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Kermit Roosevelt, Jr.

Born: 16-Feb-1916
Birthplace: Buenos Aires, Argentina
Died: 8-Jun-2000
Location of death: Cockeysville, MD [1]
Cause of death: Stroke
Remains: Cremated

Gender: Male
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Government, Spy

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: 1953 Iran coup

Kermit Roosevelt, Jr. was in charge of the CIA's Near East and Africa Division, and the planner behind Operation Ajax, the CIA's 1953 overthrow of the Iranian government. The coup d'état, authorized by US President Dwight D. Eisenhower, began with US operatives staging riots in the streets of Tehran, and ended with the toppling of Iran's democratically elected Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh and installation of Reza Shah Pahlavi as Iranian head of state. The Shah later told Roosevelt, "I owe my throne to God, my people, my army — and to you". The Shah's increasingly repressive regime was overthrown by Islamic fundamentalist in 1979.

Roosevelt's 1953 mission, classified at the time, was seen in Washington as a Cold War triumph, rescuing Iran from the Soviet Union's sphere of influence and ensuring a reliable supply of oil from a US-friendly nation. The coup, however, yielded numerous unanticipated and unwanted after-effects, leading to the CIA's coining of the term "blowback", meaning unintended, harmful consequences of a covert action. After leaving the CIA, Roosevelt worked as a Gulf Oil executive and, later was a Washington lobbyist for foreign governments. His grandfather was US President Theodore Roosevelt.


[1] Broadmead Retirement Community

Father: Kermit Roosevelt (b. 10-Oct-1889, d. 4-Jun-1943 suicide)
Mother: Belle Willard Roosevelt (b. 1892, m. 1914, d. 1968)
Brother: Joseph Willard Roosevelt (b. 16-Jan-1918, d. 18-May-2008)
Brother: Dirck Roosevelt (b. 11-Jan-1925, d. 6-Jan-1952)
Sister: Belle Wyatt Roosevelt (b. 10-Nov-1919, d. 1-May-1985)
Wife: Mary Lowe Gaddis Roosevelt ("Polly", b. circa 1918, m. 1937)
Son: Kermit Roosevelt, Jr. (attorney)
Son: Mark Roosevelt (Pittsburgh school official, b. 1955)
Son: Jonathan Roosevelt
Daughter: Anne Mason Roosevelt

    University: Harvard University (1938)
    Professor: Harvard University
    Professor: California Institute of Technology

    Northrop
    Raytheon
    Gulf Oil Vice President (1960-70)
    CIA employee Near East and Africa Division Bureau Chief
    OSS Agent
    African Wildlife Foundation Co-Founder (1961)
    Stroke 8-Jun-2000 (fatal)
    Roosevelt Family

Author of books:
Arabs, Oil and History: The Story of the Middle East (1949)
Countercoup: The Struggle for the Control of Iran (1979, memoir)


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