Impact | Insights
In 1951, Mohammad Mosaddegh became the democratically elected Prime Minister of Iran with a promise to nationalize the oil industry, a policy that would cost him his post as soon as the colonial powers realized he was serious about it. Digging into this still under-reported but epochal geopolitical turning point, Taghi Amirani comes across a fascinating nugget, a scoop-that-never-was, involving an ex-MI6 agent eager to stake his claim to history (and voiced here by Ralph Fiennes), TV censorship so covert even the show’s producer seems unsure it ever happened, and keen-eyed film detective work led by one of the most lauded editors in modern cinema, Walter Murch (The Conversation, Apocalypse Now, The English Patient).
Murch, who shares a co-writer credit with Amirani here, also figures on-screen as the filmmakers come across a long-forgotten TV documentary which may just unlock one of the unspoken enigmas of the 1953 coup: the extent of the British government’s involvement. This is material worthy of John le Carré, lifting the lid on the lies and hypocrisy which have governed Western policy in the Middle East (and beyond) for the best part of a century, and the intelligence apparatus which sustained those lies for so long.