If Iran falls...

TPBEDAMN after the Coup

In the months after the coup, CIA officers continued to use the TPBEDAMN network to carry out propaganda activities aimed at strengthening the new, post-Mosaddeq regime. These activities emphasized themes such as the continuing [End Page 20] danger posed by the Tudeh Party, alleged links between Mosaddeq and the Tudeh, the virtues of the monarchy, and the benefits Iran would receive from the new oil agreement then being negotiated. Some of these propaganda activities were carried out in coordination with the new head of Iran's press and propaganda bureau, Esfandiar Bozorgmehr, as called for in the CIA's plan to overthrow Mosaddeq. The Tehran CIA station also carried out a few ad-hoc covert political action operations during this period that may have involved the TPBEDAMN network in some way, such as an effort to suppress lingering pro-Mosaddeq sentiment in the Tehran bazaar and activities aimed at securing the victory of pro-Zahedi candidates in the February 1954 parliamentary elections. However, with Mosaddeq now in prison, along with most of his close collaborators and thousands of National Front and Tudeh supporters, these actions may have been unnecessary.

As the post-Mosaddeq era unfolded, the CIA ended or scaled back all of its covert operations aimed at domestic targets in Iran, including both TPBEDAMN and the ad-hoc operations undertaken by CIA personnel in the months after the coup. Instead, U.S. intelligence officials sought to build or strengthen the capacity of the Iranian government to carry out these sorts of activities by itself. This involved two main Iranian government bodies. First, the CIA sent a U.S. Army colonel to Iran several weeks after the coup to work with the military governor of Tehran, General Teymur Bakhtiar, to set up and train a new, modern intelligence agency. The unit evolved into the notorious State Information and Security Organization, created in late 1956 and known by its Persian acronym SAVAK. Second, CIA officers continued to work with Bozorgmehr's press and propaganda bureau to improve its ability to carry out informational activities to strengthen the new regime. These initiatives paralleled various activities undertaken in Iran by the U.S. Department of Defense, the predecessors to the U.S. Agency for International Development, and other U.S. government agencies in the mid-1950s, all aimed at strengthening the Iranian government's capacity to maintain stability. The CIA continued to carry out covert operations in Iran, but the main focus of these operations shifted back to the Soviet Union and its allies, as it had been before Mosaddeq's premiership.

As this transition played out, the TPBEDAMN operation became less [End Page 21] useful and eventually was terminated, although the CIA apparently did continue to carry out some propaganda activities in Iran through other channels. Jalali emigrated to California at some point, having become wealthy enough to do so, while Kayvani apparently remained in Iran. Their role in the 1953 coup remained secret until Roosevelt revealed it to Farhad Diba, the author of a 1986 biography of Mosaddeq, and their names appeared in a CIA history of the coup that was leaked to The New York Times in 2000. Both were still alive in 1984, and Jalali apparently had returned to Iran, at least temporarily. I have not been able to determine what happened to them subsequently.

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