President Obama Thursday became the first president to acknowledge responsibility for the 1953 CIA-led coup that overthrew the elected prime minister of Iran, Mohammed Mossadegh.
"In the middle of the Cold War, the United States played a role in the overthrow of a democratically-elected Iranian government," Mr. Obama said, alluding to the 1953 coup. Funded and egged on by the CIA, Iranian monarchists removed Mr. Mossadegh - who had nationalized a British-owned oil company. The coup reinstalled Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, an autocratic ruler who was subsequently overthrown in a popular revolution in 1979.
Until Thursday, the most senior U.S. official to express regret for the coup was Madeleine Albright in 2000 when she was secretary of State.