Encyclopaedia Iranica Online

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(Enqelāb-e mašrūṭa) of 1323-29/1905-11, during which a parliament and constitutional monarchy were established in Persia.

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Volume VI, Fascicle 2, pp. 163-216

CONSTITUTIONAL REVOLUTION (Enqelāb-e mašrūṭa) of 1323-29/1905-11, during which a parliament and constitutional monarchy were established in Persia.

CONSTITUTIONAL REVOLUTION i. Intellectual background

The establishment of a constitutional regime in Persia was the chief objective of the Revolution of 1323-29/1905-11. Like any other major revolution, the Constitutional Revolution in Persia encompassed a broad spectrum of ideas and objectives, reflecting diverse intellectual trends, social backgrounds, and political demands. At the time even the text of the Constitution itself did not have universal support. Yet, in spite of ideological ambiguities, the Revolution remains an epoch-making episode in the modern history of Persia because of its political achievements and its enduring social and cultural consequences. As a modern revolution, it was aimed at dislodging the old order by means of popular action and by advocacy of the tenets of liberalism, secularism, and nationalism. For the first time in the course of modern Persian history, the revolutionaries sought to replace arbitrary power with law, representative government, and social justice and to resist the encroachment of imperial powers with conscious nationalism, popular activism, and economic independence. Constitutionalists also tried to curb the power of the conservative religious establishment through modern education and judicial reforms. By centralizing the state, they sought to reduce the power of the tribal and urban notables. The greater sense of nationhood that emerged out of the Revolution has remained essential to the modern Persian identity.

That the Constitutional Revolution was the first of its kind in the Islamic world, earlier than the revolution of the Young Turks in 1908, can be partly explained by the situation in Persia in the latter half of the 19th century. Between 1264/1848 and 1268/1852 the state and the religious establishment were able to stifle both of the available options for fundamental change. On one hand, the millenarian and revolutionary Babi movement (1260-68/1844-52; see babism) was crushed by military force, though its agenda of opposition to the Qajar monarchy and the clerical establishment survived within the amorphous body of Persian dissent. On the other hand, to the extent that the administrative, military, educational, and economic reforms of the celebrated premier Mīrzā Taqī Khan Amīr(e) Kabīr were implemented, they contributed to the exposure of Persia to Western institutions and ideas but at the same time inadvertently helped to sustain the Qajar monarchy and to prolong through inertia the coexistence between the state and the clergy during most of Nāṣer-al-Dīn Shah’s reign (1264-1313/1848-96), often against the forces of popular dissent (Eqbāl; Ādamīyat, 1348 Š./1969; Amanat, 1989). Although advocates of political reform were isolated in the following decades and all moves toward opening the political system were resisted, dissent was never completely uprooted. The protest over the Tobacco Régie (q.v.) in 1309-10/1891-92 should thus be seen as the first sign of popular revolt against the prevailing order. It was almost a rehearsal for the Constitutional Revolution, creating a tacit anti-imperialist and antimonarchist coalition of clerics, mercantile interests, and dissident intellectuals. During the reign of Moẓaffar-al-Dīn Shah (1313-24/1896-1906) the new intelligentsia used the press and modern education to win the support of this tacit coalition for a secular agenda of material and moral rejuvenation, patriotism, and political reform.

Early advocates of reform

During the 19th century demands for justice (ʿadālat) were prominent in reformist writings, the sermons of popular preachers, and petitions by the merchants. Such demands seemed natural and legitimate, in accordance with the concept of “seeking justice” (ʿadālatḵᵛāhī) in the Perso-Islamic theory of government (Lambton, 1962). The messianic notion of the advent of the Mahdī, who would redress wrongs and establish justice, was also vivid in the collective consciousness of Shiʿite Persia. These familiar notions of justice found a new resonance in the writings of 19th-century reformers. Having been inspired either directly by the French Revolution, Freemasonry, and freethinkers or indirectly by the Young Ottomans and other Islamic advocates of political and moral reforms, Persian reformers sought to equate the notion of ʿadālat with the ideals of social justice and citizens’ equal rights embodied in the French term égalité.

Mīrzā Malkom Khan (1249-1326/1833-1908) was the first Persian reformist writer to have an adequate knowledge of the French and English schools of liberal thought. Such key terms as qānūn (codified law and, later, constitution; see below), eṣlāḥāt (reforms), majles-e šūrā (consultative council), mellat (nation), mellī (national), and ḥoqūq-e mellat (rights of the people) were first introduced in his Ketābča-ye ḡaybī yā daftar-e tanẓīmāt (Booklet inspired by the unseen, or the book of reforms), written in 1275/1858-59, the earliest known systematic exposition in Persian of a constitutional system (Malkom, pp. 1-52). As in his other early treatises on administrative, educational, financial, and military reforms, he urged rationalization (enteẓām) of government, separation of powers, consultation (mašwarat), and legislation (ważʿ-e qānūn) under the auspices of an enlightened autocrat (cf. Malkom, pp. 53-119). Later in life, in his newspaper Qānūn (Constitution), published in London in the early 1890s, Malkom blended advocacy of reform with an uninhibited critique of tyranny and political corruption. In the decade before the Constitutional Revolution the hazy notion of a parliamentary system with a constitution (konsṭeṭūsīon, qānūn-e asāsī), division of powers, and popular representation put forward in Qānūn was central to the emerging revolutionary ferment. Malkom proposed that “at least one hundred of the great mojtaheds, the renowned learned men, and savants of Persia be gathered in a national consultative assembly (majles-e šūrā-ye mellī). They should be held responsible and given the full authority, first, to establish, codify, and officially proclaim the laws and principles that are necessary for the reorganization (tanẓīm) of Persia. Second, according to an orderly arrangement, the national consultative assembly should hold itself as the guardian, the overseer, and the agent for the execution of the law” (Qānūn 9, n.d. [1890], pp. 1-2; 6, 18 July 1890, p. 2). Malkom supported the natural rights of the people and stressed their duty toward their fatherland (waṭan) but refrained from direct criticism of Nāṣer-al-Dīn Shah (Nūrāʾī, 1352 Š./1973, pp. 35-97, 111-40, 185-223; Algar, 1973, pp. 78-162, 228-37).

Malkom’s eclecticism was typical of Persian “modernists” (motajaddedīn) of his time, whatever their points of view: the antireligious Mīrzā Fatḥ-ʿAlī Āḵūndzāda, the agnostic Mīrzā Āqā Khan Kermānī, the Islamic modernist Mīrzā Yūsof Mostašār-al-Dawla, the pan-Islamic activist Sayyed Jamāl-al-Dīn Afḡānī, and even high-ranking mojtaheds like Sayyed Moḥammad Ṭabāṭabāʾī and Moḥammad-Ḥosayn Nāʾīnī. With few exceptions, the early advocates of political reform were preoccupied with the compatibility of the Islamic Šarīʿa with constitutionalism, an issue that presented a doctrinal obstacle to formulation of a truly secular outlook. In Yak kalema (A single word) Mostašār-al-Dawla cited the Koran and Hadith to demonstrate the compatibility of Islam with equality and liberty, as well as with important articles of the French constitution—an effort reflecting the author’s concern not to be labeled heretical. Nevertheless, he detected five ways in which European codified law differed from the Islamic Šarīʿa: It is the result of a consensus between the state and the people, is universal in its application, is easy to understand, deals solely with temporal affairs, and embraces customary law (ʿorf; pp. 8-16). Such differences, he believed, were not insurmountable in Islamic Persia.

Āḵūndzāda (Russ. Akhundov; 1812-78) was the forerunner of a secularist school with manifest anticlerical views; many themes of the constitutional period—secular education, moral reconstruction, hostility to superstition—can be traced to his writings. Āḵūndzāda, who spent all his adult life in the Russian civil service, was anti-Islamic and an atheist (1963; Algar, 1973, pp. 86-99). He sought a cultural awakening based on disengagement from Islam and the Arab element associated with it, a goal that he shared with the Qajar prince Jalāl-al-Dīn Mīrzā (Nāma-ye ḵosravān II, pp. 3-18). As early as 1279/1863, in his Maktūbāt, he attacked Nāṣer-al-Dīn Shah for his “ignorance of progress,” love of luxury and flattery, failure in war, and misgovernment and cautioned him that, unless he adopted modern laws, he would face another threat like the Babi revolt. He called on “the Persian people” (ahl-e Īrān) to throw off the yoke of submission, to unite in the “houses of oblivion” (farāmūš-ḵānahā, political groups patterned after the lodges of the Freemasons) and “societies” (majāmeʿ), and to liberate themselves from the oppression of the “despot” by means of progress and free thought (1364 Š./1985, pp. 22-64). Āḵūndzāda’s contribution to the Constitutional Revolution should, however, be seen primarily in his social criticism, presented through the new media of drama and colloquial language, transplanted from the Russian tradition with some success. Translations of his Azeri Turkish plays were the first to be read and appreciated by a larger circle of the Persian intelligentsia (1273/1856; cf. Ādamīyat, 1349 Š./1970; Altstadt-Mirhadi; Alieve; see vii, below).

Kermānī (1270-1314/1854-96), a writer and activist in the Istanbul expatriate circle with socialist leanings, also advocated the need for a constitutional regime and a secular culture and even anticipated the occurrence of a popular revolution. He came from a peripheral Sufi background and was influenced by Babism. He was a disciple of Afḡānī and a supporter of Malkom, but above all he shared Āḵūndzāda’s critical assessment of the Islamic past as the chief cause of the decline of Persia. Kermānī’s emphasis on pre-Islamic Persian roots as the source for a national reawakening exerted some influence on the writings of the constitutional period (see his accounts of pre-Islamic history, 1324-26/1906-8, 1316/1898; cf. Ādamīyat, 1346 Š./1967, pp. 241-87; Bayat, 1982, pp. 157-75). Executed after the assassination of Nāṣer-al-Dīn Shah, he was remembered as a martyr to Qajar oppression, holding a prominent place in the intellectual genealogy of the Constitutional Revolution.

Another member of the Istanbul circle was Mīrzā Ḥabīb Eṣfahānī, whose free translation of James Morier’s The Adventures of Hajji Baba of Isfahan, a hostile and sarcastic portrayal of the “Persian character,” was another example of preoccupation with the theme of decline among the writers of the period. His translation was admired by the Persian intelligentsia as a critique of the traditional ills of their society. Another important contribution to the development of a social self-critique was the widely read Sīāḥat-nāma-ye Ebrāhīm Beyg, a fictional travelogue by a Persian expatriate who enthusiastically returns to his homeland, only to find decay, corruption, tyranny, and ignorance. It was written by Zayn-al-ʿĀbedīn Marāḡaʾī, a Persian merchant in Istanbul, who was no doubt familiar with the writings of ʿAbd-al-Raḥīm Tālebof and other Caucasian intellectuals (see below). According to Nāẓem-al-Eslām (Tārīḵ-e bīdārī, ed. Saʿīdī Sīrjānī, I, pp. 248-52), on the eve of the Constitutional Revolution Sīāḥat-nāma was read regularly in the Anjoman-e maḵfī, one of the protorevolutionary secret societies in Persia.

A less widely acknowledged work by an early expatriate was al-Resāla al-madanīya, written in 1292/1875 by Mīrzā ʿAbbās Nūrī ʿAbd-al-Bahāʾ, who developed themes from the writings of his father, Mīrzā Ḥosayn-ʿAlī Nūrī Bahāʾ-Allāh. He proposed creation of representative institutions not unlike those envisioned by the Young Ottomans, some of whom were in exile with the Bahai leaders in ʿAkkā, Palestine. ʿAbd-al-Bahāʾ criticized the ʿolamāʾ for their rigidity and proposed the establishment of “councils” (majāles) and “consultative assemblies” (maḥāfel-e mašwarat) of devout and learned “elected representatives” (aʿżā-ye montaḵaba).

Persian and Turkish circles in the Caucasian cities of Baku, Tiflis, and Yerevan also viewed the cultural aspects of traditional Persian life as the chief causes of stagnation. ʿAbd-al-Raḥīm Najjārzāda Tabrīzī, better known as Ṭālebof (1834-1911), wrote simple educational works on geography, physics, chemistry, biology, and other sciences (1312/1894-95) and, later, on the social and political institutions of modern Europe. These works had an even greater popular audience than Āḵūndzāda’s plays. ʿAbd-al-Raḥīm’s enthusiastic exposition of European sciences made plain for the lay reader the technological backwardness of Persia, which was much lamented in the constitutional period. His works on modern geography challenged the ethnocentric complacency of the religious milieu (1324/1906; 1323/1905; 1325/1907; 1329/1911; 1310/1893; cf. Kasrawī, Mašrūṭa, p. 45; Afšār, 1344 Š./1965, pp. 47-89; Ādamīyat, 1365 Š./1986).

The most pertinent theme that emerged in the writings of the late 19th century was the idea that, in order to guarantee social justice and material improvement and maintain Persia’s independence and national identity against European imperial domination, it was essential to inaugurate a constitutional order. It was hoped that in such an order the shah’s power would be limited, separation of powers secured, and the functions of government organs defined. Patriotism and recognition of the Persian cultural heritage were also favored as complementary—or even alternatives—to loyalty to traditional religious beliefs and institutions. Yet the early reformers failed to come up with a systematic and well-rounded theory of government. Overt endorsement of European political and institutional ideas hindered the growth of a school genuinely concerned with problems of the state and its relationship to clerical authority in Shiʿism. Traditional philosophers (ḥokamāʾ) and jurisconsults (mojtaheds) refrained from the debates, thus leaving the task of conceptualizing the new constitutional order to dissident intellectuals, popular preachers, and political activists.

New constitutional themes

By the turn of the 20th century the reformist trend in Persia had taken on a distinct character. The October 1905 revolution in Russia, followed by the granting of a constitution, then by the convening of the first Duma and its subsequent dissolution, provided an example of popular revolutionary struggle against despotic power in a country long feared as the bastion of absolutism and military might (Saʿāda, passim; Ṣūr-e Esrāfīl 22-28, 30 Ḏu’l-ḥejja 1325-27 Rabīʿ I 1326/3 February 1903-1 March 1908, passim; Browne, Persian Revolution, p. 120). Slightly earlier the decisive victory of Japan in the Russo-Japanese War (1904-5), the first by an Asian country over a European power, had been hailed in the Persian press and attributed to Japan’s success in transforming itself from a backward feudal society into an industrial nation, generating both hope and despair about the need for Persia to depart from traditional ways (Tājer Šīrāzī, 1325/1907a; idem, 1325/1907b; Tabrīzī; cf. Tārīḵ-e bīdārī I, pp. 218-25; for a translation of the Japanese constitution, see Ṭālebof, 1324/1906). The Boer War (1899-1902) and the constitution granted to Transvaal in 1906 aroused a similar response (Taqīzāda, 1349 Š./1970, p. 272; Browne, Persian Revolution, p. 122), but anti-British feeling was tempered by early British support for the constitutionalists, at least before the Anglo-Russian Convention of 1325/1907.

Until the first decade of the 20th century and the rise of pan-Turanism conscious Persian nationalism had thrived among the Azerbaijani population of the Caucasus, and its influence had made itself felt in Persia through revolutionary—particularly socialist—orators, journalists, and satirists in Tabrīz. Ḥaydar Khan Tārīverdīof, better known as ʿAm(ū)oḡlī (q.v.), and Moḥammad-Amīn Rasūlzāda both belonged to the social-democratic party of the Caucasus (also known as the Hemmat party; Taqīzāda, 1349 Š./1970, pp. 382-85; Ādamīyat, 1355 Š./1976a, pp. 3-29; Navāʾī, 1327 Š./1948). Many Persian migrant workers in the oil fields of Baku and the mines of Armenia and Georgia belonged to this party. Later party activists set up branches in Tabrīz and Mašhad (Etteḥādīya, 1361 Š./1982b, pp. 64-80; Pavlovitch). Among early constitutionalists in Tabrīz, Sayyed Ḥasan Taqīzāda, Moḥammad Šabastarī (Abu’l-Żīāʾ), Ṣādeq Mostašār-al-Dawla, and Moḥammad-ʿAlī Tarbīat were influenced by Turkish reformist publications in Istanbul (Taqīzāda, 1349 Š./1970, I, pp. 241-44, 379-80). Taqīzāda’s early article “Taḥqīq dar aḥwāl-e konūnī-e Īrān yā moḥākamāt-e tārīkī” (An inquiry into the current situation in Persia, or historical trials; 1323/1905; cf. 1349 Š./1970, III, p. 283) reflected ideas popular among the Young Turks and the Arab nationalists in Syria. The flight of many Persian constitutionalists to Istanbul and the formation there of Anjoman-e saʿādat (1326-27/1908-9) coincided with the revolution of the Young Turks, and the overtly secularist views of the latter had some influence on the debates in the Second Majles (Dawlatābādī, Ḥayāt-e Yaḥyā III, pp. 17-118).

No less influential in forming Persian public opinion was a surge of newspaper, pamphlet, and book publication (see vi, vii, below). As early as the middle of the 19th century, and especially during the era of Mīrzā Ḥosayn Khan Sepah-sālār in the 1870s, the small Persian press, though controlled by the government, randomly reported on aspects of Western constitutional and revolutionary events. By the closing decade of the century the Persian readership had been briefly exposed not only to colonial expansion and imperial rivalries but also to the recurring constitutional crisis in France, the British parliamentary system, the course of German unification, presidential elections in the United States, and revolutionary currents and struggles for independence. The many small new printing presses in Persian cities during the period of Moẓaffar-al-Dīn Shah and later played a decisive role in disseminating the constitutionalist message to an eager public (Moḥīṭ Ṭabāṭabāʾī, pp. 38-96). Translations and adaptations of Western works of political philosophy, published in Persia before and during the Constitutional Revolution, also helped to shape the ideology and rhetoric of the revolution. ʿAbd al-Raḥmān Kawākebī’s Ṭabāyeʿ al-estebdād (Modes of despotism)—an Arabic rendering of ʿA. Javdat’s Turkish translation of Vittorio Alfieri’s Della tirannide (1800), which itself is a summary of Montesquieu’s De l’esprit des lois—was translated into Persian by the Qajar prince ʿAbd-al-Ḥosayn Mīrzā; it was instrumental in stereotyping despotism and defining the claims of constitutionalism (cf. Haim).

