Dr. Mohammad Mossadegh was Iran’s prime minister elected as such by the Iranian Parliament at a time when parliamentary elections were in fact considered legitimate in Iran. For millions of Iranians he symbolizes Iranian sovereignty and patriotism. During his short tenure in office (April 1951-August 1953) he managed to implement the legislation (which he had spearheaded in Parliament) that nationalized the oil industry, ending almost 50 years of British monopoly over Iran’s petroleum excavation, extraction, research, marketing and sales.
In a now infamous covert military operation known as “Operation Ajax” (referred to as the Coup in Iranian,) British and American intelligence services, with the help of Iranian elements, used rogue elements in the military and removed him from office on Aug. 19, 1953 (28 Mordad 1332). After the Coup he was court-martialed and sentenced to three years in prison. In an illegal move even by the regime’s own standards, Shah’s government exiled him to house arrest in a remote village his family owned until his death on March 5, 1967. He was laid to rest inside the dining room of his residence in the village of Ahmadabad in a private ceremony.
Mohammad Mossadegh was one of crown prince Abbas Mirza’s great grandsons. Born in Tehran on June 16, 1882, his father was a finance minister and his mother a Qajar princess. In 1909 he married Zahra Khanom, one of Nasir al-Din Shah’s granddaughters. Mossadegh was educated at Institut d'études politiques de Paris in France and University of Neuchâtel Switzerland where he received his doctorate degree in law in June 1913.
When he returned to Iran he briefly taught at Tehran School of Political Science and then held various posts in government. He served as a member of parliament, governor of the provinces of Fars and Azerbaijan, and became justice, finance and foreign minister at different periods before leading the government as prime minister.
More information about Mohammad Mossadegh:
Excerpt from "Thirty Years of Iran Oil: From Nationalization to Revolution" by Ghobad Fakhimi (PDF)
Iran's widely circulated newspaper featured the Mossadegh Servant Leaders Hall at Northeastern for the first time introducing its mission and history on the 64th anniversary of the Coup.