Iranian legislators have taken the first step towards suing the United States government over recent disclosures confirming that the US helped orchestrate the 1953 ousting of Iran’s democratically elected Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh.
Parliament members in Iran voted 167-to-5 on Wednesday on a measure giving preliminary approval over a bill which will mandate that the government file suit against the US.
Next, a committee could be launched in order to study the issue and report its findings, at which point legal action could come in six months’ time in an international court.
The news comes only days after a Central Intelligence Agency document from the 1970s was declassified, in turn confirming 60 years after the fact that the US aided in the overthrow of PM Mossadegh.
“American and British involvement in Mossadegh’s ouster has long been public knowledge, but today’s posting includes what is believed to be the CIA’s first formal acknowledgement that the agency helped to plan and execute the coup,” the US National Security Archive said upon the declassification of the documents.
“The military coup that overthrew Mosaddeq and his National Front cabinet was carried out under CIA direction as an act of US foreign policy, conceived and approved at the highest levels of government,” the document, "The Battle for Iran," reads in part.
The overthrow of Mossadegh was conducted under the codename “Operation TPAJAX,” according to "The Battle for Iran," and would have been authorized by then-President Dwight Eisenhower. It ended with a coup that saw the democratically elected leader removed from office and replaced by the regime of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, who ultimately was overthrown as well during the 1979 Iranian Revolution.
The Eisenhower administration also assisted in the overthrow of Guatemalan President Jacobo Árbenz Guzmán in 1954 and the planning of the Bay of Pigs invasion, later taken over by President John F Kennedy.
For America’s role in the Iranian coup, an overwhelming majority of the Parliament said the US should be held accountable.
"America's oppressive behavior (in 1953) shows that the Iranian nation has to stand up and pursue its trampled rights," lawmaker Mahdi Mousavinejad said, according to the Associated Press.
Others, however, have suggested taking the US to any international court of the matter would be futile.
"Pursuing this bill has no benefits for our country. It will waste the parliament's time," parliamentarian Mohammad Mahdi Rahbari told the AP.
The action also comes at a time where tensions between the US and Iran have been strained due to a number of issues, but also on the eve of a likely military strike by America and its allies against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who has garnered the support of China, Russia and Iran.
US President Barack Obama is expected to say in the coming days what action the US will take against Assad’s regime over “undeniable” reports, according to the White House, that the Syrian leader used chemical gas against hundreds of civilians outside of Damascus on August 21. Should a military strike be launched, the US is expected to receive support from the UK, France and Turkey.