when Mr. Philby served in Washington as Britain's liaison to American intelligence during the cold war. Mr. Philby later turned up in Moscow, escaping just as British counterintelligence was closing in on him as a Soviet spy.
The younger Mr. Roosevelt said today, ''Philby once said of my father, 'He was the last person you'd expect to be up to his neck in dirty tricks.' ''
Mrs. Roosevelt added that her husband never told her what he had done during World War II, when he was in the Office of Strategic Services, the forerunner to the C.I.A.
''That was spook talk,'' she said. ''He didn't talk spooks to me.''
His son said today that he thought his father was involved in planning the invasion of Italy.
After graduating from Harvard, Mrs. Roosevelt said, her husband ''tried to teach history to the techy boys at Cal Tech,'' and then entered the military during World War II.
After the war, Mr. Roosevelt stayed on in the intelligence agency and wrote and edited the history of the Office of Strategic Services. After leaving government, he represented American companies in the Middle East and worked in Washington as a lobbyist for foreign governments, including the shah's.



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