Other translations of European works of fiction, geography, history, and political philosophy helped to broaden Persian intellectual horizons and to provide a clearer picture of Europe and its political evolution. Fénelon’s Les aventures de Télémaque (tr. ʿAlī Khan Nāẓem-al-ʿOlūm as Telemāk, Tehran, 1304/1886), Adam Smith’s The Wealth of Nations (tr. M.-ʿA. Forūgī as Oṣūl-e ʿelm-e ṯarwat-e melal, Tehran, 1323/1905), and Moḥammad-ʿAlī Forūḡī’s comparative study Ḥoqūq-e asāsī yā ādāb-e mašrūṭīyat-e dowal (Fundamental laws, or the principles of the constitutions of nations) offered new political and economic ideas in place of the familiar principles from Persian Islamic manuals of government. Histories like a work on the ancient Near East translated from French by Forūḡī (Tārīḵ-e melal-e qadīma-ye šarq, Tehran, 1318/1900), James Fraser’s The History of Nadir Shah (tr. Abu’l-Qāsem Qaragozlū as Tārīḵ-e Nāder Šāh Afšār, Tehran, 1321/1903), a history of ancient Greece translated from French by ʿAlī Khan Naṣr (Tārīḵ-e Yūnān, Tehran, 1328/1910), and a history of Islamic civilization by Georgi Zaydān (tr. ʿAbd-al-Ḥosayn Mīrzā Qājār as Tārīḵ-e tamaddon-e eslāmī I, Tehran, 1329/1911) were influential in shaping a new historical consciousness attuned to rising nationalism. An imaginary debate between a Persian traveler and an Indian Muslim (Mokālama-ye sayyāḥ-e īrānī wa šaḵṣ-e hendī, attributed to Jalāl-al-Dīn Kāšānī Moʾayyed-al-Eslām, Tehran, 1326/1908) and Šab-nešīnī-e Ramażān yā ṣoḥbat-e sang wa sabū (The Ramażān vigil, or the dialogue of the stone and the pitcher; ed. M. Iṯnā-ʿašarī, Tehran, 1364/1985), written by Mīrzā Salīm Adīb-al-Ḥokamāʾ in 1327/1909, are typical of works in which traditional and modern values and outlooks were contrasted and generational differences scrutinized.

Internal dissent

Themes expounded by expatriates often reached Persia through dissident circles with radical aspirations. The small but influential circle of Azalī Babis and their sympathizers included at least six major preachers of the Constitutional Revolution. By the beginning of the 20th century the separation of the Bahai majority and the Azalī minority was complete. The Babis, loyal to the practice of dissimulation (taqīya), adopted a fully Islamic guise and enjoyed a brief revival during the reign of Moẓaffar-al-Dīn Shah. As they broadened their appeal beyond the Babi core, a loose network of assemblies (majles) and societies (anjomans) gradually evolved into a political forum in which both clerical and secular dissidents who favored reform were welcome. These radicals remained loyal to the old Babi ideal of mass opposition to the conservative ʿolamāʾ and Qajar rule. An example of their approach is Roʾyā-ye ṣādeqa, a lampoon in which the notorious Āqā Najafī Eṣfahānī is tried on Judgment Day; it was written by Naṣr-Allāh Beheštī, better known as Malek-al-Motakallemīn, and Sayyed Jamāl-al-Dīn Wāʿeẓ Eṣfahānī, two preachers of the constitutional period with Babi leanings. Such figures as the celebrated educator and political activist Mīrzā Yaḥyā Dawlatābādī; Moḥammad-Mahdī Šarīf Kāšānī, a close advisor to Sayyed ʿAbd-Allāh Behbahānī and chronicler of the revolution; and the journalist Mīrzā Jahāngīr Khan Ṣūr-e Esrāfīl shared the same Babi background and were associated with the same circle (Malekzāda, 1328 Š./1949, II, pp. 236-44). A reform-oriented critique of the clerical establishment, Taḥrīr al-ʿoqalāʾ by Shaikh Hādī Najmābādī (d. 1320/1902), epitomized the dissent even among senior mojtaheds. As a response Sayyed Moḥammad-Ṣādeq Ṭabāṭabāʾī called for his excommunication (takfīr; Browne, Persian Revolution, p. 406). Although these men were barred from the First Majles, on the ground of their suspected “corrupt belief,” their influence is evident in the Constitution and its provisions for civil liberties. What Sayyed Jamāl-al-Dīn and Malek-al-Motakallemīn expounded from the pulpit to their large and enthusiastic audiences, what the newspaper Ṣūr-e Esrāfīl presented to its readers, was a call for patriotism and political awakening, for radical change and ultimately revolution, in language accessible to the masses (al-Jamāl 135, Moḥarram 1325-Rabīʿ I 1326/February 1907-April 1908, passim; for Sayyed Jamāl-al-Dīn’s sermons, see Yaḡmāʾī). Even before the revolution these popular preachers had recognized the benefits of acquiring the backing of high-ranking mojtaheds who were supportive of constitutional reforms. Having their blessing made constitutionalists immune from charges of ill belief and allowed them to voice their criticisms with greater liberty. The proconstitutional mojtaheds, on the other hand, sought such alliances with activists not only because of their own liberal convictions but also because they found in their preaching a channel to augment their own popular standing. This informal alliance was supported by the merchants of the bāzār and the reform-minded nobility. In the coup d’etat of June 1908 Moḥammad-ʿAlī Shah (1324-27/1907-9) succeeded in eradicating the Babi core of this group, which he and the conservative religious leader Shaikh Fażl-Allāh Nūrī blamed for radicalism inside and outside the Majles.

The proconstitutional mojtaheds. The two most widely recognized clerical leaders of the Revolution were from old and powerful clerical families whose authority over the religious community, though recognized, was beginning to be threatened by rival mojtaheds. Sayyed Moḥammad Ṭabāṭabāʾī was a well-known figure whose father had been in sympathy with Malkom and who had himself demonstrated liberal proclivities since the late period of Nāṣer-al-Dīn Shah. Sayyed ʿAbd-Allāh Behbahānī was an influential mojtahed whose call for political reforms was motivated by expediency, as well as genuine liberal conviction. Earlier, during the Régie protest, he had refused to endorse the fatwā prohibiting the use of tobacco, thus siding with the government and against other mojtaheds. The support of these two men for reformist preachers arose in part from the general desire of the ʿolamāʾ , at least since the episode of the Régie, to extend their sphere of power and judicial control at the expense of the state. The proreform mojtaheds moved to the forefront of a popular movement because they were able to combine the message of the activists with their own authority and determination. Pressure from the lower ranks, mostly from those of their students who had been exposed to liberal ideas, also influenced their orientation. But neither mojtahed went so far as to instigate a revolt against the government, even when radicals in the lower ranks argued that the Qajar state was incapable of defending the faith. In the earlier stages of the constitutional movement they often seemed to understand the “rule of law” as implementation of the Šarīʿa. In fact, few high-ranking ʿolamāʾ supported a purely secular constitution. Apart from their role as leaders of a popular movement, the two mojtaheds’ chief contribution was their association of political reform and patriotism with a defense of Islam. In Ṭabāṭabāʾī’s famous letter to the prime minister ʿAyn-al-Dawla in 1323/1905 he criticized opposition to creation of a national assembly (majles-e mellatī), an “alliance between the government and the people and between the ʿolamāʾ and the notables of the state.” Furthermore, he declared: “The Shiʿite state is confined to Persia, and their [i.e., the Shiʿites’] prestige and prosperity depended upon it. Why have you permitted the ruin of Persia and the utter humiliation of the Shiʿite state? … You may reply that the mullahs did not allow [Persia to be saved]. This is not credible… I can foresee that my country (waṭan), my stature and prestige, my service to Islam are about to fall into the hands of enemies and all my stature gone. As long as I breathe, therefore, I will strive for the preservation of this country, be it at the cost of my life” (Šarīf Kāšānī, I, pp. 61-63; cf. Tārīḵ-e bīdārī I, pp. 390-91 ).

Ṭabāṭabāʾī’s dedication, strong as it was, was only momentarily shared by other ʿolamāʾ. Most high-ranking mojtaheds were willing to endorse political reform only if it gave them greater control over public life and were lured into the revolutionary arena only by fear of loss of influence to the radical preachers and secular intellectuals. Harsh criticism of the mojtaheds for their obscurantism, corruption, and later collaboration with the royalists had put those among them who were ambivalent on the defensive from the start. Furthermore, by exploiting rivalries among the mojtaheds the lower clergy were able to polarize the clerical community and to gain support in the bāzār, the mojtaheds’ most vital constituency. The political isolation of Ṭabāṭabāʾī, Behbahānī, and the constitutionalist mojtaheds of the ʿAtabāt (Shiʿite centers of Iraq) was painfully underscored by their repeated failure to convince their constituencies to accept a constitutional order dominated by the ʿolamāʾ. By 1327/1909 the marginalized mojtaheds had come to understand that a European-inspired liberal order was inimical to their traditional privileges.

Merchants of the bāzār. The constitutionalism advanced by the popular preachers gained strength in the bāzār because of the grievances of the merchants and guilds, who sought greater control over their economic and political destinies. The appointment, in 1315/1898, of the Belgian Joseph Naus to head the customs service (See belgian iranian relations) and the boycott of new customs regulations; an incident in 1323/1905 in which two sugar merchants in the Tehran bāzār were arrested and bastinadoed; and the financing by bāzārīs of antigovernment protests at the shrine of Shah ʿAbd-al-ʿAẓīm near Tehran, in Qom, and at the British legation in Tehran demonstrated a new combativeness in the bāzār community. The merchants’ objectives were limited at first. Frustrated by the government’s interference in the market and its incapacity to deter unfair foreign competition in trade and banking, they demanded resistance to further economic penetration. The work of Naus’s administration, which was viewed by the bāzār as pro-Russian, meant higher tariffs for Persian merchants, an additional burden for those already strained by severe shortages of essential commodities and subsequently by erratic price controls under ʿAyn-al-Dawla. Issues like depreciation of the silver currency, price fluctuations in the international market, insecure roads, poor communications (particularly on the Caucasian trade route after quarantines were established in 1906), and financial monopolies granted to the British Imperial Bank of Persia and the Russian Loan Bank were stressed in Ḥabl al-matīn and other Persian newspapers. It was not an accident that the establishment of a “national bank” (bānk-e mellī), to be funded and owned by the nation and under the auspices of the Majles, was among the earliest and the most urgent demands of the bāzār representatives. On the eve of the Constitutional Revolution many merchants, landowners, urban notables, and even members of the royal family were heavily indebted to foreign banks. Nearing insolvency, they saw economic independence as a way out of their financial troubles (see banking in iran i).

The inadequacy of the traditional judicial and administrative apparatus—both religious courts and government tribunals—in dealing with commercial cases had long been a cause of losses to merchants. No work of Shiʿite jurisprudence dealt adequately with the problems of a modern economy and foreign trade. It was the middle-ranking preachers who were best equipped to voice the merchants’ grievances. Sayyed Jamāl-al-Dīn Eṣfahānī, in his Lebās al-taqwā (Attire of virtue), supported commercial cooperation, corporate enterprises, and the consumption of Persian products, particularly textiles. He gave a religious endorsement to commercial innovations, praised the work ethic and productivity, and identified economic independence as the way to preserve Islam from ruin.

The press and modern educational institutions of the period provided a secular platform, an alternative to the mosque and the bāzār. Inspired by European ideas on education, men like Dawlatābādī and Mīrzā Ḥasan Rošdīya, even before the constitutional debate, had sought the introduction of modern schools and instruction in exact sciences and European languages; this movement gained further strength from the support of Ṭabāṭabāʾī and Behbahānī. The establishment of the quasi-governmental Council on education (Anjoman-e maʿāref) and the founding of modern schools under its auspices were among the most important measures affecting the growth of a new proconstitutional constituency (Rošdīya; Dawlatābādī, Ḥayāt-e Yaḥyā I, pp. 245-349). Through the newspapers intellectuals also addressed constitutional issues and the hazards of religious obscurantism, ignorance, and despotism. As early as the 1860s clandestine “jellygraph” newspapers known as “night letters” (šab-nāma) had served as vehicles of criticism of the government, and later the conservative clergy, for their indolence and corruption (for a large assortment of šab-nāmas and similar material, see Šarīf Kāšānī, I; Tārīḵ-e bīdārī; cf. Reżwānī; Ṣadīqī; Browne, Press and Poetry, pp. 21-22, 108).

Intellectuals. Western-oriented secular intellectuals constituted the third major group to play an effective role in the Constitutional Revolution. They included European-educated sons of high officials and the nobility, Persian diplomats serving abroad, and graduates of the military schools of Tehran, Tabrīz, and Isfahan and of the two Persian institutions of higher education, Dār al-fonūn (Polytechnic institute) and Madrasa-ye ʿolūm-e sīāsī (School of political science, founded in 1317/1899 to train diplomats), both in Tehran. Some of the best-known personalities of the reign of Moẓaffar-al-Dīn Shah and the constitutional period, able to mediate between the government and the constitutionalists, came from this group. They were instrumental in introducing the constitutional model and its rudiments. The framework of the Constitution, the structure of the Majles, and the behavior of constitutional government were all affected by their moderating influence, interests, and often divided loyalties.

Dynamics of constitutionalism

Four phases of an ideological process can be recognized during the Constitutional Revolution itself: from the earliest gatherings, public protests, and clandestine tracts in early 1323/1905 to the convening of the First Majles in October 1906, a period of revolutionary ferment in which competing groups vied for leadership; from autumn 1906, when deliberations on the text of the Constitution took place in the Majles, to the coup d’etat of 23 Jomādā I 1326/23 June 1908, a period of intense debate in the Majles and in Persian society as a whole, ending in polarization and deep division; the “lesser tyranny” (estebdād-e ṣaḡīr) until the restoration of the Constitution on 27 Jomādā II 1327/16 July 1909, a period of conscious radicalization and armed struggle; and from the restoration of the constitutional regime to the joint ultimatum of the great powers and the dissolution of the Second Majles on 2 Moḥarram 1330/24 December 1911, a period of party politics (see v, below) and disillusionment.

Early evolution of constitutional concepts. The first demand of the constitutionalists was an autonomous representative body to administer justice and secure individual rights against the excesses of the state. The first, deliberately vague proposal was submitted to the government of ʿAyn-al-Dawla during the incident on 14 Šawwāl 1323/11 December 1905 in which dissidents claimed sanctuary (see bast) at the shrine of Shah ʿAbd-al-ʿAẓīm near Tehran as a form of protest against the government, calling for “reforms in all affairs [of the state], with consideration of the rights of the ʿolamāʾ ” (i.e., the proreform bloc led by Ṭabāṭabāʾī and Behbahānī). This goal was soon further defined as the establishment of an “office of justice” (dīvān-ḵāna-ye ʿadālat) or, more commonly, a “house of justice” (ʿadālat-ḵāna), reminiscent of the old institution of dīvān-ḵāna, a judicial organ of the government since the Safavid period, overseen by the ruler but in theory independent in its decisions. The dīvān-ḵāna-ye ʿadlīya “office of equity,” which was initially revived by Mīrzā Taqī Khan Amir Kabīr in 1265/1849 and later reorganized by Mīrzā Ḥosayn Khan Sepah-sālār in 1287/1871 as a clearinghouse for referring litigation to religious courts, was similar to the Ottoman Majles-e wālā-ye aḥkām-e ʿadlīya, established in 1837, and a precursor of the Ministry of justice (Wezārat-e ʿadlīya) in the late Qajar period (Floor; Bakhash, pp. 77-133; Nashat, pp. 95-114). An early list of constitutional demands included the “establishment of a house of justice in Persia with branches in all cities to consider the petitions and litigation of the subjects with justice and equity” and to “implement the law of Islam (qānūn-e Eslām) impartially among all individuals and with no personal consideration.” The term majles was first used for the assembly that ratified the protesters’ petition during the Shah ʿAbd-al-ʿAẓīm episode, and the cry “long live Iran” was heard for the first time at the same gathering (Tārīḵ-e bīdārī I, pp. 358-67; Dawlatābādī, Ḥayāt-e Yaḥyā II, p. 23). A royal decree of January 1906 established a “state house of justice” (ʿadālat-ḵāna-ye dawlatī) to implement “the ordinances of the Šarīʿa and [permit] the relief of the subjects … without making any distinction among the classes of subjects (ṭabaqāt-e raʿīyat).” Although this decree echoed the language of the earlier demands, in practice it meant little more than a reorganization of the Ministry of justice (Šarīf Kāšānī, I, p. 46; Tārīḵ-e bīdārī I, pp. 365-66).

The idea of a council of justice (majles-e ʿadālat), though deliberately omitted from the royal edict, soon gained currency in the šab-nāmas and the sermons of the constitutionalist preachers as a means of securing popular (mellī) representation (Šarīf Kāšānī, I, pp. 51-56). Moreover, the popular notion of majles, with its long Islamic history (EI2, s.v.), inevitably entailed two other key concepts, consultation (mašwarat) and representation (wakālat), both with some precedent in Islamic Persia. Koranic references to taking counsel together (3:153, 42:36) were often cited as endorsement of the principle of consultation in the affairs of the community. The concept of representation also had wide theological and legal applications. A “deputy of the subjects” (wakīl al-raʿāyā) served as a delegate to petition on behalf of a rural or urban community. The call for a “council of deputies” (majles-e wokalāʾ, or majles-e montaḵabīn “council of delegates”) drawn from diverse social classes (ṭabaqāt) and acting collectively as a council of justice on behalf of their constituents was novel, however. The Majles-e dār al-šūrā-ye dawlatī (State consultative council) that had existed under Nāṣer-al-Dīn Shah had consisted of princes, nobility, and high government officials advising the ruler on domestic, and occasionally foreign, policies. This council, repeatedly reorganized by Nāṣer-al-Dīn Shah under various names, had a deliberative function and at one stage developed a rudimentary constitution known as neẓām-nāma. Its decisions were often reached by consensus, but if serious disagreements occurred the votes of both sides were reported to the shah. At times, when the shah acted as his own prime minister, the council also functioned as a cabinet of ministers. The composition and functioning of this council were influential in the shaping of the constitutional majles. Although the Qajar government viewed the majles as an advisory body, the constitutionalists emphasized its executive role.

In the early months of 1324/1906 the function of the proposed majles was gradually defined in the dissident literature as deliberation on the qānūn, a broad and still vague concept implying a secular constitution, as well as codification of the Šarīʿa (Tārīḵ-e bīdārī I, pp. 287, 307-8). In the traditional context qānūn denoted administrative, financial, and penal law outside the domain of the Šarīʿa and administered by the government. In spite of its wide currency in the Ottoman empire, this definition of qānūn had generally been resisted in Persia, where the much less concrete concept of ʿorf (uncodified customary law) was preferred. In the late 19th century several attempts to adopt a modern code on the model of the Ottoman Tanẓīmāt had failed to limit either the ruler’s arbitrary power or the judicial authority of the ʿolamāʾ. As early as 1274/1858 Malkom had defined qānūn as “any injunction (ḥokm) that is promulgated by the government and pertains to the community’s public benefit to which mandatory submission is equally shared by members of the community” (Ketābča-ye ḡaybī yā daftar-e tanẓīmāt, p. 15). In practice, however, the use of qānūn never went beyond administrative regulations, elaboration on royal edicts, and ministerial directives. According to the notion of qānūn prevailing in Persia on the eve of the Constitutional Revolution, the ordinances (aḥkām) of the holy Šarīʿa were to be the basis for a codified body of laws ratified by an assembly of representatives, but how the Šarīʿa and the qānūn would be adapted to each other was not clear even to staunch constitutionalists. In the second phase of the Revolution concern with adopting the Šarīʿa gradually subsided, and qānūn came to denote both “public law” and “constitution.” The former, a body of laws passed by a legislature, encompassed civil, commercial, and penal law, but the advocates of this concept of qānūn were careful not to present it as contradictory to, or even overlapping with, the Šarīʿa.

