The US State Department has held up the release of a volume of its history that deals with the CIA-backed overthrow of Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh in 1953 out of concern that publication could undermine the nuclear talks with the Islamic Republic.
The decision was made at a September meeting of the department’s advisory committee on historical diplomatic documentation and recorded in minutes released last week. The foreign relations records are supposed to be released after three decades. Many are delayed several years because of the work involved and the few historians available to prepare the volumes. But this particular volume is now more than three decades late.
Stephen Randolph, the department’s historian, said the volume on US policy in Iran would be withheld “because of ongoing negotiations with Iran.” Richard Immerman, a Temple University professor who chairs the committee, expressed frustration with the decision.
This delay deals exclusively with State Department records. It is an issue entirely separate from the CIA history of the 1953 coup, which was written decades ago and whose release has been postponed time and time again.
However, a great deal about the US effort has been released or leaked over the years so it isn’t clear if there is anything sensational left to come out. The concern seems to be that hardliners in Tehran will use any release, even if there is nothing new, to condemn negotiations with the United States and demand an end to the nuclear talks.