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Donald Newton Wilber (November 14, 1907, Wisconsin – February 2, 1997, Princeton, New Jersey), American writer and spy.

Wilber was a principal architect of the CIA project "Operation Ajax", a successful plot to overthrow the government of Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadeq. The plot replaced Iran's first democratically elected Prime Minister with General Fazlollah Zahedi; the government fell back into the hands of its disempowered Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, who had supported the coup.

An excerpt from, "Iranian Ulama & the CIA: The Key Alliance Behind the 1953 Iranian Coup D'état" By Anthony Lucey, 2019, History in the Making: Vol. 12, Article 8:

At the time, and for many years following the coup d’état which overthrew Prime Minister Mossadeq almost no one, outside of British and US intelligence and their Iranian operatives and collaborators, would have ever dreamed that this horrific scene was entirely fabricated, designed, and orchestrated by a new world power—the United States of America and their top intelligence agency, the CIA. Hard to believe as it might be, this is no movie scene, but a sad narrative that lies at the heart of modern US-Iranian relations.

This research seeks to shed light on the relationship between the CIA and prominent Islamic religious figures and their participation in the 1953 Iranian coup. This work will draw much of its information from declassified CIA documents like CIA Operative Dr. Donald Wilber’s contemporary historical account titled “Overthrow of Premier Mossadeq of Iran, November 1952 –August 1953,” CIA Historian Claud Corrigan’s “The Battle for Iran,” CIA Staff Historian Steve Koch’s more recent CIA history titled “Zendebad Shah!,” as well as the newly declassified British memorandums titled “Persia: Political Review of the Recent Crisis,” which provides key information regarding the payoffs of Iranian clerics by the CIA as well the expectations the CIA held for those clerics in return for said payoffs, the actions taken by both the CIA and key members of the Ulama, and the roles played by prominent groups and individuals throughout the major sectors of Iranian society. This research aims to deepen and enhance our understanding of the inner workings of the CIA, their role within the unfortunate tale of the 1953 coup, the motivating factors behind the CIA involvement, as well as the contributions of Iran’s own religious elites towards the toppling of Dr. Mossadeq.

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