In Civility Report 2022, Peace Worldwide Organization Founder Mehdi Alavi reviews all countries within the United Nations and provides human rights, democracy, peace, and civility scores for 193 countries. We urge you to read Civility Report 2022 today.


In Civility Report 2022, Peace Worldwide Organization Founder Mehdi Alavi reviews all countries within the United Nations and provides human rights, democracy, peace, and civility scores for 193 countries. We urge you to read Civility Report 2022 today.


Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. Africa covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area. With 1.0 billion people, it accounts for about 14.72% of the world's human population.


Americas are lands in the Western hemisphere of the world. In English, the plural form of the Americas is often used to refer to the landmasses of North America and South America with their associated islands and regions.


Asia is the world's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres. With approximately 3.879 billion people, it hosts 60% of the world's current human population.


Europe is the world's second-smallest continent by surface area, covering about 10,180,000 square kilometres or 2% of the Earth's surface and about 6.8% of its land area. Yet the borders of Europe, can incorporate cultural and political elements.


The Middle East is a transcontinental region centered on Western Asia, Turkey, and Egypt.

US Neocolonial Era Began in 1953: Even Now it Continues

Flags of the USA and Iran against the background of the blue sky © Dmitrii Shirinkin/

For global peace, it is time for the United States and Britain to stop meddling, conducting coups, and invading other countries. In particular, they should give up “regime change” in Iran and apologize for the 1953 coup. They would mend relations and decrease tensions.

The 1953 MI6 and CIA-led coup in Iran changed the world. It gave absolute power to the Shah but strengthened the resolve of the opposition. In 1979, the Iranian Revolution dethroned the Shah and created an Islamic republic. Despite draconian American sanctions, Iran transitioned from being a lackey of the US to becoming politically self-assured and independent. It has emerged as a regional power challenging the US hegemony in the region. Once totally dependent on the US military supplies and other imports, Iran now produces much of its own weaponry and other products. In fact, its drones are even considered a game-changer in the Russia-Ukraine War.

Since 1979, Iran has challenged the US-led Western countries across the world. For instance, Iran opposed apartheid in South Africa at a time when the US supported the racist regime. In 1992, Nelson Mandela visited Iran and thanked “the Iranian government and nation for their support in the black people’s struggle against apartheid.″

In contrast, the US and its Western allies have supported freedom for white Europeans globally while quietly enslaving or subjugating all others. Popular Congolese leader Patrice Lumumba was eliminated through a 1960 coup supported by Belgium and the US. Washington has historically stood by its European allies when they conducted ethnic cleansing and genocide against Africans. American collaboration with Britain is well known, particularly the British suppression of Kenya’s Mau Mau movement in the 1950s that sought self-determination.

The destructive meddling in affairs of the other countries by the US was formalized with the founding of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in 1947. In June 1948, the CIA was authorized to carry out covert operations in “support of US foreign policy.” Its first and most successful operation was jointly with MI6 in 1953 when it masterminded a coup against Mohammad Mosaddegh, Iran’s first-ever democratically elected prime minister. In the years to come, the US used lessons learned from 1953 to overthrow governments in other countries. Vietnam and Chile are perhaps the two most spectacular examples.

A Tale of Neocolonization and Hypocrisy

After World War II, the Americans have always championed the 1941 Atlantic Charter, a joint US and British declaration, to portray themselves as great supporters of freedom. Its most important features included recognizing the right of people to choose their own form of government, removing trade restrictions, improving labor standards, expanding social programs, renouncing use of force, and reducing armament. The Atlantic Charter deeply influenced the UN Charter that followed after the war.

After the devastation of World War II, the UN was founded in 1945 to save the world from the “scourge of war,” to strengthen “human rights,” to promote “justice,” reinforce “international law” and promote social well-being. Yet the US and Britain have never really honored their commitment to the UN Charter just as they once ignored the Atlantic Charter after the war was over. Just as Britain and the US once promoted the interests of the East India Company and the United Fruit Company (UFC) through their foreign policy, they now support today’s big corporations.

The example of the US acting to support the UFC has become infamous in history. Less than 11 months after the 1953 Iran coup, the CIA-sponsored deposed the democratically elected Guatemalan government. Jacobo Árbenz Guzmán was ousted in a June 1954 coup because, like Mosaddegh, he refused to play ball with a foreign corporation exploiting his country. This coup gave birth to a new word in international politics: “banana republic.”

The same year the US turned Guatemala into a banana republic, the Vietnamese crushed the French at Dien Bien Phu. This triggered American intervention under the guise of the Cold War. The stated aim was to keep out communism. The real goal was to ensure white domination of another non-white country. The US kept its forces in Vietnam for the next 20 years, brutally causing nearly 4 million casualties. American casualties were a relatively low 58,000 but many veterans who served in Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos are still suffering from physical and emotional trauma. The populations of these three countries are still dealing with the consequences of napalm bombing and the use of Agent Orange, which were both forbidden by the Geneva Convention.

Latin America Gets Special Attention

The US has dominated Latin America and treated the region as an informal colony. In 1964, the US and the British supported a military coup in Brazil that deposed the democratically elected Brazilian president Joao Goulart.

In Chile, the US followed the 1954 Guatemala template. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger mounted major clandestine operations against Chilean President Salvador Allende. Eventually, the US backed the 1973 coup and Allende was executed. This US conducted this coup for the Anaconda Copper Company which was a major donor of the Republican party.

No mercy shown even to Cuba, a small Caribbean country. In the 1960s, the CIA attempted to assassinate Fidel Castro numerous times through many means, including the use of organized crime syndicate. The US even tried an invasion at the Bay of Pigs but it turned out to be a disaster.

The failure of its anti-Castro machinations did not stop US operations in Latin America though. In the 1980s, the US supported the military junta in El Salvador with $6 billion to annihilate the insurgency and their supporters. That led to a civil war that lasted 12 years, causing many deaths and destruction. In the 1980s, the Irangate scandal hit the Reagan administration. Congressional inquiries revealed that the US had illegally sold weapons to Iran and used the profit to fund Contra rebels against Sandinistas in Nicaragua.

The Contras’ story becomes even more interesting. In 1981, the US backed Manuel Noriega who became the military dictator of Panama. Noriega was a conduit of money and weapons to the Contras. When Noriega was no longer useful, the US cut him off its payroll in 1988 and overthrew him in 1989.

