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Title: US political intelligence and American policy on Iran, 1950-1979
Author: Donovan, Michael Patrick
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2000
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This Ph.D. thesis examines United States political intelligence in regard to the regime of Muhammad Reza Shah Pahlvai, the Shah of Iran, the accuracy of this intelligence, and it's influence on American policy from 1950-1979. Based on archival material, declassified documents, and interviews with relevant personalities, this thesis seeks to chronicle nearly three decades of intelligence analysis on the factors governing political stability in Iran, and establish the veracity of this analysis vis-à-vis the historical record. In the early 1950s, American intelligence operatives contributed to the overthrow of the nationalist government in Iran headed by Dr. Muhammad Musaddiq, and the restoration to a position of authority of the Shah. In its exploration of the motives behind the 1953 covert political intervention to unseat Musaddiq, the thesis finds that the Eisenhower administration acted out of a set of Cold War priorities that included the need to maintain cohesion in the Anglo-American special relationship and fears of Iranian neutrality. In doing so, the United States gained a pliant ally, but one who's power base was tenuous. By the end of the Eisenhower administration, intelligence analysts concluded that, in the absence of significant economic and political reform, the Shah's regime had become so unstable as to virtually guarantee revolutionarily change. Acting on a broad consensus among the intelligence community about the regime's weaknesses, the Kennedy administration sought to bolster the government with limited financial and political support while encouraging reform. American pressure on this front led the Shah, in 1963, to announce the "White Revolution", a six point program for reform designed to shift the monarch's base of support from the traditional ruling elite to the lower classes. While American policymakers viewed to program as a progressive step forward, intelligence analysts were included to view the reforms as ill-conceived and designed largely to consolidate power in the hands of the Shah.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available