US President Barack Obama made a major gesture of conciliation to Iran on Thursday when he admitted US involvement in the 1953 coup which overthrew the government of Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh.
“In the middle of the Cold War, the United States played a role in the overthrow of a democratically elected Iranian government,” Obama said during his keynote speech to the Muslim world in Cairo.
It is the first time a serving US president has publicly admitted American involvement in the coup.
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The CIA, with British backing, masterminded the coup after Mossadegh nationalised the oil industry, run until then in by the British-owned Anglo-Iranian Oil Company.
For many Iranians, the coup demonstrated duplicity by the United States, which presented itself as a defender of freedom but did not hesitate to use underhand methods to get rid of a democratically elected government to suit its own economic and strategic interests.