The US Record Elsewhere

As for Asia, nobody should be surprised that the US supported Pakistan against India in the 1971 India-Pakistan War. Kissinger covered up the Pakistani mass rape, murders and other atrocities in East Pakistan, which is now Bangladesh. The ruthless American diplomat justified support for Pakistan as essential for better relations with China. He also justified bombing Cambodia and Laos for pressuring North Vietnam. Remember Kissinger also caused Allende’s execution. Yet the Nobel Committee gave such a megalomaniac and international criminal the Peace Prize in 1973.

From 1945 to 1990, the CIA backed anti-communists to go on a rampage and kill communists in at least 22 countries. It began in Indonesia in 1965. The military killed a million Indonesians on the mere suspicion of being communists or left-wing. After the bloodbath, General Suharto emerged as the country’s leader and became president in 1967.

Today, we vividly remember 9/11. Yet few question the US role in creating those terrorists. The US wanted Afghanistan to be the Vietnam for the Soviets. In the 1980s, the US backed the most violent Muslims from around the world who flocked to fight a jihad in Afghanistan. They became known as the mujahideen and delivered a crushing defeat to the Soviets. President Ronald Reagan met with them in the Oval Office. Later, these jihadis formed al-Qaeda, al-Nusrat, ISIS, and other terrorist groups who have been causing deaths and destruction since.

In January 2020, the US killed Iranian General Qassim Soleimani when he was on his way to meet the Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul Mahdi. Soleimani had helped defeat ISIS and his execution triggered anger in the Middle East. Additionally, it also set a precedent for killing diplomats and has put in danger US diplomats around the world. From the days of the 2003 Iraq War, US actions have often been reckless, endangering peace consistently.

In the case of Iran, the US has acted most unwisely. For decades, it has been trying to initiate “regime change.” The US has imposed draconian sanctions on the country and caused untold suffering. Few Americans realize that over 98% of Iranians voted to create an Islamic republic in 1979.

The US supports Ukraine in the name of freedom and democracy. Yet the key reason for this support to do so is to weaken Russia. The US has imposed sanctions against Russia and supplied weapons to Ukraine to weaken Russian President Vladimir Putin. Yet Putin’s popularity reached 81% at the end of last year while US President Joe Biden’s approval rating dropped to 44%.

The US funds that have been spent on regime change and military operations have caused economic pain, violence and suffering around the world. These funds could have been used to eliminate poverty and improve infrastructure at home.

Over the years, these policies have taken a toll on the reputation of the US. Ayatollah Khamenei once referred to the US as the Great Satan. Many others around the world may not agree with that description but share the ayatollah’s anti-American sentiment. To improve its global standing, the US must stop meddling in other countries or invading them. It could begin with mending relations with Iran and apologizing for the 1953 coup. Instead of acting as a domineering hegemon, the US must work with other nations to enhance freedom and peace for all humanity.

By Mehdi Alavi

This article was first published by Fair Observer.


What You Need to Know About the US Presidency

The US has projected itself as the global leader of democracy through its worldwide mass media, huge economy and lavish military expenditures. A close look contradicts that notion and reveals that the country needs extensive reforms before claiming to be truly democratic. The presidency itself needs reforms.

The White House – The official residence of the President of the United States in Washington, D.C. lit by the setting sun in the evening. © solomonjee /

Despite its repeated and resolute claims to being a thriving democracy, the US has never been truly democratic. While the Western superpower does have some features of democracy, so have many authoritarian regimes, such as Azerbaijan, Chad, Russia and Venezuela to name a few.

In my previous article, I discussed how the two domineering political parties enjoy overweening perks and privileges. This two-party duopoly over power undermines democratic ideals. In a supposedly representative democracy, people’s elected officials are supposed to consider people’s ideas, interests, concerns and welfare. Instead, US elected officials are indebted to megadoners who finance their elections. So, they serve those who pay for their election campaigns, not the people who vote for them.

In my other article, I evaluated the ways in which the rich and the “deep state” have manipulated US elections. They have brought politicians under their thumbs, and the American two-party system—which George Washington famously warned against—is now more corrupt than ever before. This system is unlikely to last very long and the 2021 insurrection that stormed the US Capitol is proof of the fragility of American democracy.

In this article, I shine the light on the problems with the US presidency and why its selection process is affront to democracy. The president is not elected by the popular votes but chosen by electors whose royalties are to the two political parties and not the people.

Over the years, the presidential electoral process has become incorrigibly corrupt. The 2010 Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission has made money critical to campaigns. Since that infamous decision, corporate entities and wealthy institutions/people can donate unlimited money to elections. The presidential campaign has become so expensive that the candidates compete to please the rich. Without enough finance, no politician can run a campaign and win. Candidates with low ethical values willing to sell their royalty to the rich end up pursuing the presidency. Those with the most money usually win. This is catastrophic.

It is clear, the presidency needs major reforms. The public agrees: in a 2020 Pew survey, two-thirds of American adults took this view.

Do You Understand Presidential Election Process

The US president is chosen by the Electoral College (EC) whose members are chosen by the Democratic and Republican political parties. All other political parties are left out. The EC was not in the 1788 US Constitution, but the concept was ratified in the 12th Amendment under “electors” in 1804. To chiefly address the issues arising from that amendment, the 20th Amendment also known as “Lame Duck Amendment” was ratified 1933. This second amendment let the vice president-elect to rise to presidency if the president-elect dies before taking the office. In case both president and vice president are found unfit, it also gives the US Congress authority to select an acting president until a president or vice president can be selected.

Unfortunately, the 1804 election process is still continuing. The mere fact that Donald Trump became the US president-elect in 2016 despite getting substantially less popular votes than Hillary Clinton has demonstrated that getting the majority of the votes does not matter. To win, a candidate needs a majority in the EC. Trump was chosen to be the US president by the EC whose members’ first loyalty is to the two political parties, which depend on the support from the rich. What is true for Trump is also true for George W. Bush. In 2000, he became president even though Al Gore won more votes.

Given such results, you may even wonder why we have presidential elections. The pseudo-elections remain because the rich, the “deep state,” want them to legitimize the process in the eye of the voters and delude them into thinking they are participating in a democratic process. However, the rich are selective in choosing and financing candidates. To ensure high return on their investments, they seek the candidates based on their charisma and cunning to entertain and excite people. Unfortunately, they do not give much attention to the candidates’ qualifications, experience, expertise, management skills or sometimes even physical and mental health to lead the nation for a better future for all Americans. In recent years, the US has had presidents like George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump, none of whom had met those requirements.