In defining qānūn as constitutional law, however, its proponents faced greater obstacles. The term konsṭeṭūsīon gained some currency in the jargon of the Revolution, but in the First Majles qawānīn-e asāsī (fundamental laws) and then qānūn-e asāsī (the fundamental law) proved to be more acceptable to all sides, for they did not necessarily imply a parliamentary system. On the other hand, the explicit call for a secular constitution defined as mašrūṭa (lit. “conditioned”), first presented in clandestine pamphlets (Šarīf Kāšānī, I, p. 64) and publicized by secular constitutionalists in the public protest and sanctuary at the British legation in July 1906, aroused the opposition of conservative clergy and royalists. Mašrūṭa and mašrūṭīyat (lit. “conditionalism”) denoted a constitutional system in which the rights of the people were recognized, powers were separated, and the authority of the legislature and the sovereign and his government were limited. In a broader and more popular sense it came to mean any political and material measures that would improve the condition of the people. As early as 1325/1907 mašrūṭa was used to characterize the ideals and objectives of Persian constitutionalism. During the upheavals of the following year enqelāb-e mašrūṭa came to mean “constitutional revolution” and salṭanat-e mašrūṭa “constitutional monarchy,” as opposed to despotic (estebdādī) or absolutist (mostaqella, moṭlaqa) monarchy (Ḵalḵālī).

Like some other key terms of the period, mašrūṭa can be traced to the Young Ottomans. Nāmeq Kemāl had referred to constitutional government as dawlat-e mašrūṭa and a representational system under the auspices of Islam applicable to all Ottoman nationalities as edāra-ye mašrūṭa. The term was adopted by Medḥat (Midhat) Pasha during the ephemeral constitutional episode of 1876. An etymology connecting mašrūṭa with charta (as in Magna Charta), rather than with šarṭ (condition) in Arabic, seems implausible but should not be ruled out altogether. The English “charter,” a grant of rights from a monarch, and the post-Napoleonic French term charte “constitution” may have inspired a bilingual pun. It is also possible that the choice of the equivocal mašrūṭa to translate French constitutionnelle (rather than conditionnelle, its precise equivalent) was deliberate, intended to reconcile the proposed new order with the logical and legal concepts of šarṭ and mašrūṭ in Islamic jurisprudence. It was in use in Persian by about 1897 (Molkārā, p. 180; H. Nāṭeq, introduction to Rūznāma-ye qānūn, p. 1; Taqīzāda, 1349 Š./1970, I, pp. 390-91; Ḥāʾerī, 1974a; idem, 1974b; idem, 1977b). Taqīzāda was presumably the first deputy to introduce the term mašrūṭa in the debates of the Majles, in his important speech of 6 Ḏu’l-qaʿda 1325/22 December 1906 (Tārīḵ-e bīdārī II, p. 30), but neither mašrūṭa nor the concept of fundamental laws was accepted willingly by conservatives. They were achieved only gradually and after fierce debates in the Majles and outside.

The farmān of 14 Jomādā II 1324/5 August 1906, afterward known as the Constitutional edict (Farmān-e mašrūṭīyat), provided the authority for convening the First Majles; the term mašrūṭa was not even mentioned in it (Tārīḵ-e bīdārī I, p. 564; Browne, Persian Revolution, pp. 353-54). Similarly, the electoral law of 19 Rajab 1324/9 September 1906, identified as a “code of rules” or “charter” (neẓām-nāma), included mention only of the deliberative function of the Majles. Six classes were distinguished, and the conditions and qualifications for the deputies and electorate were set, local and provincial councils (anjomans) recognized, and the legal immunity of deputies guaranteed. The legislative function of the Majles was not clearly acknowledged until the Persian Constitution, Qānūn-e asāsī (Fundamental [or constitutional] law), was adopted on 11 Ḏu’l-qaʿda 1324/27 December 1906. This document was also known at first as the “fundamental code of rules” (neẓām-nāma-ye asāsī); in it were defined “the duties and functions of the [national] assembly (majles-e mellī), its limitations, and its relations with the various departments of the state” (Tārīḵ-e bīdārī II, pp. 33-45; Browne, Persian Revolution, p. 362).

In spite of opposition from the Qajar court, all three documents—the constitutional edict, the electoral law, and the Constitution itself—were endorsed by Moẓaffar-al-Dīn Shah before his death on 23 Ḏu’l-qaʿda 1324/9 January 1907, with the understanding that neither the deliberations nor the legislation of the Majles would compromise the prerogatives of the shah. It was only after the accession of Moḥammad-ʿAlī on 28 Ḏu’l-ḥejja 1324/11 February 1907 that the shah was requested for the first time by the Majles to acknowledge that Persia was a constitutional (mašrūṭa) state. After much semantic bargaining, he modified the proposed text of the farmān by defining the term mašrūṭa as “constitution” (konsṭeṭūsīon), presumably as a bar to a broader, possibly even republican interpretation of mašrūṭa (Hedāyat, 1344 Š./1965, pp. 146-49; cf. Tārīḵ-e bīdārī II, pp. 82-85; Taqīzāda, 1349 Š./1970, I, p. 392).

The term mašrūṭīyat finally appeared in the exordium to the supplement to the Constitution (motammem-e qānūn-e asāsī; see iii, below), where it denoted the nature of the Persian government but was not otherwise defined. In Article 7 it was stated merely that “the principles (asās) of mašrūṭīyat cannot be suspended” (Browne, Persian Revolution, pp. 372-73). The provisions of the supplementary law were nevertheless sufficiently compromising to the shah’s authority to undermine his already shaky confidence in the Constitution. The provisions that “sovereignty is a trust confided by the people to the person of the king” (Art. 35) and that ministers are responsible to the Majles but “the person of the king is exempt from responsibility” (Arts. 44, 45, 64) were alien to Qajar political culture. The insertion, in Moḥammad-ʿAlī’s own hand, of the phrase “as a divine gift” (be-mawhebat-e elāhī) in Article 35 only confused the lawmakers’ original intent and added to the contradictions and compromises in the text (Taqīzāda, 1349 Š./1970, I, p. 392).

Until the coup of 23 Jomādā I 1326/23 June 1908 the constitutionalists had won most of the battles over the shah’s authority. The consultative assembly that had initially been convened with vague deliberative and judicial functions had evolved into the National consultative assembly (Majles-e šūrā-ye mellī), a constituent body (majles-e moʾassesān) with sweeping legislative and executive powers. Advocacy of liberal causes by the deputies, open criticism by the newspapers, and growing antiroyalist sentiments among the radical anjomans, particularly the Tabrīz-based Anjoman-e eyālatī-e Āḏarbāyjān, isolated the conservatives and some moderates in the Majles and confirmed the royalists’ worst suspicions.

Nevertheless, only a few low- and middle-ranking clerics and a handful of guildsmen, merchants, and proreform notables among the deputies were sincerely dedicated to constitutionalism. Most deputies saw the Majles as an advisory body to oversee judicial, fiscal, and administrative reforms. Class divisions did not determine their ideological orientations. Constitutionalist notables like Mortażāqolī Ṣanīʿ-al-Dawla, Maḥmūd Eḥtešām-al-Salṭana, Jawād Saʿd-al-Dawla, Mīrzā Ḥasan Khan Mošīr-al-Dawla, and Mahdīqolī Moḵber-al-Salṭana, mostly educated in Europe and occupying high positions in the Majles and government, were influential in drafting the Constitution and its supplement. Not only did they provide much-needed knowledge of Western constitutional systems, but they also acted as mediators between the constitutionalists and the Qajar court, a function that often allowed them to exert a moderating influence on the Majles. Without them, it may be said, the early Majles remained a dissident body with weak leadership and little institutional recognition and thus more susceptible to the government’s intrusion. These constitutionalists did not represent a united bloc, nor did they share common objectives on all grounds. But they all acknowledged the need for a modern representative system to safeguard legal and material reforms. Conscious of their own privileged social status, they witnessed grudgingly the shift of initiative in the Majles to the radical, non-elite representatives.

The secret societies (anjomans), most widespread and effective in Tehran and Tabrīz, had an opposite, radicalizing influence on the First Majles. They functioned as primitive political parties and vehicles for popular participation. In other provincial capitals—Rašt, Mašhad, Isfahan, Shiraz, and Kermān—and later in smaller towns a whole array of anjomans appeared, often spontaneously and with little organizational experience. In some cities they served as local assemblies with self-appointed responsibility for security, judiciary, and government, Anjoman-e Aḏarbāyjān, for example (Rafīʿī, pp. 25-169). In Tehran some anjomans represented various interest groups, guilds, and ethnic and religious minorities. The influence of Sayyed Jamāl-al-Dīn, Malek al-Motakallemīn, and Dawlatābādī was particularly visible among those who represented the guilds, compensating for the exclusion of these men from membership in the Majles. They pressed for further reduction of the shah’s power and the adoption of a secular code of law. Through clandestine publications they pressured the Majles and later defended it against the military threat from the shah and the royalists (Dawlatābādī, Ḥayāt-e Yaḥyā II, pp. 149, 162-68, 182-83, 193; Etteḥādīya, 1361 Š./1982b, pp. 149-72; Yaḡmāʾī; Lambton, pp. 301-19).

The anjomans’ growing revolutionary momentum was bound to bring about a clash with royalist forces under the Russophile Moḥammad-ʿAlī Shah. Mindful of Tsar Nicholas II’s dissolution of the first Duma, he attempted to abolish the Constitution (mašrūṭa) in favor of Russian-style absolutism. The new concept of mašrūʿa, a quasi-constitutional system based on the Šarīʿa, put forward by Shaikh Fażl-Allāh Nūrī, the chief mojtahed of Tehran, and other anticonstitutional ʿolamāʾ, complemented Moḥammad-ʿAlī’s scheme for dismantling the Majles (Dawlatābādī, Ḥayāt-e Yaḥyā II, pp. 236-99; Etteḥādīya, 1361 Š./1982b, pp. 125-72; Martin, pp. 139-64; Correspondence I, nos. 8, 17, 31, 92, 98).

Mašrūṭa and mašrūʿa. From the outset the ʿolamāʾ had stressed the necessity for compatibility between constitutional demands and Islamic principles. There was a consensus that restraining the ruler’s power and creating a consultative council would preserve the “substance of Islam” (bayża-ye Eslām) against domestic tyranny and European domination. What remained in dispute, however, was the role of the ʿolamāʾ. Islamic constitutionalists claimed a leading role for the clergy in the new order. As early as 1324/1906 Ḥājī Mīrzā Ebrāhīm Šīrāzī had defended the authority of the ʿolamāʾ against the secular intellectuals. Addressing Moḥammad-ʿAlī Mīrzā, then crown prince, he declared: “Up to now our opinion was that the government consists of the men of the state and learned politicians, and not of unripened westernizers, rotten materialists, and dried-up newspaper readers who [only] learned [to criticize] the despotic absolutist government. Yet Persia is an Islamic republic (jomhūrī-e eslāmī), for from earlier times to the present the ʿolamāʾ of every people and every city rebelled against the provincial governors, and the [central] government dismissed the governors with the blessing of the [leaders] of the public … Therefore, our republic is the envy of France and America” (Tārīḵ-e bīdārī I, pp. 395-97). On the other hand, Shaikh Fażl-Allāh Nūrī saw the mašrūṭa, the growth of secularism in the Majles, and anti-ʿolamāʾ sentiments in the anjomans and in the press as detrimental to the Šarīʿa and the supremacy of its representatives. Many ʿolamāʾ agreed. Nūrī’s opposition to mašrūṭa was also provoked by the influence and popularity of his chief rival, Behbahānī.

The term mašrūʿa, derived from the same root as šarīʿa and deliberately parallel to mašrūṭa, designated adherence to the Šarīʿa in devising a constitutional order. For Nūrī and his supporters mašrūṭa-ye mašrūʿa meant a constitutional system in which the mojtaheds, as the sole legal authority, would codify the Šarīʿa in order to broaden its applicability and supplant the ʿorf in the sphere of public law. An “Islamic consultative council” (majles-e šūrā-ye eslāmī), perhaps including representatives of other classes but dominated by the jurists, would carry out this task. This formulation was appealing to ʿolamāʾ and royalists alike, as it did not infringe on the prerogatives of either class (Kasrawī, Mašrūṭa3, pp. 285-99, 358-85, 415-38; Martin, pp. 61-62, 126-27, 139-65; Ḥāʾerī, 1977a).

During the debate on the supplement (motammem) to the Constitution in 1325/1907, supporters of mašrūʿa, led by Nūrī, criticized the Majles on three grounds. First, they argued that laymen with no training in jurisprudence, and often with secularist tendencies, were unqualified to legislate in accordance with the Šarīʿa. In response, the Majles was obliged to reaffirm the express commitment to Islam in the Constitution and to acknowledge the ascendancy of the Šarīʿa over its own legislation. After much acrimonious debate the Majles also agreed to a committee of five mojtaheds with authority to veto legislation incompatible with the Šarīʿa (Art. 2), though in practice the Majles never consented to its convening. Second, supporters of mašrūʿa denounced the Majles for adopting the principle of equality before the law. Nūrī argued that equal rights for religious minorities, implicit in the supplement to the Constitution, were in open contradiction to the inherent legal and civil privileges of Muslims over recognized religious minorities (ahl-e ḏemma) and warned of the ascendancy of Babis and atheists in the Majles and the country. Third, Nūrī argued that freedom of the press and association were in violation of the Islamic principle of “prohibiting the evil” (nahy ʿan al-monkar; see amr be maʿrūf). The final draft of the supplement to the Constitution thus limited equality before the law to “state laws” (qawānīn dawlatī; Art. 8), banned publication of “heretical books and matters hurtful to the perspicuous religion [of Islam]” (Art. 20), and outlawed societies and associations “productive of mischief to religion and state” (Art. 21 ). In a separate document the Majles was obliged to define mašrūṭa as “the protection of the rights of the people, defining the confines of the sovereign, and laying down the functions of the agents of the state in a manner that will eliminate despotism and remove the arbitrary action of the state authorities… . Interference with the ordinances of the Šarīʿa and the divine laws, which are absolutely irreversible and irreplaceable, is outside the jurisdiction of the Majles. The sources for [interpretation] of the divine laws and the ordinances of the Šarīʿa are … the exalted ʿolamāʾ and the lofty mojtaheds” (Nūrī, 1983, p. 68; for constitutionalist responses, see Majles [Tehran], Jomādā II-Šaʿban 1325/July-September 1907, passim). Nevertheless, the rift between the supporters of mašrūʿa and the Majles persisted and contributed to the weakening of the constitutionalists’ position vis-à-vis that of the royalists. After the coup of July 1908 Nūrī dropped the demand for mašrūṭa-ye mašrūʿa and opted for the old concept of the partnership of religion and monarchy (see “Sobḥ-nāma-ye daʿwat al-Eslām,” cited in Tārīḵ-e bīdārī II, pp. 343-44; for a summary of the arguments against mašrūṭa, see Nūrī, 1326/1908). The conservative clerics in Iraq, headed by Shaikh Moḥammad-Kāẓem Yazdī, supported Nūrī. Although they produced no significant anticonstitutional polemics, they were able to consolidate their leadership (rīāsat) over the community by isolating proconstitutional mojtaheds.

Other ʿolamāʾ supported the Constitution, however. Three senior mojtaheds in the Shiʿite holy cities of Iraq, Ākūnd Moḥammad-Kāẓem Ḵorāsānī and his allies ʿAbd-Allāh Māzandarānī and Moḥammad-Ḥosayn Tehrānī defined the Constitution as ešterāṭ (lit. “conditionalism,” from the same root as mašrūṭa, evidently coined as a contrast to estebdād “tyranny”). In their declarations in support of the Majles and their condemnation of the anticonstitutionalism of Moḥammad-ʿAlī Shah and Nūrī they justified qānūn and mašrūṭa on the principle of “prohibiting the evil.” In a joint fatwā (legal opinion) after the coup of July 1908 they declared: “It is a necessity of the faith that during the occultation of the Lord of the Age (Ṣāḥeb-al-Zamān) the government of the Muslims should be in the hands of the representatives of the Muslims” (jomhūr az moslemīn; Šarīf Kāšānī, I, p. 210).

Moḥammad-Ḥosayn Nāʾīnī, an erudite advocate of constitutionalism before 1329/1911, argued in his Tanbīh al-omma wa tanzīh al-mella that, although it is impossible in the absence of the Imam to establish justice and equity and although any assumption of political power should be seen as usurpation of the Imam’s just authority (welāyat), it is nevertheless incumbent upon the ʿolamāʾ to choose the lesser of two evils. Constitutionalism, based on consultation and popular representation, is less likely to be oppressive than absolutism and is closer to the principles of Islam. The state is not the property of the ruler, as in despotic regimes, but is a joint trust on behalf of the Imam, in which the people’s representatives should share the burden of government with the ruler. Although Nāʾīnī’s discussion of constitutional issues like the separation of powers was somewhat convoluted, he was courageous enough to dismiss the conservative argument for mašrūʿa as “religious despotism” (estebdād-e dīnī; Ḥāʾerī, 1977b; tr. 1981, chaps. iii-v; cf. the works of several other ʿAtabāt constitutionalists: Mamaqānī; Toršīzī; Maḥallātī; idem, cited in Šarīf Kāšānī, I, pp. 246-51). The ascendancy of secularists in the Second Majles, the execution of Nūrī and the assassination of Behbahānī, and the gradual exclusion of the ʿolamāʾ from Persian politics (see ii, below) had disillusioned even ardent proponents of constitutionalism like Nāʾīnī and Māzandarānī. By the time of Ḵorāsānī’s death in 1331/1912, support of the ʿolamāʾ for mašrūṭa had sharply declined.

Patriotism and revolution

Popular sentiments during the period of “lesser tyranny” (July 1908-July 1909) generated an outburst of revolutionary activity in defiance of both royalist (mostabedd) and conservative religious opposition to the Constitution. The conscious idea of revolution was coupled with a potent notion of patriotism, which proved to be decisive in shaping the national identity of Persia in the following decades. Civil resistance in several cities spread the message of the Constitutional Revolution beyond the mosque and brought it into the streets. The concept of love for the fatherland (ḥobb-e waṭan) gained increasing currency during and after the resistance to Moḥammad-ʿAlī Shah and began to supplant traditional loyalty to the ruler. The defense of Islam and Shiʿism was also transformed into a call for protection of the Persian nation (mellat-e Īrān). Persian subjects (raʿāyā), traditionally the multitudes of believers (moʾmenīn) in the “protected domains of Persia” (mamālek-e maḥrūsa-ye Īrān), were to be called upon, as citizens and compatriots (ham-waṭanān), to die for their fatherland. The koranic term mellat (nation) no longer meant a community of believers within a compartmentalized society but the people of one country who shared a national (mellī) heritage and common interests beyond their religious and ethnic divisions. In contrast to the Ottoman empire, whence this new meaning of mellat was adopted, Persia was characterized by greater religious and cultural homogeneity, which permitted the swift political expression of conscious nationalism in such new institutions as the National consultative assembly and later the “national government” and the “national bank.” The religious underpinnings of this nationalism were apparent in the use of the Islamic terms mojāhed (religious warrior) and fedāʾī (devotee prepared to sacrifice his life) for partisans as well as the epithet “sacred” (moqaddas) for the Majles. The protosocialist revolutionary group in Tabrīz known as Markaz-e ḡaybī (Unseen nucleus), which was influential in Anjoman-e Aḏarbāyjān and responsible for the recruitment and training of fedāʾīs, may also have been influenced by the Shiʿite legacy of bāṭenī (hidden meaning; Amīrḵīzī; Ṭāherzāda). The titles of two popular leaders of the Tabrīz resistance, Sardār-e Mellī (national chief) Sattār Khan and Sālār-e Mellī (national leader) Bāqer Khan, captured the romantic spirit of the nationalists (mellīyūn), who extolled the valor of the ordinary man and his willingness to sacrifice for his country. These men were the first of a new kind of Persian hero, hailed as national saviors and enveloped in a haze of “blessed patriotism” (Šarīf Kāšānī, II, pp. 425-27, 445-55, 507-9).

