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When Britain blocks Iran history

New documentary ‘Coup 53’ has stirred up controversy over the depiction of the covert British intervention in Iran.

New documentary ‘Coup 53’ narrating the covert British intervention in Iran after World War II has stirred up controversy over depicting an MI6 spy.  

According to an article by The Guardian, the doc’s general release has been blocked by so-called angry complaints from the likes of British TV producer Brian Lapping.

“They allege the film undermines their reputations by suggesting they kept government secrets when they first told the story on television in 1985 in the landmark Channel 4 series ‘End of Empire’, made by Granada TV,” the article said.

It is, however, notable that Iranian-born British documaker Taghi Amirani’s ‘Coup 53’ is heralded by critics as “powerful” and judged by historians as crucial to understanding historical events.

'Coup 53' stars BAFTA-winner Ralph Fiennes as an MI6 spy in a reconstruction of a key incident while the director has to change important parts for the public release of his new offering.

The doc charters MI6's role in the 1950s coup against the democratically elected Iranian prime minister, Mohammad Mossadegh. Lapping, however, alleged that the doc implies the UK government’s demand to remove an interview with an MI6 officer from the series.

No matter the dispute, the British secret service provocation of the Iranian coup d’etat of 1953 is undisputable. Such reactions could be interpreted as pressure from the UK government to ban the doc in a subtle manner.

Historical documents show how in 1953, the British MI6 and the American CIA staged a military coup to topple the government of Iranian prime minister Mosaddegh. The cover-up by the British TV producers is the latest twist of such an important incident to whitewash Britain’s treachery in Iran.  

Made over 10 years in cooperation with academy-award winner Walter Murch who is the celebrated editor of 'Apocalypse Now', the doc has been featured in several international festivals.