Increasingly, candidates depend on money to win elections, particularly after the 2010 Supreme Court ruling in favor of the rich. In the 2016 elections, Hilary Clinton and Donald Trump spent a combined sum of over one billion dollars on their political campaigns. Candidates do not spend such a large sum from their personal funds. They depend on donors to back them. Few Americans donate to political campaigns and less than 1% donate over $200. Thus, the candidates are left at the mercy of the rich.

Elections Have Turned Sordid

These elections have degenerated into a celebrity competition. They attract narcissistic individuals who often lack a moral compass. There is no process to filter out undesirable candidates. In fact, the process is so corrupt that political, in particular presidential, candidates feel desperate to win favor from the rich. They even forsake their countries’ interests to please the rich.

Sometimes, one wonders if the candidates are running for elections in another country. In 2007, Joe Biden declared, “I am a Zionist. You don’t have to be a Jew to be a Zionist.” He did so to please the Zionist rich after Obama chose Biden as his running mate. As a presidential candidate in 2020, Biden wooed the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) by declaring his loyalty to Israel. As president, Trump made Israel the foundation of his foreign policy decisions. He bent over backwards to please Sheldon Adelson, a billionaire who backs Israel and Jewish causes. To both Biden and Trump, Israel came first because they needed money from Jewish donors. Like prostitutes, US presidents now serve the highest bidders.

Furthermore, the rich also do not like to see certain citizens participate in these elections. So, they have their lackeys to prevent some territories from becoming states, leaving them out of the elections. According to the U.S. Constitution, Article II, Section 1, much of its population living in Puerto Rico, Guam, the Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Northern Mariana Islands, and other US territories are not qualified to vote in the presidential election. An example is Puerto Rico, which has a population of over 3.2 million, which is greater than any of the 21 states.

Another problem with the 20th Amendment is that it gives authority to the US Congress to elect president or vice president if either of them is found unfit for office. Rather, that election should be left to the people.

Thankfully, Americans are wising up. In 1981, 75% of Americans favored abolishing the EC system. In 1987, the American Bar Association called the EC “archaic” and “ambiguous.”

Reform Presidential Elections

The US presidency must be democratized. Otherwise, troubles lie ahead. In the long term, such a flawed process to elect presidents will cause a loss of faith in the office and in democracy itself. I recommend three key reforms.

First, the popular ballot must decide who becomes president. The EC must go. That requires amending the 12th Amendment and the 20th Amendment.

Second, the media must provide free “equal air time” for all presidential candidates. This will take away the advantage candidates with more money have in the current process.

Third, we must limit contributions from all sources to any candidate. There has to be a cap on the amount individuals can donate and the amount any candidate can raise. That will take away the disproportionate power of the wealthy in deciding US elections and hand back power to the people.

By Mehdi Alavi

This article was first published by Fair Observer.


Colossal Corruption of the Two-Party System

The US has declared itself to be the global leader in democracy through its mass media, powerful economy and extensive military. However, the US needs many reforms before it can claim to be truly democratic. Disposing of the two-party system would be a good place to start.

Hand with ballot and wooden box on Flag of USA, party icon © Peeradach R /

Despite its domineering international presence and resolute claim to democracy, the US has never been truly democratic. While the Western superpower does have some features of democracy, many authoritarian regimes, such as Russia, Egypt and Azerbaijan have democratic features as well.

In my previous article, I evaluated the ways in which the rich have US politicians under their thumbs, and how the American two-party system—which George Washington famously warned would become problematic—is more corrupt than ever before.

A Two-Horse Race

The mere fact that these two political parties enjoy many perks and privileges undermines democratic ideals. Democracy requires all parties to be treated equally. Democratic and Republican parties are funded generously by public, government, government political action committees (PACs), labor unions, corporations, and other associations. Other political parties, such as the Libertarian, Green, Reform, Constitution and Natural Law parties all struggle for recognition. These less powerful parties face many obstacles, including lack of attention by the media, minimal federal campaign financing, and a shortage in government funding.

Oftentimes, US elected officials dishonor their commitments and promises to their constituents, which has led to voter apathy. The presidential elections draw the most voters to the polls, but still fall short of obtaining popular eligible voter participation. From 1904-2016, voter turnouts have varied from 66% to less than 50%. Midterm turnouts are substantially worse. In 2022, the voter turnout was less than 46% in Texas, despite the mail ballot option. Apparently, many Americans are unhappy with the two-party political system and feel that their votes do not amount to anything. The US public is waking up to the realities of its corrupted government. According to a 2022 Pew survey, only 32% of American adults feel that the two primary political parties adequately align with their views. That means that an overwhelming majority of Americans are not happy with the current government and election process. To become democratic, the US political system must reform.

In a truly representative democracy, the people’s elected officials should be obligated to consider their constituents’ ideas, interests, concerns and welfare in rendering political decisions. In the US, the situation is totally different. Americans’ choices are chiefly limited to the candidates from two political parties who, at least superficially, represent completely opposite views. Many American voters are frustrated that there is no middle ground. To make matters worse, the champions of these polarizing elections are then indebted to the rich who funded their campaigns, rather than to the constituents they were elected to represent.

Hostility, Not Rivalry, Between the Parties

From the start, the two-party system was condemned at the highest level. “The alternate domination of one faction over another…is itself a frightful despotism,” warned the first US president, George Washington.

The French philosopher Voltaire held a similar view, stating that “If one religion only were allowed in England, the Government would very possibly become arbitrary; if there were but two, the people would cut one another’s throats; but as there are such a multitude, they all live happy and in peace”.

The same is true concerning a regime with two political parties. This limiting of political debate to a binary opposition encourages extremism from both sides and leads to the dangerous polarization of the public. In recent decades, tensions and violence have risen across the country. Both parties continue to adopt harmful tactics in an attempt to cut the other down and gain supremacy. The American public suffers as a result. As observed during the January 6 insurrection, when thousands of angry constituents stormed the capitol building in Washington, DC, the incessant bickering between the Democrats and Republicans has fragmented the nation and heightened the risk of dissolving the union.

