Iran: Declassified


These files on Iran highlight, among other things, the UK’s role in the 1953 coup and support for the Shah’s brutal ‘security’ service, Savak, in the 1960s and 70s. Also, recent secret collaboration with Israel over Iran.


1953 coup

The Battle for Iran, 1953: Re-Release of CIA Internal History’ (National Security Archive, 2014)

‘Iran 1953: US Envoy to Baghdad Suggested to Fleeing Shah He Not Acknowledge Foreign Role in Coup’ (National Security Archive, 2014)

Release of US files on Iran, 1953 (14 Documents, National Security Archive, 2013)

FCO, Documents on the Release of Files from 1953 (National Security Archive, 19 August 2013)

‘Mohammad Mosaddeq and the 1953 Coup in Iran’ (National Security Archive, 2004)

‘The secret CIA history of the Iran coup, 1953’ (National Security Archive, 2000)


1960s and 1970s

Iran, 1964-79 (Mark Curtis files from the National Archives)



‘US embassy cables: Foreign Office talks tough on Iran’ (US Embassy, UK, 23 May 2008)

‘US embassy cables: British envoy tutors US on negotiating with Iran’ (US Embassy, UK, 30 November 2007)

Permanent Under Secretary’s Planning Committee, ‘Country assessment sheets’, 1974 (click here)


1953 coup

Mark Curtis, The coup in Iran, 1953 (Extract from Web of Deceit, 2003)

Mark Curtis, Iran 1953: Working with the Ayatollah (Extract from Secret Affairs, 2012)

‘CIA documents acknowledge its role in Iran’s 1953 coup’ (BBC, 20 August 2013)

‘Declassified Documents Reveal CIA Role In 1953 Iranian Coup’ (NPR, 1 September 2013)

‘British diplomats tried to suppress details of MI6 role in Iran coup’ (Telegraph, 19 August 2013)

‘Are British Authorities Still Trying to Hide Role in 1953 Iran Coup?’  (Descrier, 20 August 2013),

‘Iran 1953: The Strange Odyssey of Kermit Roosevelt’s Countercoup’(National Security Archive, 12 May 2014)

‘The Battle for Iran, 1953: Re-Release of CIA Internal History Spotlights New Details about anti-Mosaddeq Coup’ (National Security Archive, 27 June 2014)

‘Have the British Been Meddling with the FRUS Retrospective Volume on 1953?’(National Security Archive, 19 August 2013)

‘The Secret CIA History of the Iran Coup’, 1953’(National Security Archive, 29 November 2000)


Shah/Khomeini, 1970s

Mark Curtis, Islamic Revolution in Iran: Cultivating, then Arming the Ayatollah  (Extract from Secret Affairs, 2012)

‘The Shah? He’s as safe as houses …’ (Telegraph, 30 December 2008)

‘Papers reveal Britain’s anxiety over Iranian Shah’ (BBC, 30 December 2009)

‘How Britain told deposed Shah of Iran to stay away’ (Guardian, 30 December 2009)

‘Thatcher files show how Iran’s Shah was denied UK asylum’ (Guardian, 21 July 2016)

‘US had extensive contact with Ayatollah Khomeini before Iran revolution’ (Guardian, 10 June 2016)

‘Campaigners reveal extent of British support to the Shah’s Iran’ (Jubilee Debt Campaign, 2 September 2013)


‘National Archives 1980: SAS to be given immunity for killing foreigners’ (Guardian, 30 December 2010)

Was this man Britain’s Irangate fixer?‘ (Independent, 28 October 1994)



‘British agents helped Iran to make killer gas’ (Guardian, 13 June 1999)


‘Leaked Snowden documents reveals Israel, US, UK intel cooperation on Iran’ (Breaking News Israel, 25 February 2015)


‘The Top-Secret Cold War Plan to Keep Soviet Hands Off Middle Eastern Oil’ (Politico, 23 June 2016)

‘Britain Considered Nuking Middle East Oil Fields if USSR Invaded, Documents Show’ (National Security Archive, 23 June 2016)

‘WikiLeaks cables: UK blocked $60m arms deal over fears of Iran link’ (Guardian, 23 February 2011)

‘Briton teaches US diplomats how to talk to Iran’ (Guardian, 28 November 2010)