Revolution came to be understood as a fierce rising of the wronged and the deprived against tyranny, foreign domination, and the undeserved privileges of the elite. The French Revolution served as a model, but no doubt the presence of Caucasian revolutionaries (Armenians, Georgians, Russian Azerbaijanis) who, after the failure of the Russian revolution in 1905, had joined the resistance movement in Tabrīz and Rašt helped to transform political resistance into revolutionary struggle. In Tabrīz traditional factional divisions among city quarters enhanced the polarization between constitutionalists (mašrūṭa-ḵᵛāhān), who lived mostly in Šayḵī quarters, and the royalists, who subscribed to an Islamic party (anjoman-e eslāmī) dominated by “orthodox” (motašarreʿīn) clerical supporters of the monarchy. The brief currency of the awkward French borrowing “revolution” (revolūsīon) beginning in 1325/1907 may be attributed to socialists from Baku and like-minded radicals. The Young Turk Revolution of 1908-9 and the abdication of Sultan ʿAbd-al-Ḥamīd II in Istanbul, shortly before the overthrow of Moḥammad-ʿAlī Shah, may also have had some bearing on how revolution was conceived in Persia (Šarīf Kāšānī, I, pp. 204, 243-45). Enqelāb, previously a derogatory term for a celestial revolution causing turmoil and anarchy, came to be employed in a positive sense, as an apt translation of “revolution,” with all its modern connotations. Wider usage of both French and Persian terms in connection with mašrūṭīyat occurred extensively in liberal-socialist publications like Īrān-e now in the period 1327-29/1909-11 (Šarīf Kāšānī, I, pp. 140-44).

Parliamentarianism and political parties

The isolation of proponents of mašrūʿa and the constitutionalist victory in July 1909 initiated a phase of secular parliamentarianism and political parties (see v, below). However, in the absence of traditional means of doctrinal control, the outburst of political activity did not lead to an ideological efflorescence of great magnitude or the prevalence of any one ideological current. The achievements of the Constitutional Revolution were thus confined primarily to the dislodging of old institutions, the Qajar ancien régime and the conservative Shiʿite establishment. Ironically, following the reassertion of mašrūṭa after July 1909, the remnants of the earlier revolutionary groups were overshadowed by socialists and the landed nobility, at opposite poles of the political spectrum. Moreover, the constitutionalists of the Second Majles turned their attention from ideology to immediate problems facing the country. The imperial threat to Persian territorial integrity, appearing first in the Anglo-Russian secret pact of 1325/1907, was later demonstrated in the joint ultimatum of November 1911; the expulsion of Morgan Shuster, the American financial adviser to the Persian government, under threat from the two powers; the shutting down of the Majles; and Russian occupation of Tabrīz. Combined with domestic unrest caused by the revolution, the course of events in 1330/1911 put the very existence of the nascent constitutional order in jeopardy. In spite of passionate calls for resistance inside and outside the Majles, the deputies and the government were left with no recourse but to respond to foreign aggression and domestic unrest with appeasement. The quarrel between the opposing political parties added to a sense of public disillusionment. The radicals of the First Majles became the Social democratic party (Ferqa-ye ejtemāʿīyūn-e ʿāmmīyūn) and later the Democratic party (Ferqa-ye demokrāt) in the Second Majles. Their opponents, the majority of the deputies, formed a loose coalition known as Moderates (Eʿtedālīyūn) and later Social moderates (Ejtemāʿīyūn-e eʿtedālīyūn; see Etteḥādīya, 1361 Š./1982b, pp. 68-74, 199-225; Ādamīyat, 1355 Š./1976a, pp. 3-62; Afšār, 1359 Š./1980b, pp. 349-66; McDaniel, pp. 70-133; see iv, below).

The Social democrats, among them Rasūlzāda, argued that, as the premature occurrence of revolution in Persia had resulted from its anti-imperialist and antidespotic character, nationalism should therefore be promoted, and constitutional government should restrict the rich (aḡnīā) and make concessions to the poor (foqarāʾ; Ādamīyat, 1355 Š./1976a, pp. 155-281). They therefore considered land reform essential, in order to break up the landed nobility, their opponents in the Majles. Although they did not propose mandatory redistribution of private agricultural land, they did favor distribution of crown lands, as well as the purchase of private land by an agricultural bank for distribution among the peasants. In practice, the Second Majles went no farther than abolition of the toyūl (benefice, a kind of land tenure) and unearned government pensions (mostamarrīyāt). Other items in the Democratic program of 1328/1910—income and other direct taxation, restricting exploitation by landlords, a rudimentary labor law, and a greater government role in controlling national resources—were not implemented (for an early proposal for economic reform, see Ṣanīʿ-al-Dawla; for the Social democratic program, see Marām-nāma).

The policies of the moderates in the Second Majles, on the other hand, were gradualist, pragmatic, and often ideologically inarticulate or inconsistent. They rejected land redistribution and major financial reforms and recommended appeasement of neighboring powers—which in practice often meant collaboration. Almost the entire Qajar establishment—still entrenched after the upheavals of 1326-27/1908-9—supported the moderates, including royalists, landed and tribal notables, leading merchants, and the remnants of the proconstitutional ʿolamāʾ.

Financial insolvency, insecurity, and the threat of partition at the hands of imperial neighbors remained the most urgent issues, but the failure of successive governments to tackle these problems gradually fostered the disillusionment evident in postrevolutionary literature and the press (see vi, vii, below). After 1329/1911 there was a popular yearning for a strong man, a political savior, who could deliver what parliamentary constitutionalism had failed to accomplish. As early as the Second Majles it was believed that the need for strong and effective government to preserve the integrity of Persia against foreign occupation was so great that the democratic objectives of mašrūṭa—freedom of speech and party politics, among others—could be put off until after the achievement of public security; the reintegration of the country; financial, administrative, military, educational, and judicial reforms; and greater independence from imperial powers.

Nevertheless, the civil rights granted in the Constitution were not all lost. Although the constitutionalists had not established sufficient safeguards for the preservation of democratic rights, the Constitution did furnish a rudimentary framework for the state’s treatment of its citizens. Moreover, the general purpose of the Constitutional Revolution had been not to undermine the authority of government but rather to combat the arbitrary power of the state. The weakening of the government resulted more from foreign intervention and domestic unrest than from the actions of the Majles and the constitutionalists. The nonpolitical aims of the Constitutional Revolution—above all, secular mass education, economic development, a judiciary independent of the ʿolamāʾ, and a centralized state with a powerful army and extensive bureaucracy—set the agenda for the early reforms under Reżā Shah (1304-20 Š./1925-41), largely at the expense of the political objectives of the revolution.


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Correspondence Relating to the Affairs of Persia I, London. Shaikh Reżā Dehḵᵛāraqānī, Waqāyeʿ-e nāṣerī wa tawżīḥ al-marām, ed. ʿA. Sīāhpūš, Tabrīz, 1358 Š./1979.

Maḥmūd Eḥtešām-al-Salṭana, Ḵāṭerāt-e Eḥtešām-al-Salṭana, ed. M. Mūsawī, Tehran, 1366 Š./1987.

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M. Hedāyat, Ḵāṭerāt wa ḵaṭarāt, Tehran, 1344 Š./1965.

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Sayyed Jamāl-al-Dīn Wāʿeẓ Eṣfahānī, Lebās al-taqwā, Shiraz, 1318/1900.

ʿAbd-al-ʿAẓīm Eʿmād-al-ʿOlamāʾ Ḵalḵālī, Maʿnī-e salṭanat-e mašrūṭa, Tehran, 1325/1907.

ʿAbd-al-ʿAlī Bīdgolī Kāšānī, Majmūʿa-ye mowbad, Tehran, 1320/1902.

ʿAbd-al-Raḥmān Kawākebī, Ṭabāyeʿ al-estebdād wa maṣāreḥ al-estebʿād, tr. ʿAbd-al-Ḥosayn Mīrzā, Tehran, 1326/1908.

E. Kāẓemīya, “Yāddāšthā-ye Sayyed Moḥammad Ṭabāṭabāʾī,” Rāhnemā-ye ketāb 14, 1350 Š./1971, pp. 467-79.

Shaikh Moḥammad-Esmāʿīl Maḥallātī, al-Laʾālī al-marbūṭa fī wojūb al-mašrūṭa, Būšehr, 1327/1909.

Majd-al-Eslām Kermānī, Tārīḵ-e enqelāb-e mašrūṭīyat-e Īrān. Safar-nāma-ye kalāt, ed. M. Ḵalīlpūr, Isfahan, 1347 Š./1968.

Idem, Tārīḵ-e enḥelāl-e Majles, ed. M. Ḵalīlpūr, Isfahan, 1351 Š./1972.

Malek-al-Motakallemīn and Jamāl-al-Dīn Wāʿeẓ Eṣfahānī, Roʾyā-ye ṣādeqa, Tehran, n.d. [1318/1900?].

Mīrzā Malkom Khan, Majmūʿa-ye āṯār, ed. M. Moḥīṭ Ṭabāṭabāʾī, Tehran, 1327 Š./1948.

Asad-Allāh Mamaqānī, Maslak al-emām fī salāmat al-Eslām, Istanbul, 1327/1909.

Zayn-al-ʿĀbedīn Marāḡaʾī, Sīāḥat-nāma-ye Ebrāhīm Beyg, 3 vols., Istanbul, 1314-27/1897-1909.

Marām-nāma-ye Ferqa-ye sīāsī-ye demokrāt-e Īrān [ʿĀmmīyūn], Tehran, 1328/1910.

Ḥ. Moḥīṭ Māfī, Moqaddemāt-e mašrūṭīyat, ed. M. Tafrešī and J. Jānfedā, Tehran, 1363 Š./1984.

ʿAbbās Mīrzā Molkārā, Šarḥ-e ḥāl-e ʿAbbās Mīrzā Molkārā, ed. ʿA.-Ḥ. Navāʾī, Tehran, 1355 Š./1976.

J. Morier, The Adventures of Hajji Baba of Isfahan, 2 vols., London, 1824-28; tr. Mīrzā Ḥabīb Eṣfahānī as Ḥājī Bābā Eṣfahānī, 2 vols., Calcutta, 1304-24/1886-1906.

Ṣādeq Mostašār-al-Dawla, Yāddāšthā-ye tārīḵī, ed. Ī. Afšār, 2 vols., Tehran, 1361 Š./1982.

Mīrzā Yūsof Mostašār-al-Dawla,Yak kalema, n.p., 1287/1870.

Moḥammad-Ḥosayn Nāʾīnī, Tanbīh al-omma wa tanzīh al-mella, Baghdad, 1909; 2nd ed., Tehran, 1329/1910.

Shaikh Hādī Najmābādī, Taḥrīr al-ʿoqalāʾ, Tehran, 1302 Š./1923.

A. L. M. Nicolas, “Un sermon de A. Sayyed Jemal-ed-Dine,” RMM 2, 1907, pp. 313-30.

Shaikh Fażl-Allāh Nūrī, Taḏkerat al-ḡāfel wa eršād al-jāhel, Tehran, 1326/1908.

Idem, Lawāyeḥ, ed. E. Reżwānī, 1362 Š./1983.

Idem, Majmūʿa-ī az rasāʾel, eʿlamīyahā, mokātabāt, wa rūz-nāma-ye Šayḵ-e šahīd Fażl-Allāh Nūrī, ed. M. Torkamān, Tehran, 1363 Š./1984.

“Qātel-e ḥāqīqī-e Mīrzā ʿAlī-Aṣḡar Ḵān Atābak,” Yādgār 3/4, 1325 Š./1946, pp. 47-51.

M. E. Reżwānī, “Bist-o-do resāla-ye tablīḡātī az dawra-ye enqelāb-e mašrūṭīyat,” Rāhnemā-ye ketāb 12, 1348 Š./1969, pp. 229-40, 371-77.

Ḵ. Saʿāda, Tārīḵ-e šūreš-e Rūsīya, tr. ʿA. Rāvarī Kermānī, Tehran, 1327/1909.

G.-Ḥ. Ṣadīqī, “Dah resāla-ye dīgar az ṣadr-e mašrūṭīyat,” Rāhnemā-ye ketāb 13, 1349 Š./1970, pp. 17-24.

Mortażāqolī Khan Ṣanīʿ-al-Dawla, Rāh-e najāt, Tehran, 1325/1907.

Moḥammad-Mahdī Šarīf Kāšānī, Tārīḵ-e Šarīf, ed. M. Etteḥādīya and S. Saʿdvandīān as Wāqeʿāt-e ettefāqīya dar rūzgār, 3 vols., Tehran, 1362 Š./1983.

Moḥammad-ʿAlī Sayyāḥ Maḥallātī, Ḵāṭerāt-e Ḥājj Sayyāḥ yā dawra-ye ḵawf wa waḥšat, ed. Ḥ. Sayyāḥ and S. Golkār, Tehran, 1346 Š./1967.

W. M. Shuster, The Strangling of Persia, London, 1912.

Bāqer Khan Tabrīzī, Tārīḵ-e aqṣā-ye šarq yā moḥāraba-ye Rūs o Žāpon, Tehran, 1331/1913.

Mīrzā Ḥosayn-ʿAlī Tājer Šīrāzī, Jang-e Rūs o Žāpon, Tehran, 1325/1907a.

Idem, Mīkādo-nāma, Bombay, 1325/1907b.

ʿAbd-al-Raḥīm Ṭālebof, Pand-nāma-ye Mārkos qayṣar-e Rūm (a translation from Russian of Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations), Istanbul, 1310/1893.

Idem, Safīna-ye ṭālebī ya ketāb-e Aḥmad, 2 vols., Istanbul, 1311/1893-94.

Idem, Masālek al-moḥsenīn, Cairo, 1323/1905.

Idem, Masāʾel al-ḥayāt yā ketāb-e Aḥmad, Tiflis, 1324/1906.

Idem, Iżāḥāt dar ḵoṣūṣ-e āzādī, Tehran, 1325/1907.

Idem, Sīāsat-e ṭālebī, Tehran, 1329/1911.

H. Taqīzāda, “Taḥqīq dar aḥwāl-e konūnī-e Īrān yā moḥākamāt-e tārīḵī,” Ḥekmat (Cairo and Tabrīz), 1323/1905.

Idem, Maqālāt-e Taqīzāda, ed. Ī. Afšār, I, Tehran, 1349 Š./1970.

Idem, Zendagī-ye ṭūfānī. Ḵāṭerāt-e Sayyed Ḥasan Taqīzada, ed. Ī. Afšār, Tehran, n.d.

Moḥammad-Walī Khan Tonokābonī, Sepah-sālār-e Tonokābonī, ed. ʿA. Ḵalʿatbarī, Tehran, 1362 Š./1983.

Šams-al-Afāżel Yūsof Toršīzī, Kalema-ye jāmeʿa, Tehran, 1324/1911.


After 1308/1890 the Persian government found itself in increasing financial difficulties, as inflation produced a sharp decline in the value of the land tax (mālīāt; M. Durand, “Memorandum on the Situation in Persia,” 27 September 1895, F.O. 60/566; Encyclopædia Britannica, 10th ed., 1902, s.v. “Persia”; Gilbar, 1983) and the silver qerān lost value against the pound sterling with the rapid fall of international silver prices at the end of the 19th century (Avery and Simmons, pp. 259-86). These difficulties led the government to borrow from Russia: 2 million pounds sterling in 1317/1900 and 1 million in 1319/1902. In 1315/1897-98 the grand vizier (ṣadr-e aʿẓam) Mīrzā ʿAlī Khan Amīn-al-Dawla had begun attempts to reform the state finances (Amīn-al-Dawla, p. 218). His one success was the reorganization of the customs under the Belgian Joseph Naus (See belgian-iranian relations). Customs revenues rose from 200,000 pounds sterling per annum in 1316/1898 to 600,000 per annum in early 1322/1904.

Events leading to adoption of the Constitution. The leading merchants reacted to more stringent administration of the customs by organizing demonstrations in major urban centers, particularly Tabrīz, Tehran, Isfahan, and Shiraz, between 1317/1900 and 1323/1905 (Spring Rice to Salisbury, no. 89, 18 September 1900, F.O. 60/618; Gérard to Favereau, 3 December 1898, no. 264/94, in fol. 2981, I-III, Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Gilbar, 1977, pp. 275-303). In 1322/1904 the situation was exacerbated by a shortfall in trade with Russia, Persia’s major trading partner, because of the Russo-Japanese war (Entner, p. 63). In 1323/1905 discontent, with the customs reforms in particular and the government’s fiscal policies and inaccessibility in general, led the merchants to organize and fund an opposition movement in Tehran; the chief spokesman was the mojtahed (theologian) Sayyed ʿAbd-Allāh Behbahānī. The opposition took on a more reformist character when Behbahānī and Sayyed Moḥammad Ṭabāṭabāʾī, a mojtahed much influenced by the 19th-century reform goals of government according to law and greater administrative efficiency (see i, above), entered into an agreement to collaborate, on the eve of 25 Ramażān 1323/23 November 1905 (Tārīḵ-e bīdārī, ed. Saʿīdī Sīrjānī, I, pp. 272-73, 324; Kāẓemīya; Martin, pp. 65-85).

