United States and England teamed up in 1953 to overthrow a democratically elected leader in Iran and replaced him with a figure more sympathetic to our interests.
The man's name was Mohammed Mosaddegh, the Prime Minister of Iran from 1951 - 1953. Mosaddegh would be considered a progressive by American standards as he instituted Social Security, rent control and land reform programs. His biggest claim to fame was his nationalization of the country's oil reserves. Prior to this action, Iran's oil was under the control of British Petroleum, with a dis-proportionate amount of profits being returned to the Iranian people.
Nationalizing the Iranian oil fields was a controversial- move, which was met with great resistance by the British. There was also elements in the Iranian government which disagreed with Mosaddegh's intentions. A very dynamic time for Iran, without question. It seems that the United States was, at first, not inclined to help England in its attempts to reverse the course Mosaddegh had charted, but after President Eisenhower entered office, Winston Churchill, Prime Minister of England convinced the new American President that Iran was almost certainly headed toward Comunism, America agreed to work with the Brits. Ironically, Mosaddegh was on record as not favoring any Socialist styles of Government.
Reporter, Journalist and Author Stephan Kinzer, a veteran of decades of foreign reporting, provides the following insight:
Its anybody's guess what would've happened if the United States had not decided to get involved in the overthrow of the Prime Minister. Would relations have turned as badly as they have? Would some other set of circumstances arisen to create hardships diplomatically between the US and Iran? It does seem that many of the hard feelings that Iran holds towards us go back quite a long time. Keep this history in mind the next you hear about how the United States should get involved in another country's government and politics. Can we imagine how we would react if another Country had gotten involed in our government the way we did with England? We would be outraged and not forget it for a long time, wouldn't we?