Iran Passes Bill to Sue U.S. for Involvement in 1953 Military Coup

Darrin Simmons
Impunity Watch Reporter, Middle East

TEHRAN, Iran—Preliminary approval has been given by the Iranian Parliament to a bill that will allow the Government to sue the United States for its connection to the 1953 coup overthrowing Iran’s democratically elected Prime Minister, Minister Mossadegh.

Iranian Parliament meets to discuss to possibility of suing the United States (photo courtesy of Global Post)

The coup, which reinstated exiled Shah Mohammed Reza—later again deposed during the 1979 Iranian Revolution—was code-named Operation TPAJAX.  Information regarding the coup recently surfaced from newly declassified documents offering more information about the CIA’s involvement of the overthrow of Mossadegh.

The document, titled “The Battle for Iran”, describes how the military coup was carried out under the direction of the CIA as an act of U.S. foreign policy at the highest levels of government.  Lawmakers claim the documents prove a history of U.S. bad intentions towards Iran.

Lawmaker Mahdi Mousavinejad stated, “America’s oppressive behavior shows that the Iranian nation has to stand up and pursue its trampled rights,” in support of Iran taking legal action to ensure U.S. responsibility for the coup.

However, other lawmakers have taken different views about parliament’s passing of the bill.  Mohammad Mahdi Rahbari opposed the bill saying, “Pursuing this bill has no benefits for our country.  It will waste the parliament’s time.”

Iran’s Parliament consists of 290 seats, and of the 196 parliamentarians who were in attendance, 167 voted in favor of the bill while only five opposed it.  The bill establishes a committee to study the process of bringing a lawsuit, and provides for six months to determine if legal action is appropriate.

The possibility of a lawsuit comes amidst ever growing tensions between Iran and the U.S.  In the 1980s, when Shah Reza was hospitalized in the U.S. after being deposed, relations began to crumble.  The US embassy hostage crisis, where pro-revolution partisans held the embassy severed more diplomatic ties.

Iran’s ties to nuclear weapons has also hindered relations, with the West claiming that Iran aims to further develop nuclear weapons to which Iran denies, claiming their nuclear programs are used for peaceful purposes.

At this point, it is unclear whether the lawsuit will ever come to fruition or have any sort of bearing in the international courts.  However, it could open the door for Iran to be susceptible to U.S. lawsuits claiming damages due to the Iranian hostage crisis.

For more information, please see the following: 

Aljazeera-Iran moves to sue US over 1953 coup-August 28, 2013

Business Line-Iran okays bill to sue US over 1953 coup-August 28, 2013

Global Post-Iran debates suing US over Mossadegh coup in 1953-August 28, 2013

Washington Post-Iran’s parliament approves bill to sue US over 1953 coup involvement-August 28, 2013

Author: Darrin Simmons

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