When ʿAlāʾ-al-Dawla, the governor of Tehran, ordered two merchants bastinadoed on 14 Šawwāl 1323/12 December 1905, as punishment for having raised the price of sugar, he provided the opposition with a pretext for open resistance. The next day the bāzār went on strike, and a mass of people, led by Behbahānī and Ṭabāṭabāʾī, gathered at Masjed-e Šāh to demand the removal of ʿAlāʾ-al-Dawla. The crowd had different aspirations, but some of them also sought a council for the redress of grievances. Sayyed Jamāl-al-Dīn Wāʿeẓ Eṣfahānī was addressing the crowd when followers of the conservative mojtahed Ḥājj Mīrzā Abu’l-Qāsem Emām-e Jomʿa, the leading preacher at the Masjed-e Šāh, disrupted the meeting by attacking the listeners. Two days later Ṭabāṭabāʾī and Behbahānī led a group of about 2,000 people, most of them members of the lesser ʿolamāʾ, to take sanctuary (bast) in the shrine of Shah ʿAbd-al-ʿAẓīm south of Tehran. Funded initially from the bāzār (Tārīḵ-e bīdārī, ed. Saʿīdī Sīrjānī, I, pp. 331-36, 344), the bast was also supported by two aspirants to the throne: Sālār-al-Dawla Abu’l-Fatḥ Mīrzā and, according to E. G. Browne (Persian Revolution, p. 113; cf. Kasrawī, pp. 66, 113), the crown prince, Moḥammad-ʿAlī Mīrzā, the latter in the belief that it was directed mainly against the prime minister, ʿAyn-al-Dawla, whom he mistrusted. In its later stages, however, the bast was sustained by two groups of high officials. The first consisted of the family and clients of the exiled former premier ʿAlī-Aṣḡar Khan Amīn-al-Solṭān. The second comprised reformist members of the elite, including Mīrzā Naṣr-Allāh Khan Mošīr-al-Dawla and more particularly his sons Mīrzā Ḥasan Khan Mošīr-al-Molk and Mīrzā Ḥosayn Khan Moʾtamen-al-Molk; Mortażāqolī Khan Ṣanīʿ-al-Dawla; Moḵber-al-Salṭana Mahdīqolī Hedāyat; Mīrzā Jawād Khan Saʿd-al-Dawla; Dūst-Moḥammad Khan Eʿteṣām-al-Molk (later Moʿayyer-al-Mamālek); and Abu’l-Qāsem Khan Nāṣer-al-Molk (Tārīḵ-e bīdārī, ed. Saʿīdī Sīrjānī, I, p. 346; Šarīf Kāšānī, I, pp. 35-40; Grant Duff to Grey, no. 101, 22 April 1906, F.O. 371/109). Encouragement from these political factions was more consistent than that of the bāzār merchants, whose support flagged when it became clear that they were not going to dislodge ʿAyn-al-Dawla and Naus, the architect of the customs reforms. Having tried and failed to break the bast by bribery and coercion, the government asked the protesting ʿolamāʾ for their conditions. Their main requests emerged as the dismissal of Naus and ʿAyn-al-Dawla; there was no request for reform on their initial lists (see Tārīḵ-e bādārī, ed. Saʿīdī Sīrjānī, I, pp. 353, 357; Dawlatābādī, Ḥayāt-e Yaḥyā II, p. 22). Having refused these requests, the government accepted a subsequent demand for an ʿadālat-ḵāna (lit. “house of justice”). This term, the precise meaning of which is obscure, had come into use, notably by Malkom Khan, during attempts at legal reform in the 1860s (see Ādamīyat, 1352 Š./1973, p. 81), and more particularly in the 1870s, when Sepah-sālār, influenced by the reforms of the Ottoman Tanẓīmat, attempted to introduce a system of tribunals (ʿadalat-kānas) throughout the provinces under a central body in the capital, to which the state administration was accountable (Ādamīyat, 1352 Š./1973, p. 181). This reform was probably based on the Ottoman Šūrā-ye dawlat (Council of state), which in turn was modeled on the French Conseil d’Ētat (Martin, pp. 76-77). In 1890 Malkom Khan pointed to the reforms in Ottoman law and compared progress in the making of laws and the organizing of ʿadālat-ḵānas in the Ottoman empire with the anarchic and oppressive system in Persia (Qānūn 16, p. 30). The purpose of the Persian ʿadālat-ḵāna has also been linked to a series of late 19thcentury institutions with differing names, all designed to redress grievances against the state administration (Etteḥādīya).

Mīrzā Yaḥyā Dawlatābādī claimed to have introduced the request for reform into the list presented to the shah (Ḥayāt-e Yaḥyā II, pp. 22-24), but his account is improbable, and it is more likely that the demand for establishment of an ʿadālat-ḵāna had been quietly suggested to Behbahānī by high-ranking bureaucrats with reformist goals (Šarīf Kāšānī, I, p. 20). In any case the vagueness of the term permitted a compromise between the regime, which had not yielded on the more significant demands for dismissal of Naus and ʿAyn-al-Dawla, and the ʿolamāʾ in bast, who were running out of money and could emerge with enhanced prestige and a guarantee of safety for their followers. On 14 Ḏu’l-qaʿda 1323/10 January 1906 a rescript was issued granting an ʿadālat-ḵāna to “execute the laws of the Šarīʿa and ensure the security of the subjects” (Tārīḵ-e bīdārī, ed. Saʿīdī Sīrjānī, I, p. 366), and the protesting ʿolamāʾ emerged from bast two days later.

There followed a period of inactivity while the government stalled on reform and attempted to divide the opposition, which was in any case uncertain how to proceed. Some of the ʿolamāʾ were suspicious of reform and especially of the implications of the proposed code of justice. Reformers operating in secret groups began a propaganda campaign in favor of political change (Lambton, 1958). The opposition movement gathered momentum in the late spring, when Ṭabāṭabāʾī, urged on by his followers, wrote to both the shah and ʿAyn-al-Dawla reminding them of their promise to institute reforms (Tārīḵ-e bīdārī, ed. Saʿīdī Sīrjānī, I, pp. 390-91, 403-5). Neither letter elicited a response. In June therefore, after an agitator named Mahdī Gāvkoš had been arrested for sedition and ill treated, Ṭabāṭabāʾī delivered a long sermon calling for an end to arbitrary government and for a majles-e mašrūʿa-ye ʿadālat-ḵāna (council of justice) in which all classes would be represented, stopping short, however, of a demand for full constitutional government (Tārīḵ-e bīdārī, ed. Saʿīdī Sīrjānī, I, pp. 442-54; Martin, p. 81). Agitation continued until 19 Jomādā I/11 July, when ʿAyn-al-Dawla ordered the arrest of Shaikh Moḥammad Wāʿeẓ Eṣfahānī, the leading preacher of Tehran, whose sermons had been particularly incendiary. The resulting demonstration ended with the death of a theology student (ṭalaba). His body was taken to the Masjed-e jāmeʿ, and a large crowd gathered, including Ṭabāṭabāʾī and Behbahānī. The conservative mojtahed Shaikh Fażl-Allāh Nūrī, the foremost religious leader of Tehran and a supporter of the shah, was obliged by a large crowd gathered at his house to go to the mosque and join with the opposition, so that the ʿolamāʾ might offer a semblance of unity (Dawlatābādī, Ḥayāt-e Yaḥyā II, p. 70). The shah issued a rescript promising redress of grievances but refused to dismiss ʿAyn-al-Dawla. On the morning of 21 Jomādā I/13 July a procession bearing the shirt of the dead student and including people wearing shrouds passed through the bāzār. Negotiations between the shah and the leaders of the reformist ʿolamāʾ continued fruitlessly until 23 Jomādā I/15 July, when the latter departed for Qom in protest. The decisive event in breaking the power of the old regime, however, was the great bast at the British legation in Tehran at about the same time. Attempts by the government in the mid 19th century to limit the resort to bast in shrines and mosques had led increasing numbers to seek refuge in foreign, particularly the British and Russian, legations, which were exempt from control by the Persian government (see concessions ii). The British were sometimes embarrassed by their uninvited and often long-term guests but were unwilling to break with tradition, partly because it enhanced their prestige and partly because it could be useful in bringing pressure to bear on the Persian government. It seems certain that the bast of 1324/1906 in the British legation was initiated by Behbahānī, who had a long-standing association with the British. On 18 Jomādā I/10 July, even before the demonstrations, he wrote to the chargé d’affaires, Evelyn Grant Duff, that the people were prepared to overthrow the government and asked for financial support (Grant Duff to Grey, no. 178, Tel., 19 July 1906, F.O. 371/112). Grant Duff’s reply, that the British government could not support opposition to the government of Persia, reflected firm British policy throughout the bast, repeatedly reiterated in telegrams from the foreign secretary, Edward Grey, to Grant Duff. Behbahānī persisted, however, and on 24 Jomādā I/16 July again requested British support against oppression (Grant Duff to Grey, no. 194, 19 July 1906, F.O. 371/112). At the same time he ordered his merchant followers to take bast in the legation, and on 27 Jomādā I/19 July about fifty lesser merchants and mullahs did so (Tārīḵ-e bīdārī, ed. Saʿīdī Sīrjānī, I, pp. 510-11; Šarīf Kāšānī, I, pp. 73-81; Grant Duff to Grey, no. 192, Tel., 21 July, no. 197, Tel., 24 July, no. 200, Tel., 26 July, no. 211, 15 August 1906, F.O. 371/112; no. 203, 13 August 1906, F.O. 371/112). The merchants were led by two grain wholesalers, Ḥājī Moḥammad-Taqī Bonakdār and his brother Ḥājī Moḥammad-Ḥasan, who had organized the provisioning of the December bast (Tārīḵ-e bīdārī, ed. Saʿīdī Sīrjānī, I, pp. 344, 510-11). Behbahānī probably intended these men not only to seek protection but also to bring pressure to bear on the British to act as intermediaries between the opposition and the shah. It is probable also that he had discussed the matter with notables sympathetic to reform (Dawlatābādī, Ḥayāt-e Yaḥyā II, p. 71). The initial group was soon joined by theology students and representatives of nearly all the trade and craft guilds; by 11 Jomādā II/2 August the number had reached 14,000. Each guild had its own tent on the legation grounds; meals were prepared in a common kitchen and served from huge cauldrons. Most of the expenses were defrayed by the merchants, particularly Ḥājī Moḥammad-Ḥasan Amīn-al-Żarb, Ḥājī Moḥammad Moʿīn-al-Tojjār Būšehrī, Ḥājī Moḥammad-Esmāʿīl Āqā Tabrīzī, and Arbāb Jamšīd (Tārīḵ-e bīdārī, ed. Saʿīdī Sīrjānī, I, p. 590; Browne, Persian Revolution, p. 120; Malekzāda, II, pp. 168-70; Tafrešī Ḥosaynī, p. 29).

From most contemporary accounts it is clear that the demand for a national assembly evolved during this bast; although most of the participants were ignorant of the principles of constitutional government, members of the reformist secret societies were particularly active among them (Tārīḵ-e bīdārī, Saʿīdī Sīrjānī, I, pp. 512, 514; Dawlatābādī, Ḥayāt-e Yaḥyā II, p. 74; Ṣafāʾī, 1346 Š./1967, p. 78; Browne, Persian Revolution, p. 122). On 1 Jomādā II/23 July Grant Duff conveyed the first demands of the bastīs to the shah: dismissal of ʿAyn-al-Dawla, establishment of an ʿadālat-ḵāna, and the return of the ʿolamāʾ who had sought refuge in Qom (Grant Duff to Grey, no. 206, 13 August 1906, F.O. 371/112; Dawlatābādī, Ḥayāt-e Yaḥyā II, pp. 74-5). It was only three days later, in a meeting between ʿAyn-al-Dawla and eight leading Tehran merchants, that a request for an elected national assembly (majles-e mabʿūṯān-e mellī) was first put forward (Dawlatābādī, Ḥayāt-e Yaḥyā II, pp. 74-76; Gilbar, 1977, p. 299).

After further negotiations the shah agreed in principle to a majles, and on 7 Jomādā II/29 July ʿAyn-al-Dawla resigned. Some of the bastīs prepared to leave but were advised by the leaders to remain in the legation, as it was pointed out that the prime minister’s resignation was no longer the issue and that a more fundamental reform, a majles-e mellī, was required (Ḥ. Taqīzāda, quoted in Browne, Persian Revolution, p. 122). A struggle over the exact nature of the proposed majles ensued, the central issue being the degree to which reforms would be guided by Islamic law. The ʿolamāʾ at Qom sent a telegram to Moẓaffar-al-Dīn Shah in which they stated their demand for the establishment of a majles-e ʿadālat to ensure justice in all affairs, protect the country against foreign interference, and introduce reforms in accordance with the Šarīʿa (Tārīḵ-e bīdārī, ed. Saʿīdī Sīrjānī, I, pp. 546-48). A rescript of 14 Jomādā II/5 August granting a majles of representatives elected from all classes, including the guilds, was rejected by the opposition because they found it too vague. Finally, following further consultations, including an interview between the grand vizier, Mošīr-al-Dawla, and leading merchants, the rescript of 19 Jomādā II/10 August granted the right to a majles-e šūrā-ye mellī (Tārīḵ-e bīdārī, ed. Saʿīdī Sīrjānī, I, pp. 548-65; Grant Duff to Grey, no. 210, Tel., 10 August 1906, F.O. 371/112; Ẓahīr-al-Dawla, p. 136). All but a few bastīs then left the legation, and the ʿolamāʾ returned from Qom on 23 Jomādā II/14 August.

Adoption of the Constitution and early debates. Three days later a body met to make arrangements for organization of the Majles; it included members from three distinct groups: reformist notables, including Ṣanīʿ-al-Dawla, Moḵber-al-Salṭana, and Mošīr-al-Molk, and some merchants; the younger ʿolamāʾ led by Ṭabāṭabāʾī’s sons; and court conservatives, most prominent among them Amīr Bahādor (Tārīḵ-e bīdārī, ed. Saʿīdī Sīrjānī, I, pp. 573-76; Dawlatābādī, Ḥayāt-e Yaḥyā II, pp. 87-88). In the interval 28 Jomādā II-18 Rajab/19 August-8 September the group worked to formulate electoral rules. A draft based on the electoral laws in the Belgian constitution was submitted by Ṣanīʿ-al-Dawla’s group (see iii, below). Although the ʿolamāʾ feared that it gave insufficient prominence to religion and Amīr Bahādor tried both to preserve the powers of the shah and to restrict the Majles to Tehran (Ṣafāʾī, 1346 Š./1967, p. 381; Grant Duff to Grey, no. 226, 11 September 1906, F.O. 416/29), the draft was eventually presented to the shah. It was signed on 19 Rajab/8 September and announced the next day. The regulations provided for 156 deputies (Tārīḵ-e bīdārī, ed. Saʿīdī Sīrjānī, I, pp. 601-8); sixty of them were allotted to Tehran, reportedly in order to permit swift establishment of the Majles. Of the Tehran deputies thirty-two represented the guilds, ten the merchants, ten the landowners, four the ʿolamāʾ, and four the Qajar family. Elections took place in the capital on 10 Šaʿbān/29 September, the number of voters being no more than a few hundred in each of the five classes, owing to high property qualifications. Ṭabāṭabāʾī and Behbahānī, though not officially deputies to the Majles, attended the sessions, as their presence was still necessary to legitimate the body. The formidable nature of the latent opposition to the new Majles soon became apparent, however, when the crown prince and governor of Azerbaijan, Moḥammad-ʿAlī Mīrzā, forbade publication in that province of the shah’s rescript on the Majles; he yielded only after disturbances in Tabrīz (Kasrawī, Mašrūṭa3, pp. 153-64). Later in the autumn provincial elections to the Majles produced power struggles in which local and national issues were mingled.

The Majles opened on 18 Šaʿbān/7 October, with Ṣanīʿ-al-Dawla as its first president. The dominant faction included Saʿd-al-Dawla, leading merchants, and some guildsmen. Despite efforts by some contemporary observers to detect the emergence of political parties, the pattern of groupings within the Majles was at that stage largely traditional (see v, below). Ṭabāṭabāʾī and Behbahānī continued to represent the views of the less privileged, and factions formed and reformed as their members cooperated over one particular interest and then united with others on another issue. Observers commented that the majority of the deputies had little understanding of constitutionalism and either pursued their personal interests or came under the influence of an ambitious few (Hedāyat, p. 148; Zinov’ev, p. 46). The guild deputies in particular were overawed by the proceedings and took little part in the debates, content to follow the guidance of the merchants and mojtaheds. The cabinet ministers, who were appointed by the shah and did not serve in the Majles, were also in a weak position, caught between the two opposing centers of power.

The chief issue under discussion in the autumn of 1906 was the proposed constitution. It was agreed that the Majles, representing the people, would have the right to propose legislation and have final authority over the laws, the budget, and financial policy. It would sit in two-year sessions. The most contentious issue, the nomination of members of the senate, was resolved by allowing the shah and the Majles each to appoint half the members. The Constitution was rushed to the shah to be signed and presented to the Majles on 16 Ḏu’l-qaʿda 1324/1 January 1907, just before his death (Tārīḵ-e bīdārī, ed. Saʿīdī Sīrjānī, II, p. 35).

At the beginning of 1907 two more intransigent elements entered the political scene. On one hand, Moḥammad-ʿAlī Shah (1324-27/1907-9), who held the Majles in high disfavor, acceded to the throne. On the other, the deputies from Tabrīz arrived, led by Sayyed Ḥasan Taqīzāda. The first major issue confronting the Majles was the debate over the definition of constitutional government and the role of religious authority, which led to serious disturbances in Tabrīz, instigated by Taqīzāda, and was temporarily resolved only on 27 Ḏu’l-ḥejja/11 February, with the issue of a rescript declaring the government of Persia to be mašrūṭa, that is, constitutional in the parliamentary sense (Tārīḵ-e bīdārī, ed. Saʿīdī Sīrjānī, II, pp. 82-86; Kasrawī, Mašrūṭa3, pp. 217-23; see i, above).

The other major problem facing the Majles was finances. There were no revenues to permit implementation of reforms, and salaries of government employees were already well in arrears. A proposed Anglo-Russian loan fell through because the Majles could not guarantee that the money would be spent properly by the government. On 4 Ṣafar 1325/19 March 1907 a finance committee composed of Ṣanīʿ-al-Dawla and leading merchant deputies proposed that government finances be reorganized along European lines, with revenues paid directly into the treasury and all officials salaried (Spring Rice to Grey, no. 65, 28 March 1907, F.O. 371/301). The old system of madāḵel, unregulated gifts, in the collection of the revenues and pīškaš (gifts) made to the shah in return for appointments was officially abolished. A national bank had been established in the previous autumn, in an attempt to solve the financial crisis without resorting to foreign loans (see banking in iran i). The bank had been unable to raise adequate subscriptions, however, and in March 1907 its directors were chartered to borrow money and initiate development projects. Nevertheless, it did not function effectively in the revolutionary period, partly because it lacked collateral and partly because the limited amount of coinage in the country was mainly in the possession of the British Imperial Bank, which had the concession to issue bank notes (Tārīḵ-e bīdārī, ed. Saʿīdī Sīrjānī, II, p. 20; Majles [Tehran] 31, Ḏu’l-ḥejja 1324/January 1907; Spring Rice to Grey no. 290, 4 December 1907, F.O. 416/29). On 1 Ṣafar/16 March the Majles abolished toyūl (benefices from land), but that move aroused opposition among notables and ʿolamāʾ, the main beneficiaries of such payments.

The covert opposition of the shah and court was bolstered by growing discontent among other groups that had profited from the old regime. The shah brought back Amīn-al-Solṭān from exile in Europe and appointed him prime minister in April 1907, arousing strong protests from the Anjoman-e Āḏarbāyjān (q.v.) and the leading reformist preacher Naṣr-Allāh Khan Malek-al-Motakallemīn (Kasrawī, Mašrūṭa3, p. 251). Amīn-al-Solṭān arrived at Bandar-e Anzalī in a Russian warship on 6 Rabīʿ I/19 April. Local radical forces tried to prevent his landing, but he was able to mollify some of the opposition by declaring on the spot in favor of the Constitution. Although some participants believed that he would use statecraft to incapacitate the Majles, others considered him the only person capable of reconciling opposing groups (Hedāyat, pp. 202-8; Kasrawī, Mašrūṭa3, p. 281).