The recent election of the US House speaker is a perfect example of the conflict and corruption that plagues the current government. It is an event that will go down in history as one of the most notorious examples of the inefficiency of American politics — a direct result of a system confined to  only two polarizing political parties.

It took 15 rounds of voting to elect Republican Kevin McCarthy speaker of the House of Representatives. In a very contentious election, McCarthy won with less than half of the House participation. Many officials abstained from the vote, including six of McCarthy’s fellow members of the Republican party. He was finally elected thanks to his endorsing the concession that any member of the House could call for his removal at any time. This was similar to what happened during the House election in 1859 before the Civil War. The event demonstrated the deep dysfunctionality of the two political parties in the US Congress. Their continuous bickering makes it impossible to pass meaningful bills in a timely manner. However, these competitors are united in their habit of catering to megadonors in the support of the military-industrial complex, despite the fact that president Dwight Eisenhower warned against it in his 1961 farewell speech.

As seen in the election of McCarthy as House speaker, America is run by two squabbling political parties. These politicians are more focused on shaming one another than addressing the overwhelming national problems that plague the country. 

 A Dangerously Divided Nation

It is not surprising that the nation is divided, and so many Americans are living every day in desperation and anger. Economic disparity and discrimination are national issues which are particularly oppressive to minority groups including Native Americans, blacks, Latinos, and Muslims. The gap between the rich and the poor is deep and ever-widening. Approximately 32% of all wealth in the US is held by only 1% of the population, an alarmingly disproportionate statistic. Even more concerning is that at the same time, over 11% of Americans live below poverty level. American politicians have not done nearly enough to address these issues.

The two-party animosity of the federal government has spilled over into the states. State level politicians often engage in a manipulative practice called “gerrymandering”, a redistricting scheme that intentionally marginalizes minorities, the poor and the least-educated citizens.

This endless bipartisan frustration leads to hostility between citizens, families, and friends. A poll conducted by the Pew Research Center found that “72% of Republicans and 64% of Democrats” consider the other party to be more dishonest.

While many Americans abhor the two-party system, some fear that having more than two parties could result in a coalition, making the country even more unstable than it already is. However, this fear is unsubstantiated. Many Americans will continue voting as their parents had, and will remain loyal to one of the two major political parties that currently dominate. Furthermore, competition will force the Republican and Democratic parties to become more centrist in their policies, as extremism will no longer be advantageous. Investing in lesser-known political parties would benefit the US immensely. If this is not accomplished soon, the US is at risk for the first ever global social progress recession.

Crisis Demands Reforms

Most of the US’ infrastructure was built after World War II, and is rapidly deteriorating. The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) rates US infrastructure near failing with D+ grade. Across the country, highways, bridges, tunnels, railways, clean water, electricity and other public services are either in complete ruin or are insufficient to accommodate population growth. Despite this undeniable infrastructure crisis, US politicians continue to overspend on the military.

In 2021, the US military spent a whopping $801 billion while its top adversaries, China, Russia and Iran, spent $293 billion, $65.9 billion, and $24.6 billion respectively. Thus, the US spent more than double on its military than the combined spendings of its global competitors.

To break it down, US military spending was around three times higher than China’s, over 12 times more than Russia’s and 32 times more than Iran’s. This unnecessary spending could have been better spent to help the poor, increase domestic production, and improve America’s dilapidated infrastructure.

Without standards in place to ensure equal opportunity and constitutional rights for all American citizens, democracy can easily be transformed into what John Adams called, “the tyranny of the majority.” Thomas Jefferson also purportedly claimed that democracy can often resemble mob rule, and in the case of America’s current political sphere, this saying has a ring of truth.

The biased and corrupt two-party system is not sustainable long-term. It is time to challenge the power of bipartisanism. To begin, I recommend the following steps:

1.   First, provide sufficient funding to less extreme political parties, to allow them to finally break through onto the political stage and permit them to have actual influence on elections.

Second, cut all federal campaign financing and government funding. When the government has such a powerful monetary hand in elections, corruption is inevitable. 

Third, provide free “equal air time” in broadcasting for all election candidates, not just the ones who can shell out the most money. Many quality candidates become overshadowed by wealthy extremists who can afford to disseminate more political advertising and propaganda.

Fourth, limit contributions from all sources to that which is equal to what the average American is willing to contribute to a candidate. PACs, unions and other associations can multiply that amount by the number of their active members. However, no member should be allowed to double-dip, individually or as a group.

Fifth, dismantle the “winner-take-all” electoral system, which has been rejected by many emerging democracies. Nebraska and Maine have already vowed to dismantle this system and allocate results proportionately instead.

Sixth, enforce the “Code of Official Conduct” in both government chambers. Insert a paragraph to ensure that members of Congress, their family members, close friends, and associates are unable to practice nepotism to accumulate wealth and power, or be favored for high political positions. 

Only when the United States takes steps to implement these changes will the nation begin its ascension to true democracy.

By By Mehdi Alavi

This article was originally published by Fair Observer.

Scary CIA-MI6 Coup Destroyed Iran and Damaged the World

Mohammad Mosaddegh changed Iran and the world. He challenged the mighty British Empire, which then conspired with Uncle Sam to get rid of him. This 1953 original sin led to the 1979 Iranian Revolution and is the fundamental reason for US-Iran tensions.

flags of USA and Iran © danielo / 

The recent protests in Iran are a product of many compounding factors. It is indubitably true that women want greater freedoms. What is often left unsaid that economic pain is driving these protests. Much of this pain is caused by US sanctions against Iran.

During these protests, some have chanted slogans in favor of the Pahlavi dynasty. Sadly, these protesters do not realize that both father Reza Shah and son Mohammad Reza Shah would have shot them dead or arrested and tortured if they were in power.

In our previous article, we analyzed Mohammad Mosaddegh and the golden age of Iranian democracy. For a 12-year spell from 1941 to 1953, Iran experienced freedom, reforms and the exercise of popular sovereignty. Mosaddegh cleaned up corruption and improved the economy. He invested in health, unemployment insurance and infrastructure. Mosaddegh also initiated programs to address women’s rights. However, this Iranian statesman is most noted for leading the nationalization of the oil industry.

The British Strike Back

The British had a monopoly over Iran’s oil since its discovery in 1908. Nationalization of the oil industry made Mosaddegh their worst enemy and British agents began working to oust him. They used every possible means to undermine his policies and question his competence. They resorted to disinformation, bribery, blackmail, murder and riots.

