Operation Ajax, also known as Operation Boot and The TPAJAX Project, was the codename for a State terrorism campaign undertaken by the governments of the United States of America and the United Kingdom of Britain and Ireland to overthrow the democratically elected government of Iran intended to consolidate the reign of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi in order to protect Western interests.
In the 19th Century, Iran was caught between the advancing imperial powers of Britain and Russia, both of which sought to gain control. In 1872, a representative of British oil boss Paul Reuter met with Iranian Shah Naser al-Din Shah Qajar and agreed to fund his upcoming trip to America in return for exclusive business contracts, but the deal was ultimately derailed by violent resistance from the Iranian people and the Russians. Britain later gained a more permanent oil deal with Iran in 1901. However, hatred of this arrangement resulted in the power of the Shah being limited so that this could not happen again without the government's consent.
In 1949, Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi was injured when a man attempted to assassinate him. Shocked, the Shah organized the Iran Constituent Assembly to amend the Iranian constitution to increase his power. However, Mohammad Mosaddegh disagreed with this and formed a party known as the National Front to oppose Pahlavi, with one of the group's biggest goals being the nationalization of oil. They won the election and Mosaddegh became prime minister. In 1951, he successfully nationalized Iranian oil and attempted to negotiate better oil agreements with the UK and USA. As a result, the countries imposed blockades and sanctions on Iran in order to force them to stick to their terms.
By 1953, Mosaddegh had begun acting more like a dictator, ordering the imprisonment of his political opponents and eventually dissolving Parliament and giving himself power to pass laws undemocratically and stripping Pahlavi of his power. The UK and USA used this to convince Pahlavi to agree to allow them to assist in a coup against Mosaddegh, who they sought to overthrow due to his nationalization of oil.
Operation Ajax began when the CIA drew up plans for Pahlavi to sack Mosaddegh and replace him with a Pahlavi loyalist. However, a communist party discovered the plot and warned Mosaddegh, who stopped the plan. Figuring out what had happened, Mosaddegh ordered that the CIA be expelled from Iran, but MI6 intervened and prevented the CIA from receiving the message. Mosaddegh also ordered Pahlavi's arrest for his involvement in the attempted coup, forcing him to flee.
Following this failure, the CIA introduced a new approach of sending funding to Pahlavi loyalists working to start a rebellion against Mosaddegh. This took the form of disguising insurgents as members of the Communist party that tipped Mosaddegh off about the first attempted coup and having them rally the actual party members to riot and attack symbols of Capitalism. This resulted in the Iranians fighting against the Communists, who Mosaddegh was known to have supported in the past, and ultimately defeating them and storming Tehran. Mosaddegh fled, but ultimately handed himself in and was imprisoned. Pahlavi then took his position again and once again increased his power, as well as handing Iran's oil monopoly over to Britain and America as a reward for their involvement in the coup.