It was recognized from the beginning that the Constitution so hastily presented to Moẓaffar-al-Dīn Shah had left some fundamental issues unresolved, and a commission of the Majles began work on a major supplementary law (Motammem-e qānūn-e asāsī; see iii, below). As it was completing its task, many of the conservative ʿolamāʾ, led by Shaikh Fażl-Allāh, began to evince disquiet, particularly over Article 8, which provided for equality before the law, regardless of creed. To combat the influence of modernizing constitutionalists, Shaikh Fażl-Allāh drafted an article to be included in the supplement, providing that no bill passed by the Majles could be implemented without the consent of a committee of ʿolamāʾ (Kasrawī, Mašrūṭa3, pp. 316-17). The draft was incorporated into the constitution as Article 2 but with the proviso that members of the council be chosen by the Majles, which vitiated its intended effect (Kasrawī, Mašrūṭa3, p. 372). Shaikh Fażl-Allāh then openly joined forces with discontented conservative groups and organized a number of demonstrations against the constitutionalists; they in turn attacked his followers. On 10 Jomādā I 1325/21 June 1907 he and his group took bast at the shrine of Shah ʿAbd-al-ʿAẓīm, whence, for the remainder of the summer, they conducted a campaign against constitutionalism. The bast was subsidized by the court, notables whose economic interests had been negatively affected by measures adopted in the Majles, and above all by the shah (Malekzāda, III, p. 30; Kasrawī, Mašrūṭa3, p. 373; Dawlatābādī, Ḥayāt-e Yaḥyā II, p. 179; Šarīf Kāšānī, I, p. 128; Spring Rice to Grey, 18 July 1907, F.O. 800/70). In a series of leaflets the bastīs demanded an Islamic constitution (neẓām-nāma-ye eslāmī) and accused the constitutionalists of having established a parliament that had no legitimate basis in the Šarīʿa, thus interfering with revealed law. They also attacked equality and freedom of the press as contrary to Islam (for texts and discussion of these leaflets, see Kasrawī, Mašrūṭa3, pp. 410, 414-23, 432-38; Reżwānī, passim; Torkamān, passim; Richard; Martin, pp. 123-30).

These charges were refuted in a number of constitutionalist newspapers that had been established following the granting of the Constitution (see vi, below). The first was Majles, founded in October 1906, which reported the debates in the Majles; others included Ḥabl-al-matīn (Tehran), which contained good discursive articles, and the radical reformist Tamaddon, Ṣūr-e Esrāfīl, and Mosāwāt. The latter two papers were the source of some of the policies and programs adopted by the new Social Democratic party (Ferqa-ye ejtemāʿīyūn-e ʿāmmīyūn), through published criticism of the exploitation of peasants by landlords and discussions of republicanism (Ṣūr-e Esrāfīl 18-19, passim; Mosāwāt 21, passim). The role of this party in the early stages of the Constitutional Revolution is still obscure, but from about 1907 its activities seem to have spread, especially in Tabrīz. The leading activist was Ḥaydar Khan ʿAm(ū)oḡlī, a revolutionary from the Caucasus who was influential among the lower classes and probably organized the strike in August 1907 for better pay and conditions for employees of the Tehran electrical plant where he worked. He also appears to have been instrumental in the establishment of a secret committee with connections to the Russian Social Democrats. Two other probable members of the committee were the well-known preachers Malek-al-Motakallemīn and Āqā Sayyed Jamāl-al-Dīn Eṣfahānī (Etteḥādīya, 1980, pp. 101, 108-10).

During the summer of 1907 Amīn-al-Solṭān had asked the shah to dismiss the more hard-line members of his cabinet, and he continued to build up the so-called “Moderate party” in the Majles. These moves aroused opposition from both radicals and conservatives, however, and his proposals for a new foreign loan to help reorganize government finances were regarded with suspicion. On 22 Rajab/31 August, having just obtained from the shah permission to cooperate with the Majles, Amīn-al-Solṭān was assassinated (Kasrawī, Mašrūṭa3, p. 446). The man who shot him, ʿAbbās Āqā, was a moneychanger from Tabrīz and carried a note identifying himself as fedāʾī (freedom fighter) no. 41. There have been various theories about who was responsible for organizing the assassination (See conspiracy theories). According to one contemporary version, members of the secret Tehran committee had voted for his “execution” and assigned the task to a group of which Ḥaydar Khan was the leader and ʿAbbās Āqā a member. This view prevailed among some conservatives, and the governor of Tehran, Mortażāqolī Khan Wazīr-e Maḵṣūṣ, relinquished his post in the conviction that the deed was the work of a radical secret society and fearing a reactionary plot against himself. A second theory, that the assassination had been plotted by the court, was held by Ṣanīʿ-al-Dawla, who resigned as president of the Majles in fear of his own life. There are still those who believe, on the basis of Ḥaydar Khan’s memoirs, that the assassination resulted from a single radical plot (Sheikholeslami and Wilson, pp. 25-51). Investigation of British documents, however, suggests that there were two separate plots (Keddie, 1971; Šayḵ-al-Eslāmī), though it is not clear which of them was the successful one. The shah was somewhat intimidated by these events, and on 8 Šaʿbān/16 September Shaikh Fażl-Allāh emerged from bast, probably because financial support from the court had ceased. Some of the courtiers expressed alarm that the Constitutional Revolution had entered a more violent phase (Dawlatābādī, Ḥayāt-e Yaḥyā II, p. 146).

When the supplementary law came before the Majles in the autumn of 1907 it met with comparatively little opposition and was ratified on 30 Šaʿbān/7 October. But the Majles was in difficulty; the treasury was empty, taxes were paid irregularly, there was no standing force to maintain order, and parliamentary authority was being undermined by the Tehran anjomans, societies formed by various groups within the population (Marling to Grey, no. 230, 10 October 1907, F.O. 416/34). These societies, which had operated in secret before the establishment of the Majles, had subsequently proliferated, a symptom of the gradual breakdown of authority in both the capital and the provinces. In the provincial cities they functioned as councils, frequently taking over from the central authorities. In Tehran the term anjoman covered many different types of organization, from gangs of toughs to learned societies to political cliques. Many anjoman members belonged to the rootless poor and had little understanding of the principles of constitutional government; they took advantage of the prevailing liberalism to interfere increasingly in the business of the Majles (Malekzāda, III, p. 82). Whenever anyone tried to speak out against such interference, he would be surrounded by anjoman members demanding an explanation (Hedāyat, p. 159). The most powerful was Anjoman-e Āḏarbāyjān, a highly organized quasi-military group of about 3,000 members with direct links to the Tabrīz deputies, whose political program it supported (Marling to Grey, no. 39, 28 February 1908, F.O. 416/35). In Tehran each guild had its own society; a central anjoman with reformist tendencies was at odds with the guild elders (Dawlatābādī, Ḥayāt-e Yaḥyā II, pp. 116-17; for the role of the guilds, cf. Floor; Yaḡmāʾī, 1357 Š./1978, listing the many guild anjomans with which Sayyed Jamāl-al-Dīn Eṣfahānī was linked).

Attempts to wrest control of the Persian armed forces from the shah or to organize new units responsible to the Majles failed, leaving the Majles dependent on the guards provided by the anjomans. On 13 Šaʿbān/19 November 1907 the anjomans sent a joint letter to the Majles requesting formation of a national army (Majles 212, 26 Šawwāl 1325/20 November 1907, p. 2), which seriously alarmed the shah.

The Majles was also plagued by the inexperience and absenteeism of its deputies, and discipline was haphazard. The ministers were disunited, and, as none had the support of a political party in the Majles, they had to rely on the shah, who had appointed them (Etteḥādīya, 1980, pp. 138-40). The one group that had some semblance of organization in the Majles was the āzādīḵᵛāhān (liberals), also known as tondravān (extremists) because of their belief that supreme power should be vested in parliament. They could do little while Amīn-al-Solṭān was prime minister, and his efforts to build up a moderate faction had weakened their influence. They therefore sought support outside the Majles, using the anjomans and the press to bring pressure upon opposition deputies. Within the āzādīḵᵛāhān there was a small core of dedicated political activists, of whom the most powerful was Taqīzāda. Beyond the establishment of a constitutional Majles, he and his followers shared the wider goal of introducing basic political and social reforms, including a strong legislature and weak executive, control of government finances by the Majles, secularism in government, and freedom of the press, speech, and association. Outside the Majles their spokesmen were Mālek-al-Motakallemīn and Sayyed Jamāl-al-Dīn, the latter especially arguing that equality is justified by the laws of Islam. These various tenets were inspired by those in the program of the Social Democratic party; the link between the two groups was Ḥaydar Khan (Etteḥādīya, 1980, pp. 207, 216-17, 220, 234, 236-37, 240). Otherwise, both in the capital and in the provinces the power of the central government was generally neutralized by internal conflict and fear, as ministers hesitated to take any action that was unpopular with the Majles (McDaniel, p. 74). The Majles itself was little more than the local government of Tehran, where any opposition to the activities of the anjomans was interpreted as support for the shah.

The major problem remained finance. In an attempt to balance the budget, cuts were made in the shah’s allowance, and he in turn dismissed a number of low-ranking employees of the court, exploiting their dissatisfaction against the Majles (Dawlatābādī, Ḥayāt-e Yaḥyā II, pp. 153-54; Kasrawī, Mašrūṭa3, pp. 488, 499-500). Tension between the Majles and the shah was further intensified in October, when rumors of a scheme to replace him with his uncle Masʿūd Mīrzā Ẓell-al-Solṭān were circulated (Marling to Grey, no. 326 Tel., 4 November 1907, F.O. 371/313). The cabinet, led by Abu’l-Qāsem Khan Nāṣer-al-Molk, was caught between the shah and the growing number of anjomans (see Lambton, 1963). In view of the shah’s resentment of the limitations placed on his authority, not least over finance, and the Majles’ suspicions of him, it was inevitable that the situation would not remain calm for long.

The constitutional crisis of 1325/1907. Matters were moving toward a climax in early December, as both the shah and the anjomans mustered their forces. The shah was attempting to organize an army composed of his own bodyguard under Amīr Bahādor and tribesmen from Azerbaijan brought to Tehran (Hartwig to Izvolsky 7 J./20 December 1907, Sbornik, p. 57). Hearing rumors of this activity, the radical anjomans became more vocal in blaming the shah and his hard-line advisers, particularly Saʿd-al-Dawla, Amīr Bahādor, Šāpšāl (the shah’s former Russian tutor), and Shaikh Fażl-Allāh, for the country’s problems (Dawlatābādī, Ḥayāt-e Yaḥyā II, pp. 162-63; Eḥtešām-al-Salṭana, pp. 624-25). At a meeting of the anjomans on 1 Ḏu’l-qaʿda/6 December Sayyed Jamāl-al-Dīn and Malek-al-Motakallemīn demanded their dismissal.

The shah summoned the cabinet, which, finding itself unable to deal with the crisis, resigned on 8 Ḏu’l-qaʿda 1325/13 December 1907 (Dawlatābādī, Ḥayāt-e Yaḥyā II, p. 171; Kasrawī, Mašrūṭa3, p. 503). On the following day a mob of 600-700 toughs from the poorer quarters of Sangelaj and Čāla Meydān, organized by the shah’s supporters, attacked the Majles but was repulsed by the anjoman forces. The mob then went to Meydān-e Tūp-ḵāna, where it was joined by camel drivers, muleteers, cannon keepers, servants of the guardhouse, and soldiers of Amīr Bahādor’s Sīlāḵor regiment (Šarīf Kāšānī, I, pp. 145-47; Dawlatābādī, Ḥayāt-e Yaḥyā II, pp. 167-79; Hedāyat, pp. 209-16; Kasrawī, Mašrūṭa3, p. 505; Abrahamian, 1969, pp. 128-50). In the afternoon the prime minister, Nāṣer-al-Molk, who had already resigned, was summoned to the court. When he arrived he was seized and put in chains and had to be rescued by the British minister (Dawlatābādī, Ḥayāt-e Yaḥyā II, p. 172; Eḥtešām-al-Salṭana, pp. 624-27; Taqīzāda, 1368 Š./1989, pp. 50, 66, 69-70; Kasrawī, Mašrūṭa3, pp. 499 ff.).

The Majles dispersed, and it seemed briefly that the shah had won, for the anjomans offered no further resistance. The shah did not press his advantage, however, according to some through lack of resolve but probably because his troops were not reliable (Browne, Persian Revolution, p. 163). His main objective may have been to create a crisis, in order to show that the people did not support the Constitution, a view borne out by a telegram from the Russian minister to Tehran, N. H. de Hartwig, describing the crowd in the Meydān-e Tūp-ḵāna as a vast throng of different sections of the community expressing support for the shah and antipathy to the Constitution and the Majles (Hartwig to Izvolsky, 11 December/24 December 1907, Sbornik, pp. 61-62).

On 11 Du’l-qaʿda/16 December the Majles regained the advantage; the anjomans surrounded it with about 3,000 men, some of them armed (Dawlatābādī, Ḥayāt-e Yaḥyā II, pp. 167, 170). This response was largely organized by the Tabrīz deputies and the Anjoman-e Āḏarbāyjān, but support also came from the guilds of Tehran and wealthy notables, particularly Ẓell-al-Solṭān, who had aspirations to the throne (Dawlatābādī, Ḥayāt-e Yaḥyā II, p. 168; Mostašār-al-Dawla, p. 47; Marling to Grey, no. 391 Tel., 18 December 1907, F.O. 416/34). The Majles then seized the initiative, demanding dismissal of the shah’s hard-line advisers and control of future armed forces. The shah responded by demanding the expulsion of several deputies. By 13 Du’l-qaʿda/18 December it was clear that the Majles was the stronger, with a force of 6,000-7,000 supporters, as opposed to the shah’s 1,500 (Marling to Grey, no. 283, 31 December 1907, F.O. 416/35). Telegrams from other cities began arriving in support of the Majles; the one from the Tabrīz anjoman called the shah unfit to reign (Šarīf Kāšānī, I, p. 147). On 18 Du’l-qaʿda/23 December the shah yielded to all the Majles’ conditions, requesting only that Amīr Bahādor remain in his post. The militants seemed poised to press their advantage, but the Russians and British agreed that, in order to avoid anarchy, it was important to keep the shah on the throne (Marling to Grey, no. 283, 31 December 1907, F.O. 416/35). Their cooperation reflected the signing of the Anglo-Russian convention of 31 August 1907, in which they acknowledged separate spheres of influence in Persia, the British in the south and the Russians in the north. Their intercession prevented either side in the constitutional crisis from achieving a clear victory. The shah was made to swear an oath to abide by the Constitution (Tārīḵ-e bīdārī, ed. Saʿīdī Sīrjānī, I, p. 143; Taqīzāda, 1368 Š./1989, pp. 51, 70), and the deputies in turn swore loyalty to him; by 21 Du’l-qaʿda/26 December the crisis was over.

The shah’s coup d’etat of 1326/1908. Following the failure of his attempted coup, the shah withdrew for a while from active involvement in politics, but the problems of government were exacerbated by divisions between the āzādīḵᵛāhān, consisting mainly of deputies from Azerbaijan, and the moʿtadelīn (moderates) within the Majles itself. The latter were an amorphous conglomeration of notables, merchants, and ʿolamāʾ with common immediate interests but no unified political program. Among them were Behbahānī and Ṭabāṭabāʾī, Amīn-al-Żarb, Ḥājī Moḥammad Esmāʿīl, Moʿīn-al-Tojjār Būšehrī, and Ḥājī Moḥammad-Taqī Bonakdār. They looked upon the Azerbaijani contingent as a group of upstarts who had played little part in the original establishment of the Majles and should not be allowed to take it over (Malekzāda, III, p. 67). Although mutually suspicious, the parliamentary factions had a common bond in opposition to the shah. The president of the Majles, Maḥmūd Khan Eḥtešām-al-Salṭana, was caught between these groups and the shah. His position was weak because his office required him to attempt to achieve some form of compromise with the shah. Like many of the high-ranking bureaucrats, he sought to curb the influence of the reformist ʿolamāʾ, particularly Behbahānī, but his habit of arrogating executive powers and his customary peremptory tone antagonized the Tabrīzīs. As a result, Behbahānī, the Tabrīzīs, and the more radical anjomans allied themselves against the president. The support of many deputies, including the leading merchants, could not protect him, and at the end of March 1908 he was forced to resign (Eḥtešām-al-Salṭana, pp. 628-33, 641-46; Dawlatābādī, Ḥayāt-e Yaḥyā II, p. 192-94, 218; Šarīf Kāšānī, I, pp. 157-58, 160-62). He was succeeded by Mīrzā Esmāʿīl Khan Momtāz-al-Dawla, who was more compliant with the wishes of the radicals and therefore less palatable to the shah, who also resented the failure of the Majles to identify the culprit in an attempt on his life that had taken place in February.

By the end of April mutual suspicion between the shah and the anjomans had increased again; the authority of the Majles, bankrupt and increasingly intimidated by external forces, was minimal. The Qajar family held a series of meetings to induce the shah to cooperate with the Majles. They were attended by ʿolamāʾ, notables, deputies, and representatives of the anjomans. As Jalāl-al-Dawla was one of the organizers, there were rumors of a plan to bring his father, the pro-British Ẓell-al-Solṭān, to the throne (Dawlatābādī, Ḥayāt-e Yaḥyā II, pp. 239-41, 44-52; Šarīf Kāšānī, I, pp. 176-77; Ẓahīr-al-Dawla, p. 324). Hartwig believed that Ẓell-al-Solṭān had been cooperating with the anjomans since December and feared that, without an army, police, or money, the shah would find it difficult to combat the anjomans (Hartwig to Izvolsky, 21 May/3 June and 25 May/7 June 1908, Sbornik, pp. 174, 180; Zinov’ev, p. 75). The Russian foreign minister, A. P. Izvolsky, was preoccupied by affairs in Europe and unwilling to oppose the Majles and its supporters for fear of antagonizing the British and jeopardizing the Anglo-Russian agreement. At the same time, he realized that the overthrow of the shah and the substitution of Ẓell-al-Solṭān, with his British affiliations, would jeopardize the agreement in Russia itself. In these circumstances he was obliged to wait on events. As a result of the Tehran meetings, the shah was told to cooperate with the Majles or face deposition by the family. He was to dismiss his intransigent advisers, most significantly Amīr Bahādor. The shah yielded, and on 1 Jomādā I/1 June Amīr Bahādor took refuge in the Russian legation. Hartwig feared that the shah had thus lost his most trustworthy protector, that the anjomans would try to kill him, and that Ẓell-al-Solṭān might seize the throne (Hartwig to Izvolsky, 21 May/3 June 1908, Sbornik, p. 174).