In June 1953, the British succeeded in winning over American support by painting Mosaddegh to be a socialist. By now, the US was paranoid about the spread of communism. The British also promised Americans a share of the oil. Nationalization was also a bad precedent for other countries and went against the interests of American oil companies. The US was also disappointed that Mosaddegh did not show any interest in the formation of the Baghdad Pact, yet another anti-Soviet military alliance of the Cold War.

Hence, the US agreed with the British to launch “Operation Ajax.” Its goal: remove Mosaddegh from power. Now, the CIA dispatched one of its stars to Tehran. This swashbuckler was Kermit Roosevelt and he worked with close coordination with MI6 for regime change in Iran. 

Together, the Americans and the British bribed politicians, military officers, government officials, warlords, and reporters. They also hired mobsters and hoodlums to pretend to be communists. These fake communists attacked people, broke into stores, torched buildings and used profanity as part of their shock and awe tactics to discredit Mosaddegh.

These tactics did not quite work. Mosaddegh remained wildly popular. When this Iranian statesman called for a referendum to dissolve the Majles (the Iranian parliament), he got 99% of the vote. However, the British and the Americans were infiltrating many powerful interest groups in Iran. The plot against Mosaddegh was thickening. In August 1953, even as Mosaddegh remained immensely popular, he was unaware that many of his enemies, including some in his own party, were conspiring with the British and the Americans to oust him. 

One Coup Fails but the Second Succeeds

On August 16, 1953, the Shah dismissed Mosaddegh. He appointed General Fazlollah Zahedi, a CIA agent, as prime minister. Some close associates of the Shah have taken the view that this was unnecessary. Mosaddegh would have resigned had the Shah asked him to do so.

Zahedi and his cronies began arresting Mosaddegh’s top aides. Mosaddegh saw Zahedi’s appointment as a military coup and refused to step down. The prime minister summoned loyal military officers to his defense. They arrested the party Zahedi had sent to capture Mosaddegh.

The Shah fled the country and Zahedi took refuge with the CIA. The CIA-led, MI6 first coup attempt miserably failed. Mosaddegh felt so confident that he did not take the opportunity to speak to the nation about the coup. This turned out to be a historic blunder.

The CIA and MI6 did not give up. They carried on their anti-government activities and instigated violence in the streets. Fearing communist attacks, Iranians withdrew to their homes. After three days of rioting, Ayatollah Abul-Qasem Kashani reportedly warned Mosaddegh about a coup attempt to oust him.  Mosaddegh dismissed the warning with his aloof reply, “I am supported by the Iranian nation.”

The very next day, large crowds suddenly appeared in the streets in support of the Shah. On this historic day of August 19, 1953, Mosaddegh was caught unawares. The second coup attempt succeeded. Zahedi came out of hiding and arrested Mosaddegh. On hearing about Mosaddegh’s fall, the then British prime minister Anthony Eden said that after a long time he finally slept well.

After the coup, Mosaddegh was put on trial as a traitor in a military court. Fearing popular reaction, Mosaddegh’s statements in his defense were all censored. Mosaddegh was sentenced to solitary confinement to begin with and then house arrest for the remainder of his life. At the age of 84, he died in 1967 while still in house arrest. 

Mohammad Mosaddegh in court martial

In the court, he said, “Yes, my sin – my greater sin – and even my greatest sin is that I nationalized Iran’s oil industry and discarded the system of political and economic exploitation by the world’s greatest empire…. This at the cost to myself, my family; and the risk of losing my life, my honor, and my property.” Then, he continued, “I am well aware that my fate must serve as an example in the future throughout the Middle East in breaking the chain of slavery and servitude to colonial interests.”

After the coup, the weak, narcissist and debauched Shah returned to Iran. From now on, he wielded absolute power. Tutored by US advisers, he became a cruel despot just like his father. He crushed all political movements. The opposition went underground, discontent simmered and eventually led to the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Personal Memories and Consequences of the Coup

One of the co-authors still remembers the day of the coup. He was with his father doing errands in central Tehran. At midday, everything seemed peaceful. Suddenly, all hell broke loose. People appeared in trucks chanting, “Death to Mosaddegh, long live the Shah.” The co-author’s father instinctively cursed the British for engineering this ruckus. The very next day, Iranians such as the co-author’s father, friends and family knew that the CIA and MI6 had engineered the coup because Zahedi thanked the US for its support.

In the US and in Britain, the people did not realize the role the CIA and MI6 had played for years. They assumed that organic street protests led to Mosaddegh’s fall. One co-author has been in the US since 1965. He is married to an American. He has had numerous discussions with fellow Americans who resolutely believed that the US could never do as dastardly a deed as overthrow a democratically elected government through a coup.

The US mass media took the same line as uninformed American citizens. In 2003, The New York Times supported the Iraq War. In 1953, this venerable publication supported the coup against Mosaddegh. Time Magazine went further and claimed that “this was no military coup, but a spontaneous popular uprising.” 

In 2013, such claims were proved patently false. The CIA admitted that it carried out the 1953 coup with the approval of the highest levels of the US government. The British have yet to issue a mea culpa but numerous retired MI6 and CIA officers have remarked to the other co-author that this coup turned out to be a historic blunder. These officers maintain that this 1953 coup had unintended consequences and led directly to the 1979 revolution.

It turns out that the coup was planned, coordinated and directed by Cyprus-based MI6 agent Norman Darbyshire. The CIA’s Roosevelt merely executed Darbyshire’s plans. The 1953 coup was the CIA’s first exposure to covert operations that caused regime change. Since then, the CIA has replicated it in numerous other countries.

The dissolute Shah rewarded the US generously for installing him on the throne. In October 1954, Iran signed the Consortium Agreement, giving the “US, British, and French oil companies” 40% ownership of its nationalized oil industry. The management of the consortium was led by American oil companies for 25 years and many consider it to be “the largest commercial deal ever put together.”

Surprisingly, the Islamic Revolution took over the country in February 1979 about 7 months before the agreement was due to expire. In January 1979, one of the major concerns of the world leaders at the Guadeloupe summit was the flow of oil from Iran as revolution erupted in the country. The US and Britain had profited handsomely from the 1953 coup and the 1979 revolution was an unnecessary headache.

