CIA Operations in Iran and Guatemala by Jake & Sarah


  • A fierce nationalist, Mosaddeq immediately began attacks on British oil companies. His actions brought him into conflict with the pro-Western elites of Iran and the Shah.
  • British intelligence sources came to the conclusion that Mossadeq had communist intentions and would move Iran into Soviet power if allowed to stay in power.
  • Working with Shah, the CIA and British intelligence began to engineer a plot to overthrow Mossadeq
  • Thanks to the CIA Mossadeq was arrested, served three years in prison. his made the Shah one of America’s most trusted Cold War allies, and U.S. economic and military aid poured into Iran during the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s.
"There is no longer good reason to keep secrets about such a critical episode in our recent past. The basic facts are widely known to every school child in Iran. Suppressing the details only distorts the history, and feeds into myth-making on all sides." -Archive Deputy Director Malcolm Byrne


  • U.S government staged a coup d’etat in 1954 to overthrow Jacobo Arbenz, a vicious "president." The government found Carlos Armas to be best fit for the job.
  • Armas lead a revolution to overthrow Guatemalan government.
  • Once he became President, Armas introduced minimum wage and universal suffrage.
  • Unfortunately, he quickly became a dictator who tortured and killed Guatemalan civilians. He also reversed the changes he made during the revolution.
  • In an effort to rationalize their decision to support Armas, the CIA began looking for Soviet ties to Guatemala.
  • The U.S.’s attempt to make Guatemala into a democracy failed and actually made it harder for a true democracy to be introduced.
  • Castillo’s dictatorship led to a civil war and the Guatemalan genocide where around 170,000 civillians were killed.

Why This is Important

These operations left a large impact on the world that can still be seen today. The CIA's involvement in Iran led to instability in governments in the Middle East. This instability could possibly be responsible for the Iraqi War. The failed attempt to introduce a democratic government in Guatemala received a lot of criticism because it allowed a dangerous dictator to commit genocide. The U.S. government does not want to risk another failure so Guatemala does not have a very good chance of becoming a true democracy.


Created with images by JD Hancock - "Spying Turquoise" • D-Stanley - "Masjed-e Shah Mosque" • mockney_piers - "two towers"

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