On 4 Jomādā I/4 June Moḥammad-ʿAlī Shah left his palace for Bāḡ-e Šāh, a residence just outside the city where he would be safe under the protection of the Cossack Brigade. Three days later Jalāl-al-Dawla and two other Qajar princes were arrested after an audience with the shah; they were eventually exiled. Amīr Bahādor joined the shah at Bāḡ-e Šāh, and the telegraph lines to Tehran were cut. Hartwig perceived conditions as more favorable to the shah than they had been in December because many Majles deputies had become alienated from the anjomans (Tārīḵ-e bīdārī, ed. Saʿīdī Sīrjānī, II, pp. 136-38; Dawlatābādī, Ḥayāt-e Yaḥyā II, pp. 253-69; Šarīf Kāšānī, I, pp. 178-79; Hartwig to Izvolsky, 26 May/8 June 1980, Sbornik, p. 181).

The Majles looked on the arrest of the princes as a contravention of the Constitution. The anjomans rallied in the Sepah-sālār mosque, near the Majles building, and the shah demanded their dispersal. They decided to comply, though Behbahānī objected to such a sign of weakness. The leading merchants in particular attempted to defuse the situation; three of them seized what arms they could find and hid them (Malekzāda, IV, p. 25). The shah, who had been moving guns and ammunition to Bāḡ-e Šāh, armed his soldiers on 14 Jomādā I/14 June and demanded that eight constitutionalists, including Malek-al-Motakallemīn, Sayyed Jamāl-al-Dīn, and Mīrzā Jahāngīr Khan, be sent into exile, a demand that the Majles declined on 22 Jomādā I/22 June (Dawlatābādī, Ḥayāt-e Yaḥyā II, pp. 280-82; Šarīf Kāšānī, I, p. 182; Taqīzāda, 1368 Š./1989, p. 71). At 6 a.m. the following morning twenty cossacks were sent to arrest the constitutional leaders but were repulsed by fire from the Sepah-sālār mosque. Reinforcements were brought in under Russian officers, and in the subsequent battle the brunt of the fighting was born by Anjoman-e Āḏarbāyjān and some members of Anjoman-e moẓaffarī, with headquarters near the Majles (Sayyāḥ, pp. 596-600). The mosque was forcibly cleared and the Majles building bombarded. The constitutionalists were arrested and Mīrzā Jahāngīr Khan and Malek-al-Motakallemīn executed. Sayyed Jamāl-al-Dīn managed to escape from Tehran but was subsequently murdered in Borūjerd. A sharp decline in popularity of the Majles contributed much to its fall. Dawlatābādī, explaining why the Majles failed to defend itself in June 1908, named lack of public support as a major factor (Ḥayāt-e Yaḥyā II, pp. 270-77, 303; Tārīḵ-e bīdārī, ed. Saʿīdī Sīrjānī, II, pp. 155-62). It was blamed for the deteriorating financial situation in the country, the decline in law and order, and the corrupt practices of some of its members.

With the shah in control in Tehran, the center of opposition shifted to Tabrīz, where the provincial anjoman declared itself the government of Azerbaijan and appealed to the Social Democrats of Baku for help; as a result, 100 armed revolutionaries arrived from the Caucasus. The supporters of the anjoman, mainly Shaikhis and Armenians led by two former lūṭīs (street toughs) named Bāqer Khan and Sattār Khan, met unsuccessful resistance from the royalists, led by the emām-e jomʿa (leading preacher) of Tabrīz and reinforced by Šāhsevan tribesmen. The shah sent a force to Tabrīz under the leadership of ʿAyn-al-Dawla. Meanwhile, on 11 Šaʿbān/8 September, the British and Russians, whose relations had been briefly impaired by the coup of 1908, asked the shah to restore the Majles in order to bring order and accountability to the state finances and to prevent the Russians from being drawn into the situation in Tabrīz, which would imperil the Anglo-Russian agreement. They received an evasive reply (Marling to Grey, no. 309 Tel., 19 September 1908, F.O. 416/37). Shaikh Fażl-Allāh declared the Majles, and specifically the notions of parliamentary legislation and representation, to be contrary to the Šarīʿa and argued that the sultanate was one of the twin pillars of Islam (Malekzāda, IV, p. 217; Ẓahīr-al-Dawla, p. 401). The ʿolamāʾ of the ʿAtabāt (Shiʿite shrine cities in Iraq), led by Āḵūnd Mollā Moḥammad-Kāẓem Ḵorāsānī, who had supported the constitutional movement since its early days, also took up the propaganda battle and sent the shah a telegram implying that he was a tyrant and his government an offense against the absent imam (Barclay to Grey, no. 287, 4 November 1908, F.O. 416/ 38).

Opinion in Tehran, which was sympathetic to the shah’s coup in the summer of 1908, had changed by the autumn, mainly because of his failure to restore financial order. The constitutionalists, led by Ṣanīʿ-al-Dawla and others, re-emerged, and on 26 Ḏu’l-qaʿda 1326/20 December 1908 forty people took bast in the Ottoman legation. Two days later the number had risen to 250, and they petitioned the shah for restoration of the Constitution (Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, P.L.P. II, no. 375/139, 22 December 1908). On 4 Ḏu’l-ḥejja/28 December the bāzārs closed, and January and February were marked by a protracted struggle for influence in the bāzār, in which the constitutionalists finally triumphed (Tārīḵ-e bīdārī, ed. Saʿīdī Sīrjānī, II, pp. 270, 272, 295, 311, 314, 335). Meanwhile the force that the shah had sent to pacify Tabrīz gradually overcame resistance in Azerbaijan and besieged Tabrīz itself from January until April, when the shah, seriously in need of funds, finally yielded to British and Russian pressure and permitted a Russian column to relieve the city. On his birthday, 14 Rabīʿ II 1327/5 May 1909, the shah declared restoration of the principles of the Constitution and set 1 Rajab/19 July as the date for general elections (Tārīḵ-e bīdārī, ed. Saʿīdī Sīrjānī, II, pp. 300-301). In the north a revolt had begun in Rašt on 16 Moḥarram/7 February, organized by revolutionaries, including the so-called Mojāhedīn (freedom fighters) led by Moʿezz-al-Solṭān (Sardār Moḥyī), his three brothers, and ʿAlī-Moḥammad Tarbīat, as well as Caucasians, mostly Armenian Dašnak freedom fighters, led by Yeprem Khan. They worked in alliance with the governor, Moḥammad-Walī Khan Sepahdār-e Aʿẓam, who had had a disagreement with the shah (Tārīḵ-e bīdārī, ed. Saʿīdī Sīrjānī, II, pp. 302-4; Faḵrāʾī, pp. 113-28). The Russian intervention in Tabrīz impelled the revolutionaries, Russian subjects who feared capture, to retreat down the Qazvīn road toward Tehran; the ostensible leader, Sepahdār-e Aʿẓam, followed his army as much as he led it (Taqīzāda, 1368 Š./1989, pp. 80-82; Tonokābonī, pp. 25-26; McDaniel, pp. 88-89). In addition, the revolutionaries had become convinced that positive action would induce the shah to restore the Constitution. A second threat came from the Baḵtīārīs, who had taken over Isfahan in January. When the local population appealed for help to Najafqolī Khan Ṣamṣām-al-Salṭana (q.v.), the Baḵtīārī īlḵān, against the new governor, Mīrzā Moḥammad Khan Eqbāl-al-Dawla, Najafqolī Khan, already encouraged by his brother ʿAlīqolī Khan Sardār(-e) Asʿad to side with the contitutionalists, entered Isfahan. Eqbāl-al-Dawla took refuge in the British consulate, and Najafqolī Khan took over the government (Sayyāḥ, pp. 611-14; Taqīzāda, 1368 Š./1989, pp. 122-24, 326-28). The Baḵtīārīs might have been content with the opportunities thus gained had not Sardār Asʿad, who had just returned from Europe, seen that, by playing a dominant part in the constitutional movement, the Baḵtīārīs might obtain a stronger voice in the central government. In April the rival Īlḵānī and Ḥājī Īlḵānī families thus reached an agreement in anticipation of enjoying the fruits of power (Garthwaite, pp. 114-17). As the Rašt forces advanced toward Tehran, the Baḵtīārīs advanced from Isfahan, so that by early July they had 2,000 men at Qom. After an unsuccessful attempt at compromise with the shah the two forces entered Tehran, on 24 Jomādā II 1327/13 July 1909, and three days later the shah took refuge in the Russian legation. Several of his supporters, including Shaikh Fażl-Allāh, were tried and executed by a special tribunal. A supreme Majles (Majles-e ʿālī) of more than 300 members, drawn from all groups, deposed Moḥammad-ʿAlī Shah, placed his minor son Aḥmad Mīrzā (1327-44/1909-25) on the throne, and elected as regent ʿAlī-Reżā Khan ʿAżod-al-Molk, head of the Qajar tribe. Sepahdār-e Aʿẓam became prime minister and minister of war and Sardār Asʿad Baḵtīārī minister of the interior (Tārīḵ-e bīdārī, ed. Saʿīdī Sīrjānī, II, pp. 486-504; Šarīf Kāšānī, II, pp. 371-78; Taqīzāda, 1368 Š./1989, pp. 122-24, 131-46).

The Second Majles. The immediate task facing the government, restoration of order, was substantially accomplished within a few months. A new electoral law was passed: The property qualification for voters was lowered, representation by class and property abolished, and the number of seats for Tehran reduced to fifteen and that of the provinces increased to 101, with one seat each for Jews, Zoroastrians, Armenians, and Assyrian Christians. The Second Majles was convened on 2 Ḏu’l-qaʿda/15 November. Proceedings began auspiciously with negotiations for withdrawal of the Russian troops, a proposal for a loan of 1,250,000 pounds sterling from the national bank to rebuild the administration, and an arrangement for Swedish officers to reorganize the gendarmerie and American financial advisers to reform the tax system.

The problems facing the new Majles were immense, however. The treasury was empty, the provincial administration in chaos, the Majles split by dissenting factions, and the Russian army still entrenched in the north. By mid-1910 the Majles was divided into two parties with armed supporters outside. The Democrats, comprising about twenty-seven deputies, came mostly from the north and were led by Taqīzāda (Moḵtaṣar, pp. 51-88). Their supporters outside the Majles were organized by Ḥaydar Khan ʿAm(ū)oglī and Moḥammad-ʿAlī Rasūlzāda, who had links with the Social Democrats in Baku. The moderates included the landed aristocracy, traditional bāzār groups, and ʿolamāʾ led by Behbahānī and Ṭabāṭabāʾī. Their real raison d’être was to oppose the radicalism of the Democrats, and there is little evidence that they had a party organization. Both “parties” were numerically weak, so that no government could have a solid base of support in the Majles. Furthermore, both adopted policies of obstructive criticism at a time when the Majles was already weakened by financial problems, insecurity, and the lack of a modern armed force. Real power was still in the hands of landowners and higher-ranking bureaucrats, including the Baḵtīārī khans, whose wealth, prestige, and experience were needed in government positions. Few members of these groups sat in the Majles, so that power lay outside it; the administration and the great notables tended to manipulate the Majles and eventually came to dominate it (Etteḥādīya, 1980, pp. 155, 360, 370).

In June 1910 Āḵūnd Mollā Moḥammad-Kāẓem Ḵorāsānī telegraphed the government urging the removal of Taqīzāda from the Majles on the grounds that he was irreligious and his activities harmful to the country’s interests (for text, see Afšār, 1359 Š./1980, p. 207; see also Taqīzāda, 1368 Š./1989, pp. 153-56). The ʿolamāʾ of Najaf, in Iraq, were said to have received from various sources information about Taqīzāda’s radical policies, of which they disapproved. They also sought the expulsion of the foreign fedāʾīs, on whom the Democrats relied to maintain their influence. On 8 Rajab 1328/16 July 1910 Behbahānī, who was believed to be implicated in Ḵorāsānī’s denunciation of Taqīzāda, was shot by one of the mojāheds (freedom fighters; Taqīzāda, 1368 Š./1989, p. 144; Marling to Grey, no. 292 Tel., 18 July 1910, F.O. 416/ 45). Taqīzāda fled the country, and armed volunteers from the guilds of Tehran ambushed Ḥaydar Khan and killed another Social Democrat, ʿAlī-Moḥammad Khan Tarbīat (Taqīzāda, 1368 Š./1989, pp. 143-44). At that point the Baḵtīārīs began to gain political ascendancy, initially in alliance with the Democrats. They replaced their rival, Sepahdār, with Mīrzā Ḥasan Mostawfī-al-Mamālek and then disarmed the forces supporting both political parties, most particularly the foreign fedāʾīs. By mid-1911 they occupied many of the most prominent government positions, a situation tolerated by both the British and the Russians, who regarded their presence in government as balancing that of the militant nationalists, though the Baḵtīārīs were unpopular with the population at large (Garthwaite, pp. 114, 117, 121). In July 1911 the Baḵtīārī government foiled an attempt by Moḥammad-ʿAlī Shah to regain the throne.

In the same period government control in the provinces reached the final stage of disintegration, with tribal elements taking control in Azerbaijan, Lorestān, and Khorasan and withholding their taxes. The breakdown in order, especially in the south, prompted the British to send troops to Shiraz and Isfahan. The American financial adviser Morgan Shuster, who arrived in Tehran on 13 Jomādā I/12 May 1911, made a determined effort to salvage the Persian financial situation. Unfortunately, his careful indifference to foreign opinion antagonized the Russians, and his proposed reforms brought him into conflict with the old Qajar bureaucracy. Furthermore, the Baḵtīārī-dominated government under Ṣamṣām-al-Salṭana was unwilling to comply with his plans for a total reorganization of the finances, including a budget for each ministry (McDaniel, pp. 125, 129, 160). Matters came to a head with Shuster’s attempts to confiscate the property of Malek Manṣūr Mīrzā Šoʿāʿ-al-Salṭana, a pro-Russian prince, for arrears in tax payments and to appoint a British subject, Major C. B. Stokes, to run the new gendarmerie. The Russians were becoming convinced that Shuster had anti-Russian designs and was undermining their prestige. Following his decision to appoint another British subject, a Mr. Lecoffre, as financial inspector in Tabrīz, Russia occupied Anzalī and Rašt and on 7 Ḏu’l-ḥejja/29 November issued a three-part ultimatum, requiring dismissal of Shuster, a promise that no more foreign advisers would be brought in without British and Russian consent, and payment of an indemnity for the Russian forces (British Minister to the Foreign Office, “Annual Report for 1911,” F.O. 371/Persia 1912/34-1441; Abrahamian, 1982, p. 108). Failure by the Persian government to meet these demands within forty-eight hours led to occupation of much of the country by the British and the Russians. The term of the Second Majles ended on 3 Moḥarram 1330/24 December 1911, and with it the period of the Constitutional Revolution.


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The term for “constitution” in Persia, qānūn-e asāsī (lit. “fundamental law”), was borrowed from the Ottoman empire in the 19th century. Throughout the earlier Islamic period qānūn had been the common term for financial and administrative regulations laid down by the ruler independent of the religious law (Šarīʿa) of Islam. This notion of independent state law culminated in the great qānūns of the late 15th and early 16th centuries, notably that of Uzun Ḥasan in Persia and those of Moḥammad (Mehmed) the Conqueror, Bāyazīd II, and Solaymān Qānūnī (Lawgiver) in the Ottoman empire (Inalcik, IVa, pp. 558-59; idem, IVb, p. 566). Probably owing to the establishment of Shiʿism as the state religion in Persia at the beginning of the 16th century, the qānūn did not become institutionalized there as it had done in the Ottoman empire; Shah Ṭahmāsb I (930-84/1524-76) did, however, issue a decree on the “law of monarchy” (Āʾīn-e Šāh Ṭahmāsb). From the beginning of modernization in the Middle East, therefore, qānūn, conceived as state law, constituted the precedent for adoption of legal codes in the Western sense. In Persia, too, the term came to denote codes inspired by European legislation and introduced by the state. The constitution, as the foundation of public law, was naturally regarded as “the fundamental qānūn” (for the history of the term qānūn as state law, see Inalcik, IVa; idem, IVb; for the conceptual background to Persian constitutionalism, see i, above).

Drafting of the Constitution of 1324-25/1906-7

The First Majles was convened before the promulgation of a constitution. Its members were elected in compliance with the royal decree of 14 Jomādā II 1324/5 August 1906 (see ii, above) and in accordance with an electoral law drawn up by a committee that had included the two sons of the prime minister, Mīrzā Ḥasan Khan Mošīr-al-Molk and Mīrzā Ḥosayn Khan Moʾtamen-al-Molk, and Mortażāqolī Khan Ṣanīʿ-al-Dawla and his brother Mahdīqolī Khan Moḵber-al-Salṭana (Hedāyat, pp. 141-42). The Majles was inaugurated on 18 Šaʿbān 1324/7 October 1906, and the members elected Ṣanīʿ-al-Dawla president on the following day. Ṣanīʿ-al-Dawla immediately announced that the drafting of the internal regulations for the Majles and of the constitution itself would take precedence over all other business (Tārīḵ-e bīdārī, ed. Saʿīdī Sīrjānī, I, pp. 406-8). A committee that included the lawmakers mentioned above immediately began work on a draft constitution. Haste was considered necessary, in view of the deteriorating health of Moẓaffar-al-Dīn Shah (1313-24/1896-1907), so that the Majles and the proposed Senate might be institutionalized before he died. A charter was speedily drafted and sent to the monarch; the shah acknowledged its receipt on 29 Šaʿbān 1324/18 October 1906 but procrastinated for weeks and returned it with alterations only on 9 Ḏu’l-Qaʿda/25 December. A new draft, incorporating some of his alterations, was submitted two days later, and the shah signed it on 14 Ḏu’l-Qaʿda/30 December, ten days before his death. In this period the charter was variously referred to as neẓām-nāma (charter), neẓām-nāma-ye asāsī (fundamental charter), and occasionally ketābča (code).

The fundamental charter was not a systematic legal document but rather a hastily assembled set of provisions aimed mainly at establishing the charters and functions of the two parliamentary bodies. Its inadequacy as a national constitution prompted the formation, in mid-February 1907, of a new committee to draft a supplement to the Constitution (Motammem-e qānūn-e asāsī). Its members—such leading constitutionalists as Mīrzā Jawād Khan Saʿd-al-Dawla, Ḥājj Moḥammad-Ḥosayn Amīn al-Żarb, Sayyed Naṣr-Allāh Taqawī, Moḥaqqeq-al-Dawla, Mīrzā Moḥammad Khan Ṣadīq Hażrat, Ṣādeq Mostašār-al-Dawla, and Sayyed Ḥasan Taqīzāda—adopting the Belgian constitution of 1831 as their basic model, had produced a draft by the end of March (Ādamīyat, 1355 Š./1976, p. 408). After a considerable period of debate over its provisions the supplement was eventually ratified by the Majles and signed by Moḥammad-ʿAlī Shah (1324-27/1907-9) on 29 Šaʿbān 1325/8 October 1907. The Constitution of Persia thus consisted of the constitutional law signed in December 1906 and the supplement signed in October 1907 (for the texts, see Karīmī; for an English translation of the basic constitutional documents and several related legal texts, see Browne, Persian Revolution, pp. 353-400; for a detailed discussion, see Ādamīyat, 1355 Š./1976, pp. 383-432).