Why MI6 and the CIA Succeeded

Given Mosaddegh’s popularity, a question recurs repeatedly: Why did the coup succeed?

Mosaddegh was unlucky. The communist Tudeh Party was at least as powerful as Mosaddegh’s National Front. Tudeh could have come out on the streets to prevent the unrest and the coup. However, Joseph Stalin’s death in March 1953 left Tudeh in disarray. Just as the Shah was the lackey of the West, the Tudeh Party was controlled directly by Stalin. With the Soviet strongman dead, Tudeh was rudderless and useless.

In addition to bad fortune, Mosaddegh himself was to blame. He was an idealist who could be exceedingly naïve when it came to realpolitik. Mosaddegh believed deeply in democracy but failed to realize that many of his enemies did not. When he was informed about legislators, officials and military officers plotting a coup, Mosaddegh’s reaction was to ask for proof. Naturally, such proof was hard to come, which lulled this venerable Iranian statesman into a false sense of complacency.

Mosaddegh’s championing of freedom of religion annoyed many conservatives. In particular, it strained relations with his most powerful religious and patriotic supporter Kashani. This support was crucial for Mosaddegh because Kashani commanded a powerful base that could have countered those plotting a coup. To make matters worse, Mosaddegh ignored Kashani’s warning a day before the coup.

Mosaddegh lost some of his secular supporters because they feared communism. Furthermore, some parliamentarians were upset with the prime minister for dissolving the Majles. A few switched sides and supported the coup.

Mosaddegh fatally did not seize the moment after the first coup. This attempt was reported on the radio but the prime minister did not give a public address disclosing all the facts. He did not summon the masses to his defense. Mosaddegh was a sick man during much of his premiership and, particularly, at the time of the coup. He had lost touch with the masses, key interest groups and many members of his own party. Mosaddegh also failed to realize that success today gives no guarantee of success tomorrow.

Mosaddegh was a touch too credulous in trusting the US. He expected Uncle Sam to be an honest broker between Iran and Britain. During his visit to the US, the then president Harry Truman arranged for Mosaddegh’s medical care. Relations between the US and Iran continued to be cordial even when Dwight D. Eisenhower became president. 

As fear of communism rose in the US, Eisenhower turned against Iran. The sweet prospects of access to Iranian oil also facilitated this change of heart. Given the US stress on capitalism and securing oil for its energy-hungry economy, it was inevitable that Washington would look extremely unfavorably upon nationalization of the oil industry. Mosaddegh did not realize the stakes on the geopolitical chessboard and was unprepared to counter the foreign powers.

By Mehdi AlaviAtul Singh

Originally published by Fair Observer on February 12, 2023.

The Truth About US Democracy

The United States has declared itself to be the global leader in democracy through its mass media, powerful economy, and extensive military. However, much reform is needed before the US can become truly democratic.

Capitol Building 

Despite its domineering international presence and persistent claim to democracy, the US has never been truly democratic. While the Western superpower does have some features of democracy, many authoritarian regimes, such as Russia and Egypt, have democratic features as well. 

The US claims to be a representative democracy, meaning the people’s elected officials are obligated to consider their constituents’ ideas, interests, concerns, and welfare in making political decisions. However, the reality is that US politicians feel indebted to the megadonors who finance their elections, and as a result, choose to serve not the people who voted them into power, but the financiers who made their election to office a reality. 

The rich have US politicians on a leash. In 2017, the then president, Donald Trump, was accused of meeting with his 2016 campaign megadonor, Sheldon Adelson, for counsel on how to address the mass shooting in Las Vegas, a horrific attack that killed 59 people and injured over 500 at a country music festival. That was two days before Trump finally arrived in Las Vegas to meet with the surviving victims and the families mourning the dead. Trump has denied these allegations, claiming that the timing of his meeting with Adelson was purely coincidental, and had nothing to do with the fact that Adelson had major investments in Las Vegas.

The US electoral system is incredibly corrupt, as demonstrated by its recent election of the House Speaker, an event that will go down in history as one of the most notorious examples of the inefficiency of American politics. The country seems to be exclusively run by two conflicting political parties: the Democrats and the Republicans. Consequently, the nation has become extremely politically polarized, and many Americans experience daily frustration and anger over conflicting political beliefs. 

Economic disparity and discrimination are particularly oppressive to minority groups including Native Americans, blacks, Latinos, and now Muslims. The gap between the rich and the poor is deep and ever-widening. Approximately 32% of all wealth in the US is held by only 1% of the population, an alarmingly disproportionate statistic. Even more concerning is that at the same time, over 11% of Americans live below poverty level.

A 2020 article by The New York Times described the economic disparities in the United States quite accurately, stating that, “Americans may be equal, but some are more equal than others.” Even when the US is in a deep deficit, the government tax policy consistently favors the rich, despite the fact that 60% of Americans believe the nation’s wealthiest should pay more taxes.

The United States government (USG) is entangled with the rich, the “deep state” of America. By definition, any government whose power, either overtly or covertly, is controlled by a small group of wealthy constituents, is called plutocracy. Former US president Jimmy Carter once alluded to the plutocracy of the US political system, describing it as, “an oligarchy with unlimited political bribery.”

The Incentive for Corruption

Because political candidates in America require substantial funding to run their campaigns, they become obliged to the rich. To win a Senate seat, a candidate spends an average of over $10 million. According to The Washington Post, the 2016 presidential candidates, Hilary Clinton and Donald Trump, spent a combined sum of over one billion dollars on their political campaigns.

The wealthy also use their power to manipulate the media, flooding broadcasting platforms with polarizing advertisements and persuading the American public that the only votes that count are votes for either the Democratic or Republican parties. 

This sort of propaganda makes many Americans feel overwhelmed and confused about  which candidate they  should be voting for, and some even choose to abstain from voting at all because they don’t support either candidate. Many Americans are ignorant that the elections are a scheme to make them think about having a voice in the government. However, the choice of who ultimately becomes president, congressman, or other official is usually left to the two political parties at the mercy of the rich. 

Even at the state level, wealthy Americans control political candidates and elected officials by donating to their campaigns. The rich also use their financial power to marginalize certain communities through a process called gerrymandering, in which the boundaries of electoral districts are strategically drawn in a way which favors one political party over the other. . Minorities, the poor, and the least educated are usually the victims of this unethical practice.

