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Important Events during the Qajarid Period in Iran

Compiled by: Syed Ali Shahbaz

The Golestan Treaty
On 29th of the Islamic month of Shawwal in 1228 AH, the Golestan Treaty was imposed on Qajarid Iran by Czarist Russia at the village of the same name in the Caucasus, following ten years of warfare that led to the loss of huge parts of northwestern Iran.
As per the treaty that was mediated by the crafty British, the Russians occupied what are now the republics of Daghestan and Georgia, as well as Baku in northern Azerbaijan. Thirteen years later in 1241 AH, Russia once again invaded Iran and occupied other regions, such as Armenia, Nakhchivan and what is now the Republic of Azerbaijan.

The Turkmenchai Treaty
On 5th of the Islamic month of Sha'ban in 1243 AH, following Qajarid Iran's defeat in the second series of battles in the Caucasus with expansionist Russia, the Turkmenchai Treaty was imposed on Fath Ali Shah with the mediation of the British colonial officials, on the threat that failure to accept will result in the march of Russian troops upon Tehran.
As per this one-sided treaty, Iran handed over to Russia, the Erivan khanate or most of present-day central Armenia, the Nakhchivan khanate, which is the present-day Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic of Azerbaijan, the Talysh khanate, the Ordubad and Mughan regions of what is now the Republic of Azerbaijan, in addition to all lands seized by Russia some fifteen years earlier, such as Georgia, Daghestan and other parts of the Caucasus.
It is to be recalled that initially these battles, led by crown prince, Abbas Mirza, were in Iran's favour but lack of support from Tehran resulted in disastrous defeats. In the aftermath of the war and signing of the humiliating treaty, anti-Russian sentiments became rampant in Iran, and on February 11, 1829, angry people stormed the Russian embassy in Tehran and killed almost everyone inside including the newly appointed ambassador, Alexander Griboyedov, who was part of the team that drafted the Turkmenchai Treaty.

The Second Russo-Persian war
On October 1, 1827 AD, Russia, in violation of the terms of the Treaty of Golestan signed in 1813 with Qajarid Iran following the end of its war and occupation of Daghestan and other regions in the Caucasus, sent an army under General Ivan Paskevich to start the 2nd Russo-Persian war.
The Russians seized the Khanate of Yerevan from Iran as well as Nakhchevan and what is now the Republic of Azerbaijan. Yerevan is currently the capital of the Republic of Armenia.

The eastern part of Balochistan, was formally annexed by the British to their dominions in India
On October 1, 1887 AD, the eastern part of Balochistan, was formally annexed by the British to their dominions in India, thus ending any claims to this vast region by Iran.
This region which is now in Pakistan, originally belonged to Iran, both before and after the advent of Islam, and until the assassination of Nader Shah Afshar in the 1740s.

Iranís vital sources granted to a British colonialist agent, Julius De Reuters, by the Qajarid King
18th of the Islamic month of Jamadi as-Sani in 1289 AH, the concession for usage of Iranís vital sources was granted to a British colonialist agent, Julius De Reuters, by the Qajarid King, Nasser od-Din Shah. This concession included exploitation of Iranís mines, usage of forests, and establishment of facilities such as railway, bank and post office branches, and telegraph lines in line with Londonís vested interests. The people and religious scholars, led by Haj Mullah Ali Kani, unanimously opposed the grant. As peopleís opposition under the leadership of the ulema grew, the concession was annulled, but as compensation, Reuters was given the privilege to found the Imperial Bank and print money notes in Iran for a period of sixty years.

The historic Fatwa of the great scholar, Grand Ayatollah Mirza Hassan Shirazi
On May 13 in 1891, the great scholar, Grand Ayatollah Mirza Hassan Shirazi, issued the historic Fatwa against the 50-year tobacco concession given to the British Talbot Company by King Nasser od-Din Shah Qajar of Iran. Following the Fatwa of Grand Ayatollah Mirza Shirazi issued from his base in Samarra, Iraq, the Iranian people, including Qajarid courtiers and the wife of the Shah, refrained from purchase, sales and usage of tobacco, forcing the government to cancel the concession. This development once again proved the strength of the Muslim Iranian people led by the ulema.

The Finkenshtein Treaty was concluded between Iran and France
On May 4 in 1807 AD, the Finkenshtein Treaty was concluded between Iran and France, while the French Emperor, Napoleon Bonaparte, battled with European states. Based on this 16-article treaty, it was set that Iran would receive any needed weapon for countering Russians from France. Also, France should sent troops and military engineers to Iran for training the Iranian army. In return, Iran was committed to sever relations with Britain and to assist France in deployment of troops to India. However, a short while later, upon the conclusion of an amity agreement between Czarist Russia and Napoleon Bonaparte, and their unity against Britain, the Finkenshtein Treaty was forgotten, which left Iran on its own in the face of Russian aggressions.

Mohammad Shah, the third Qajarid King
On 7th of the Islamic month of Rajab in 1250 AH, Mohammad Shah succeeded his father, Fath Ali Shah, to the Peacock Throne of Iran as the third Qajarid King. He immediately sidelined his prudent premier, Mirza Abuíl-Qasem Qaíem Maqaam Farahani, and replaced him with Mirza Aqasi, who was a pawn of the British and the Russians. During Mohammad Shah's reign, the consequences of his fatherís defence of Iran against the Russian wars and imposition of the Treaties of Golestan and Turkmenchai, resurfaced. Based on these treaties parts of northwestern Iran in the Caucasus were occupied by Russia. Moreover, the rivalry of Russia and Britain for control of Iran increased. Hoping for assistance from Russia, Mohammad Shah deployed forces to control unrest in Herat, which was part of Iranís soil and capital of Khorasan. However, due to Moscowís breach of promise, coupled with Londonís covert conspiracies, Herat was separated from Iran and annexed to British-controlled Afghanistan. Finally, this unwise Qajarid ruler died in 1264 AH, and was succeeded by his underage son, Nasser od-Din Shah.

