The Guardian | Vanessa Thorpe: Documentary reveals evidence confirming a British spy’s role in restoring the Shah in 1953 – and how the Observer exposed the plot
The hidden role of a British secret service officer who led the coup that permanently altered the Middle East is to be revealed for the first time since an Observer news story was suppressed in 1985.
The report, headlined “How MI6 and CIA joined forces to plot Iran coup”, appeared in the 26 May edition but was swiftly quashed. It exposed the fact that an MI6 man, Norman Darbyshire, had run a covert and violent operation to reinstate the Shah of Iran as ruler of the country in 1953. Yet just a few days after the newspaper came out, all fresh evidence of this British operation and of Darbyshire’s identity disappeared from public debate.
“We still do not know who leaked this to the Observer originally, or why,” said film-maker Taghi Amirani this weekend, ahead of the release of his documentary, Coup 53. “We only know that any record of the interview with Darbyshire quickly disappeared and no one followed up the story. It smacks of a complete cover-up of British involvement to this day.”
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