A Call for Reform

Without ethical standards in place to ensure equal opportunity and constitutional rights for all citizens, democracy can easily become what John Adams called, “the tyranny of the majority.” Thomas Jefferson also purportedly claimed that democracy can often resemble mob rule, and this comparison has a ring of truth.

The USG must reform. The country’s current system is riddled with corruption and will not be sustainable long term, as evidenced by the 2021 insurrection at the U.S. capitol building. At the very least, steps must be taken to make sure that campaign funding is democratic and fair first by cutting all  government funding to individual campaigns and political parties, and instead requiring the media to allocate “equal air time” at no cost to candidates. Second, the USG must create and enforce regulations to limit campaign funding and prevent “megadonors” from manipulating elections and government policy.

To alleviate the megadonors’ influence, the USG could limit all contributions from all sources equal to what an average-income American is willing to contribute to a candidate. PACs, unions and other associations can multiply that amount by the number of their active members. However, no member can be allowed to double-dip, individual and in group.

Only when the United States takes steps to implement these changes will the nation begin its ascension to true democracy. 

By Mehdi Alavi

This article was originally edited by Hannah Gage and published in Fair Observer on February 7, 2023.

Why Do You Need to Know About Mohammad Mosaddegh?

In 1941, the British deposed their lackey Reza Shah for cozying up with the Germans and placed his callow, decadent, opulent and worthless son on the throne. This led to a pro-democracy movement and the rise of Mohammad Mosaddegh, Iran’s first-ever democratically elected leader.

Courtesy of the International Court of Justice

In 1941, World War II was in full swing. Thanks to its oil reserves, Iran was a key piece on the geopolitical chessboard. Reza Shah Pahlavi was in-charge as an absolutist ruler. The British had backed his rise but were uncomfortable with his flirtations with Nazi Germany. In 1941, the British decided to get rid of Reza Shah and install his son Mohammad Reza Shah. He was a weak 22-year-old who was putty in British hands. His rise to power had a silver lining though.

From 1941 to 1953, Iran experienced a golden period of freedom. During this era, seven political parties emerged in the Iranian parliament Majles. Mohammad Mosaddegh emerged as the most important leader during this period. He became prime minister in 1951 and initiated significant reforms.

Before 1941, Reza Shah ruled Iran with an iron hand. If people dared to protest, they were shot on the spot or tortured to death or whisked away to a brutal prison. From 1941 to 1953, free speech, democracy and rule of law emerged in Iran. Mosaddegh was a key figure in democratizing Iran. 

The Brief Story of Iranian Democracy

Educated in France and Switzerland, Mosaddegh came from a patrician family. However, he was a reformer who believed in democracy. In 1925, Mosaddegh voted against Reza Khan taking over as the Shah. Once in power as Reza Shah, the monarch exiled him from public office. With Reza Shah out of power in 1941, Mosaddegh emerged from the shadows to play a key role in Iranian history.

In 1944, Mosaddegh was re-elected to the Iranian parliament, the Majles. As a patriot, he wanted a strong Iran. Mosaddegh aimed to build an Iran with rule of law, freedom of religion, freedom of expression, parliamentary democracy and a strong economy. Above all, this Iranian leader opposed foreign interference in the internal affairs of Iran. In particular, he did not want the British to exploit Iranian oil for London’s imperial benefit. He was also against concessions to the Soviets in northern Iran.

Mohammad Reza, the new Shah, and Iran’s comprador elite were beholden to the British for their hold on power. So, they did not take kindly to the rise of Mosaddegh. This corrupt and absolutist elite was also against democracy because they would have lost power. They tried the age old trick of rigging elections.

As a result, protests erupted in 1949. People came out into the streets to rally against voter fraud. Mosaddegh led a group of delegates to the Shah’s to protest the “lack of free elections.” That forced Mohammad Reza to promise “fair and honest” elections. Mosaddegh and some other leaders founded a party named Jebhe Melli, which literally translates to National Front, to contest the elections.

Once the Majles convened after the elections, Mossadegh emerged as the most powerful parliamentarian. As leader of Jebhe Melli, Mossadegh pushed for major reforms. The Majles approved a development plan with agricultural and industrial reforms. The plan required financing, which was only possible through oil revenues. Sadly for Iran, most of these revenues were going to Britain.

Oil Catches Fire

Unsurprisingly, oil revenues were a hot button issue in the 1949 elections. Once the Majles assembled, many of its members were duty bound to renegotiate the patently unfair agreement imperial Britain had forced a subservient Iran to conclude. In the words of the fictional character Michael Corleone, made famous by the 1972 movie The Godfather, the British had made the Iranians an offer they couldn’t refuse. Led by Mosaddegh, Iranians now mustered the gumption to reject that British offer.

Mosaddegh promised to end the British control of Iran’s oil industry. He demanded renegotiation with the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (AIOC), the British oil giant now known as BP. Note that the AIOC was supposed to pay a mere 17.5% of oil revenues to Iran. In contrast, its American counterpart was paying Saudi Arabia 50% of oil revenues in 1950. To rub salt in Iranian wounds, AIOC practiced creative accounting and did not even pay the 17.5% it owed Iran. In fact, they paid more in taxes to London on their profits from Iranian oil than to Tehran. Led by Mosaddegh, Iranian patriots resolved to get Iran’s fair share from AIOC.

Iranian Oil Nationalization Rally

Iranian pressure made the British offer slightly better terms in 1950. Mosaddegh was key in rejecting this unfair offer and demanded a 50-50 split, the same enjoyed by Saudi Arabia. Naturally, the British opposed Mosaddegh tooth and nail. They claimed that revision of their agreement with Iran would amount to a breach of contract. The British very conveniently ignored their own common law idea of duress as grounds for invalidating a contract. Simply put: if Winston puts a gun to Rumi’s head to get his signature on a contract, that legal document is null and void. Such legal principles were moot for AIOC, which tried every trick in the book to safeguard its extortionate illegitimate profits.

British intransigence fueled Iranian patriotism on oil revenues. The public swung behind nationalization of AIOC. By the time the British belatedly agreed to a 50-50 split in February 1951, the ship for renegotiation had sailed. In March, the Majles passed legislation to nationalize the oil industry. True to form, the Shah did not sign this bill. This British lackey stayed loyal to his imperial masters, not the Iranian people.