Fourth Qajarid King, Naser od-Din Shah
On April 30 in 1896 AD, with the assassination of the 4th Qajarid King, Naser od-Din Shah, a bleak 50-year era of Iranís history came to its end and the stage was set for the Constitutional Revolution. He was shot dead by the freedom-seeker, Mirza Reza Kermani, a follower of the famous pan-Islamic campaigner, Seyyed Jamal od-Din Asadabadi, at the shrine of Seyyed Abdul-Azim al-Hasani in Rayy, south of Tehran. Naser od-Din Shahís long rule is marred by bleak and bitter incidents such as murder of the highly competent Prime Minister, Mirza Mohammad Taqi Khan Amir Kabir; the Russo-British struggle for control of Iran, and the scandalous tobacco concession to a British company that had to be annulled because of the historic fatwa issued by Ayatollah Mirza Hassan Shirazi.

The Constitutional Movement
On August 4, 1906 AD, the movement of the Iranian people led by the ulema forced the Qajarid King, Mozaffereddin Shah to sign the constitutional decree. The Constitutional Movement aimed to end injustice, oppression, and the interference of foreign states in Iranís internal affairs. With the enhancement of awareness of people of the corruption of Qajarid courtiers; they stepped up their anti-Qajarid protests. These protests intensified during the reign of this Qajarid King and his autocratic premier, Ain od-Dowleh; and during the brutal suppression of peopleís protests, government agents killed and wounded scores of people. This made a group of people of Tehran, led by Ayatollah Seyyed Abdullah Behbahani, and Ayatollah Seyyed Mohammad Tabatabai, staged sit-ins in the cities of Rayy and Qom. Finally, the Qajarid King, who was fearful of these developments, dismissed his premier, and issued the Constitutional decree, according to which legislative elections were held and the Constitution was approved. After a while, The Constitutional Movement deviated from its path due to infiltration of a number of British agents.

The Constitutional Revolution in Iran forced out Mohammad Ali Shah Qajar
On July 16, 1909 AD, the Constitutional Revolution in Iran forced out Mohammad Ali Shah Qajar as king and replaced him by his son, the young Ahmad Shah. Mohammad Ali Shah, who had earlier hired Cossack mercenaries to shell the parliament and attack its members, fled the palace and took refuge in the Russian embassy in order to escape the peopleís wrath. The Iranian people finally attacked the Russian embassy and took its control, but the ousted Shah managed to escape and fled to Istanbul. British agents deviated the Constitutional Revolution from its goal and the result was abolishment of the weak Qajar dynasty in 1925 and installation of an illiterate and brutal soldier named, Reza Khan, as king of the new Pahlavi dynasty.

An ominous accord was imposed on Iran by Britain
On August 9, 1919 AD, an ominous accord was imposed on Iran by Britain, putting Iranís military, political, and economic affairs under supervision of British agents. Signed by Iranian premier, Vosouq od-Dowleh and British Viceroy of India, Lord Curzon, Iran was practically turned into a British protectorate, two years after the Bolshevik Revolution that ended Russiaís colonial rivalry with Britain. The Iranian peopleís opposition led to the annulment of the scandalous accord, a factor that enraged Britain and made it mastermind a coup some two years later through the illiterate soldier, Reza Khan, to ensure its domination of Iran.

The leader of the anti-colonial movement in southern Iran, Ra'ees Ali Delvari
On September 2, 1915 AD, the leader of the anti-colonial movement in southern Iran, Ra'ees Ali Delvari, attained martyrdom at the hands of the British invaders, at Tangestan near Bushehr, after seven years of resistance. The uprising was the result of a fatwa for jihad issued by the ulema for defence of the country. Delvari and his courageous comrades foiled the attacks of the well-equipped British troops for occupation of the Port of Bushehr, before their martyrdom.

Sheikh Mohammad Khiabani, one of the prominent activists of the Constitutional era
On September 11, 1920, one of the prominent activists of the Constitutional era, Sheikh Mohammad Khiabani, was martyred and in this manner, the uprising in the northwestern Iranian city of Tabriz against the despotism of the Qajar Dynasty was suppressed. After acquiring Islamic sciences and spiritual virtues, Khiabani struggled against the injustices of the monarchial system in Iran.
He found it necessary to campaign against the ignorance and unawareness of people and to stand up against the infiltration of foreign powers, He believed that the oppressive regime and foreign colonial powers were the root cause of the problems of the Islamic ummah. Following the ouster of Mohammad Ali Shah, and his fleeing from Iran in 1908, Sheikh Mohammad Khiabani was elected to the parliament as the representative of people of Tabriz.
He later on staged his uprising in Tabriz against the government of the corrupt Prime Minister Wosouq od-Dowlah, who concluded the ominous treaty of the year 1919 with Britain. Finally, Khiabani managed to take charge of the administration of city of Tabriz. He was captured in an unequal battle with the governmental forces and was executed.

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