By not signing the nationalization bill, the Shah frustrated the Majles and the Iranian people. In April, the Majles made Mosaddegh prime minister, with around 90% voting for him. A few months earlier, Mosaddegh had turned down the prime ministerial position. This time, he took charge with a single-point agenda: cut out foreign powers from Iran’s oil industry. 

With Mosaddegh in-charge, the Shah reluctantly signed the nationalization bill. This dramatically changed Britain-Iran dynamics. The AIOC left Iran, dismantling even the massive Abadan Refinery and associated facilities. For the first time in two centuries, Britain was on the backfoot. Unsurprisingly, this mighty imperial power fought back. It went to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to appeal against Iranian nationalization. Mosaddegh cannily disputed the court’s jurisdiction. Months later, the ICJ decided in favor of Iran.

The Empire Strikes Back

The British did not just resort to legal measures though. Their fabled intelligence agencies started conspiring to oust Mosaddegh through hook or crook. The British courted American support to do so. Their task was not easy. After World War II, the US had been siding with Iran on the oil issue. It had its own strategic interest to break into the Iranian oil market. Mosaddegh was well aware of the importance of the US. In November 1951, the Iranian prime minister visited Washington to meet President Harry Truman. Mosaddegh had a good reception and returned to Iran positive that the US would act as an honest mediator between Iran and Britain.

Mosaddegh’s successful US trip and rising international popularity unsettled the Shah. Vainglorious and insecure, the Shah resented Mosaddegh. When the prime minister appointed a minister of war, the Shah vetoed him. In response, Mosaddegh resigned.

This act in July 1952 led countrywide protests. People poured into the streets, chanting “Give me death or give me Mosaddegh.” Hasht Subh, a leading Iranian newspaper, published the headline: “Salaam to Hero Mosaddegh, We Swear That We Stand by You to Our Death.” In keeping with the tradition established by his brutal father, the Shah ordered a crackdown. On July 21 — 30 Tir in the Iranian calendar — the Shah’s forces killed hundreds of people. This bloody day in 1952 is still remembered as the 30 Tir Uprising.

The very next day, on July 22, the ICJ decided in favor of Iran. This fueled popular support for Mosaddegh. Despite his brutal actions, the Shah was unable to establish control over Iran. He was forced to recall Mosaddegh. The Majles now firmly backed the prime minister. Iranians were euphoric. They believed that they could now move forward towards a new future.

The British had other plans. They refused to accept the ICJ decision. They saw Iranian insubordination as a danger to the British Empire and imposed a worldwide embargo against Iranian oil. They froze Iranian assets and banned exports of all goods to Iran. Britain acted against Iran in much the same way as the US is doing today. Like the US today, Britain planned a regime change in Tehran: Mosaddegh had to go.

British covert operations against Mosaddegh were savage and sophisticated. Misinformation, bribery, blackmail, murder and riots were all part of the toolkit. On April 20, 1953, news broke out that General Mahmood Afshar Tus, Mosaddegh’s chief of police, had been kidnapped and killed. Investigations revealed that generals sidelined by Mosaddegh were responsible for this brutal killing.

By now, the British had Americans on their side. The zeitgeist in the US had changed. Dwight D. Eisenhower was president, Richard Nixon was vice president and Joseph McCarthy was the most powerful voice on Capitol Hill. McCarthy saw a communist under every bush and feared the Soviet Union would take over the world. The British found US paranoia against communism fertile ground to sow seeds of doubt about Mosaddegh. Bit by bit, they convinced Washington to join them in their conspiracy to overthrow Mosaddegh.

British and American efforts in weaning support away from Mosaddegh in the Majles forced the prime minister’s hand. Mosaddegh asked the Shah to dissolve the Majles. Now both a British and an American lackey, this weak ruler declined. Mosaddegh called for a referendum on the dissolution of the Majles. Over 99% of Iranian voters supported him. On August 15, 1953, Mossadegh dissolved the Majles

This proved to be the highpoint of Mossadegh’s power. Events would soon overwhelm him. His political enemies were now conspiring with the British and the Americans to get rid of him. Yet Mosaddegh had changed history. He had challenged autocratic rule at home and deepened democracy. At the same time, he had taken on imperial powers and won back Iranian sovereignty.

Why Mosaddegh Matters

Mosaddegh was a great statesman. He was honest, hardworking, idealistic and resolute. He made immense personal sacrifices in his political life. Mosaddegh steered Iran in a new direction despite the odds. In 27 months as prime minister, he achieved more than any other Iranian leader in the last two centuries.

In the land of absolutist Shahs, Mosaddegh championed rule of law, creating an independent judiciary to check the powers of the executive. Mosaddegh also supported freedom of expression, freedom of the press and freedom of religion. An ardent democrat, he tried to increase political participation and organize free elections.

Mosaddegh’s economic reforms were significant and are often overlooked. A frugal man, he balanced the budget and focused on increasing Iran’s economic output. The tiff with the British was as much about economics as politics. Mosaddegh invested in health, unemployment insurance and infrastructure. Unlike the Shah who believed in ostentatious consumption, Mosaddegh was a believer in long term investments that would have a major multiplier effect.

Mosaddegh curtailed the culture of corruption fostered by the Shahs. He removed corrupt ministers and appointed honest ones. He got rid of generals who served British interests. He redistributed lands illegally seized by Reza Shah. 

One of Mosaddegh’s last attempts in power was to give women the right to vote in municipal councils. He also wanted to provide women maternity leaves and give them the same rights as men in social insurance, benefit, and disability allowances. He had little success but that was not for lack of trying.

In 1952, Mosaddegh was named Time Magazine’s Man of the Year. As American media often does, they painted this unfamiliar foreign figure as a villain. In contrast, Mosaddegh was hailed in colonies and newly independent colonies. In Yugoslavia, Egypt and India, he was hailed as a liberating hero. Remember, this was a time when almost all of Africa was still under European rule and the US still practiced race segregation. In his far-sighted reforms, Mosaddegh was far ahead of his time. Noted American diplomat Henry F. Grady called Mosaddegh “a man of great intelligence, wit and education—a cultured Persian gentleman.”  To Grady, the Iranian leader reminded him “of the late Mahatma Gandhi.”

By Mehdi AlaviAtul Singh

Originally published by Fair Observer on January 27, 2023.