Provisions of the constitutional law. The constitutional law of 1906 consisted of a short preamble and fifty-one articles, at least six of which (Arts. 12, 31-32, 34, 46, 48) corresponded, fully or in part, to articles in the Belgian constitution; at least five (Arts. 13, 18, 23, 25, 42) corresponded to provisions in the Bulgarian constitution of 1879, though none was a verbatim translation (Taqīzāda, apud Navāʾī; Lockhart). The idea of a bicameral legislature, consisting of a chamber of deputies (majles) and a senate, was also taken from the Belgian constitution, though the requirement that half the Senate was to be appointed by the shah suggests some influence from the Russian constitution proclaimed by the czar earlier in 1906 (Blaustein and Sigler, p. 270).

The section entitled “On the formation of the Majles” (Arts. 1-14) established the Majles-e šūrā-ye mellī (National consultative assembly), consisting of 162 representatives from Tehran and the provinces, to be elected for two years and to convene in the capital. Article 7 required a quorum of two-thirds of the members for commencement of debate and three-quarters for taking a vote. Article 12 ensured representatives of parliamentary immunity. The deliberations of the Majles were to be public (Art. 13), though elsewhere in the document provision was made for closed meetings under unusual circumstances (Arts. 34-35).

The next section (Arts. 15-31) was entitled “On the functions, limits, and rights of the Majles.” The Majles was given legislative power (Arts. 16, 21), in conjunction with the Senate (Arts. 17, 19), and the right to initiate legislation (Art. 15). Articles 18 and 22-26 reflected one of the major goals of the constitutionalists: assertion of the right of the Majles to approve international treaties and economic concessions and to control both the natural resources of the country and government finances. Article 18 (adapted from Art. 105.3-5 of the Bulgarian constitution) declared the imposition of taxes, the organization of financial affairs, and the annual budget subject to approval by the Majles. Approval was also required for all transactions involving state property and national resources (Art. 22), for the formation of public companies (Art. 23), for treaties and concessions (Art. 24), for all government borrowing (Art. 25, adapted from Art. 123 of the Bulgarian constitution), and for construction of railways and roads (Art. 26). The Majles was eager to exercise these rights, and one of its first acts was to veto a proposed loan to the government from Great Britain and Russia (Lockhart, p. 377). The Majles also received the right to question ministers (Art. 27), who were not themselves members, though it could only request that the shah dismiss a minister who failed to provide satisfactory answers according to “the laws that bear the royal signature” and was found guilty of violating the provisions of the law (Art. 29). Ministers were answerable to the shah if they relied on a verbal or written command of his as an excuse for failing to discharge their duties according to enacted law (Art. 28; cf. supplement, Art. 64). They had the right to attend sessions of the Majles and to request to speak when appropriate (Art. 31 ).

Articles 32-38, “On presentations to the National consultative assembly,” and Articles 39-42, “On initiation of measures by the Majles,” dealt mainly with procedural matters. It was provided that legislation could be initiated either by ministers (Arts. 33, 37) or by a group of at least fifteen Majles deputies (Art. 39).

The final section, “On conditions for the formation of the Senate” (Arts. 43-48), provided that the Senate was to consist of sixty members (Art. 43), half from Tehran and half from the provinces, and was to meet concurrently with the Majles. The shah was to appoint half the senators from each category, and the rest were to be popularly elected (Art. 45). Laws relating to finance were reserved for the Majles, though the Senate was to be informed and could offer advice. Once the Senate had been convened, all other laws would require ratification by both houses (Art. 46). In case of disagreement of the Majles over matters already approved by the Senate, a joint session of the two houses could be convened. Should the disagreement remain unresolved, the Majles could be dissolved by a majority of two-thirds of the Senate, if separately approved by the Council of ministers (Art. 48). The Senate was not actually convened until 1328 Š./1950 (see below).

Provisions of the supplement to the Constitution. The supplement, consisting of 107 articles, extended the coverage of the original constitutional document through inclusion of a bill of rights (Arts. 8-25), systematic division of the powers of government (Arts. 26-28), definition of the legislative powers of provincial councils (Art. 29), further definition of the rights of deputies (Arts. 30-34), definition of the shah’s rights (Arts. 35-59), explicit stipulation of ministerial responsibility to the parliament (Arts. 58-70), and organization of the judiciary (Arts. 71-89). It also included sections on general matters (Arts. 1-7), provincial and municipal councils (Arts. 90-93), finances (Arts. 94-103), and the army (Arts. 104-7).

Most of this law consisted of verbatim or slightly modified translations of articles in the Belgian constitution. As a result, many elements of the contemporary international political culture were introduced into Persia. For example, all Persians were declared equal before the state laws (Art. 8); their lives, property, honor, and domiciles were protected (Arts. 9, 13-17); and they were entitled to due process if accused of crime (Arts. 10-12). The right to privacy of communications (Art. 22-23) and freedom of association and the press (Art. 20-21) were also recognized. The principle of national sovereignty was stated in Article 26: “The powers of the realm emanate from the people.” Article 27, derived indirectly from the thinking of Montesquieu, distinguished among legislative, judicial, and executive branches of government. The legislative power was shared by the shah, the Majles, and the Senate, each with the right to initiate legislation (Art. 27). The financial prerogatives originally granted to the Majles were reaffirmed, all enactments concerning government revenues and expenditures falling within its exclusive purview (Arts. 27, 94-96). Furthermore, following the Belgian model, the Majles was given the power to supervise government expenditures through appointment of an auditing commission (dīvān-e moḥāsabāt) to inspect government accounts and ensure that they conformed to the budget (Arts. 101-2).

The supplement also included a number of features not found in the Belgian constitution, reflecting subsequent broad changes in the international political culture and in technology, as well as conditions peculiar to Persia and the role of the Shiʿite clergy. From the more recent Bulgarian constitution of 1879, for example, there was a provision for a national educational system (Art. 19; cf. Art. 78 of the Bulgarian constitution; Black, p. 298), reflecting more modern notions of the state as a service organization. The official flag of Persia includes the same colors as the Bulgarian tricolor, with the first two colors reversed (Art. 5; cf. Art. 23 of the Bulgarian constitution; Black, p. 298); green, white, and red bands are arranged horizontally and the traditional Persian lion and sun are in the center. The privacy of letters was guaranteed (Art. 22), and the interception and disclosure of telegrams prohibited (Art. 23; cf. Art. 77 of the Bulgarian constitution; Black, p. 298), reflecting changes in technology, a requirement not without interest in view of the vigorous use made of the telegraph during the constitutionalist agitation.

Articles 60-61, 63, and 67-68 stressed the responsibility of ministers to parliament and were intended to ensure the transition from autocracy to constitutional monarchy. They were drawn up by the committee during a clash with the council of ministers, who, as servants of the shah, refused to consider themselves answerable to the Majles. Articles 61 and 62, like Articles 107 and 153 of the Bulgarian constitution (Black, pp. 302, 308), explicitly reaffirmed the principle of ministerial responsibility to the parliament already implicit in the Persian Constitution. Article 67 empowered the Majles to dismiss any minister or the entire council of ministers with a vote of no confidence. On 16 Rabīʿ I 1325/30 April 1907 the Majles brought down the caretaker cabinet of the acting prime minister, Solṭān-ʿAlī Khan Wazīr-e Afḵam, in order to establish in practice the principle of ministerial responsibility to the parliament. In addition, two prominent features of the old Persian patrimonial system were abolished: Article 63 prohibited use of the honorific title “minister” by those who did not hold office, and Article 68 forbade ministers to accept any other concurrent service.

The drafters of the supplement went to considerable lengths to accommodate Shiʿite Islam as the established religion. There too the Bulgarian constitution provided a partial model for Articles 1 and 21 (corresponding respectively to Bulgarian Articles 37 and 83; Black, pp. 298-99), but most of the relevant provisions were original and must have been added to the draft supplement as a result of pressure exerted by the powerful traditionalist clerical leader Shaikh Fażl-Allāh Nūrī. Nūrī’s argument that the Šarīʿa distinguishes legally between Muslims and non-Muslims and that this distinction must be preserved did not prevail, and all citizens were declared equal before the law of the state (Art. 8; Hairi, pp. 232-33), but other significant concessions were made to him and his followers. For example, in the preamble to the constitutional law the purpose of the parliament had been defined: “to promote the progress and happiness of our kingdom and people, strengthen the foundations of our government, and give effect to the enactments of the Islamic law of His Holiness the Prophet.” Article 1 of the supplement specifically affirmed that the official religion of Persia was Shiʿite Islam. Article 2 referred to the monarch as the “šāhanšāh of Islam” and declared: “At no time must any legal enactments of the National consultative assembly … be at variance with the sacred principles of Islam… .” Furthermore, a committee of no fewer than five religious jurists (mojtaheds) was to have the power to “reject or repudiate any proposal that is at variance with the sacred laws of Islam… . In such matters the decision of this committee of ʿolamāʾ shall be followed and obeyed, and this article shall continue unchanged until the appearance of the Hidden Imam.” The duality of the traditional legal system was thus recognized and endorsed, as it had been in the Ottoman constitution of 1876 (Lewis, p. 643). According to Article 27 of the supplement, the validity of all legal enactments was conditional upon their conformity with the standards of Islamic law, and it was further stated that the judicial power “belongs to the Šarīʿa courts in matters pertaining to Islamic law (šaṛʿīyāt) and to civil courts in matters pertaining to customary law (ʿorfīyāt).” Article 71 defined the administration of Islamic justice (omūr-e šaṛʿīya) as the prerogative of the “just mojtaheds,” and Article 83 required the approval of the chief religious judge (ḥākem-e šaṛʿ) for the shah’s appointment of the prosecutor-general. Nor was the principle of secularism recognized in the bill of rights: The freedom to publish ideas (Art. 18), to form associations (Art. 21), and to learn and teach sciences and crafts (Art. 18) was made contingent on conformity with the interests of the established religion. In practice, however, the Islamic features of the Constitution were increasingly ignored. The provision for the committee of five mojtaheds became a dead letter in the Pahlavi period, and the religious courts gradually disappeared.

The foremost goal of the constitutionalists was, of course, to limit the absolute power of the shah. The continuation of the monarchy had been taken for granted in formulating the constitutional law: In Articles 15, 17, and 47 ratification of laws by the shah was mentioned and in Articles 28-29 his authority over his ministers, but there was no systematic definition of the role of the monarch. The definition was supplied in the supplement. The shah was to be the head of the executive (Art. 27) and the supreme commander of the armed forces (Art. 50); he had the right to make official declaration of war and to announce conclusion of peace (Art. 51) but was exempt from responsibility for government (Art. 44). He was, however, granted no explicit right of veto over legislation, and in Article 49 it was ambiguously stated that “the issuing of decrees and orders to give effect to the laws is among the rights of the king, provided he shall never postpone or suspend their execution.” In the crucial Article 35 of the original constitutional law, limiting monarchical power, it was declared that “monarchy (salṭanat) is a trust (wadīʿa) bestowed upon the person of the king by the nation,” to which the crown prince, Moḥammad-ʿAlī, had added in his own hand “through divine gift” (be-mawhebat-e elāhī; Taqīzāda, p. 392). Despite this addition, the principles of popular sovereignty and limited government (mašrūṭīyat) were established.

Provisions of the electoral laws. In the first electoral law, approved by Moẓaffar-al-Dīn Shah on 20 Rajab 1324/9 September 1906, the electorate had been divided into six estates (ṭabaqāt): guilds, princes and members of the Qajar family (šāhzādagān wa qājārīya), the clergy (ʿolamāʾwa ṭollāb), notables (aʿyān wa ašrāf), merchants (tojjār), and landowners and peasants (mallākīn wa fallāḥīn). The minimum age for voters was set at twenty-five years, and there was a minimum property qualification for the category of landowners. Women and the active military were barred from voting. Popular representation was quite unbalanced, both geographically and socially; Tehran, with perhaps 3 percent of the Persian population, elected more than a third of the deputies (60 out of 156) to the Majles, and the guilds were overrepresented in relation to the other estates. For example, in Tehran the guilds elected thirty-two deputies, the merchants ten, the landowners ten, the clergy four, and the Qajar princes four. In practice Moḵber-al-Salṭana, who supervised the elections in Tehran, interpreted the hastily drawn law, of which he was one of the authors, with considerable latitude, taking “landowners and peasants” to mean “notables and landowners” and going beyond the provisions of the law to allot the Zoroastrian, Armenian, and Jewish minorities one representative each (Tārīḵ-e bīdārī, ed. Saʿīdī Sīrjānī, pp. 362-68, 392-96). Furthermore, some provincial governors displayed considerable high-handedness (Navāʾī, p. 39), and Sayyed ʿAbd-ʿAllāh Behbahānī simply appointed a replacement for one of the clerical deputies from Tehran who had decided to resign (Tārīḵ-e bīdārī, ed. Saʿīdī Sīrjānī, p. 396). The provincial deputies in some areas were informally elected and only after much delay.

This first electoral law was superseded by that of 12 Jomādā II 1327/1 July 1909, in which the number of representatives to the Majles was fixed at 120, including one deputy for each of five tribal constituencies (Šāhsevan, Qašqāʾī, Ḵamsa, Turkman, and Baḵtīārī) and four religious minorities (Armenians, Assyrian Christians, Zoroastrians, and Jews). The minimum age for voters was reduced to twenty years. Voters had “to own property worth at least 250 tomans, pay 10 tomans in taxes, receive an annual income of 50 tomans, or be educated” (Raḥīmī, p. 109). Elections were to be held by secret ballot in two stages.

The law of 1327/1909 was superseded in turn by the electoral law of 28 Šawwāl 1329/21 November 1911 (for the text, see Karīmī, pp. 60-81 ), in which universal male suffrage was introduced: The property and educational qualifications were dropped, and voters had only to have resided in the constituency for at least six months before the elections. Elections were to be direct, and the number of representatives was fixed at 136, to be elected from eighty-two electoral districts. Tehran and the surrounding area were allocated fifteen seats, Tabrīz and surrounding areas nine. This law generally remained in effect, with only minor changes, until the end of the Pahlavi period in 1357 Š./1979, except that on 10 Mehr 1313 Š./2 October 1934 the tribal constituencies were abolished (Lambton, p. 656). In 1341 Š./1963 suffrage was extended to women by decree (Farmayan, pp. 103-6).

Revisions of the Constitution of 1324-25/1906-7

In neither the constitutional law nor the supplement was there any provision for amendment. When, in 1304 Š./1925, Reżā Khan decided to depose the last Qajar shah a mechanism for amending the Constitution had to be found. On 10 Ābān 1304 Š./31 October 1925 the Majles terminated the Qajar monarchy and ordered that a constituent assembly (Majles-e moʾassesān) be convened to amend the Constitution to that effect. On 21 Āḏar 1304 Š./11 December 1925, by a single act of the constituent assembly, Articles 36-38 of the supplement were modified and the monarchy entrusted to Reżā Shah Pahlavi (1305-20 Š./1926-41) and his descendants. It was stipulated that the heir apparent have a mother of Iranian origin, and individuals of Qajar descent were disqualified from becoming heir apparent or regent (new Arts. 36-38). Once Reżā Khan had been crowned, however, the Majles began to lose its strength. Opposition deputies were subjected to mounting intimidation, and parliamentary immunity was repeatedly violated in the first years of the 1930s (Hedāyat, pp. 386, 397). Beginning with the Ninth Majles (inaugurated on 11 Esfand 1311 Š./1 March 1933) the shah continually packed the body with his supporters, and it became a rubber stamp for his policies. A law enacted on 14 Ābān 1317 Š./5 November 1938 to permit a marriage of the heir apparent, Moḥammad-Reżā, to Princess Fawzīya of Egypt extended coverage of the term “of Iranian origin” to any mother granted the quality (ṣefat) of an Iranian for reasons of the Persian national interest (Lambton, p. 654). No other amendments were made under Reżā Shah.

After his forced abdication and the accession of his son, in 1320 Š./1941, the Majles regained some of its vigor; there ensued a twelve-year period of political instability, during which twelve prime ministers, seventeen governments, and twenty-three cabinets rose and fell. Not only did the Majles use the power of the purse to control successive governments and obstruct the exercise of executive authority, but also its members increasingly turned to questioning of ministers, inconclusive debates, filibustering, and other obstructive tactics, especially after 1324 Š./1945. Deputies often absented themselves from the Majles, in order to block a quorum. Although in the Constitution the right to appoint the prime minister had been granted to the monarch, it had become customary for him to submit his nomination to the Majles for a formal “vote of inclination” before making the actual appointment (Azimi, p. 201).

It became clear that such attempts to block the exercise of executive power were paralyzing the ability of the state to act and hindering the economic and social development of the nation. The young Moḥammad-Reżā Shah consistently argued that the balance of power between the legislative and the executive branches of government should be redressed through amendment of the Constitution and the convening of the Senate, of which half the members would be his appointees. Moḥammad Moṣaddeq, one of the practitioners of “obstruction” while he was in opposition, adopted a position very similar to that of the shah after he became prime minister in 1331 Š./1952(Azimi, p. 288).

As early as October 1945 the shah recognized that a revision of the Constitution could enhance his royal authority: He mentioned to the British ambassador in Tehran the possibility of a constitutional amendment that would give him power to dissolve the Majles (Bullard, Report to the Foreign Office, 8 October 1945, F.O. 371, E.P. 45451, cited in Azimi, p. 133). By November 1947 he had developed concrete plans for revising the Constitution and establishing the Senate, and he continued to press for these aims throughout 1327 Š./1948. A bill to convene the Senate, which had been submitted to the Majles a year earlier, was passed on 14 Ordībehešt 1327 Š./4 May 1948 (Azimi, pp. 201-7). When, in November, the shah appointed Moḥammad Sāʿed prime minister without calling for a prior vote of inclination by the Majles, the former premier Aḥmad Qawām and his party accused him of violating constitutional procedures, in order to restore despotism. The shah was not deterred, however, and in fact won the influential support of Taqīzāda, one of the original architects of the Constitution. Taqīzāda argued that the constitutional law and the supplement had both been drawn up in haste and required revision (Eṭṭelāʿāt, 10 Esfand 1327 Š./1 March 1949, cited in Azimi, p. 374 n. 30).

After an abortive attempt on his life on 15 Bahman 1327 Š./4 February 1949 the Majles agreed to the convening of a constituent assembly to amend the Constitution; it was elected under martial law and convened in Tehran on 1 Ordībehešt 1328 Š./21 April 1949. Three weeks later the assembly, following the shah’s wish, voted to abrogate Article 48 of the constitutional law of 1324/1906. The new Article 48 granted him the power to dissolve the Majles and the Senate, separately or together, provided that he furnished a reason for the dissolution and ordered new elections. An “additional article” (aṣl-e elḥāqī), passed by the constituent assembly on Taqīzāda’s recommendation, provided for amendment of the Constitution by an elected constituent assembly proposed by majorities of two-thirds in both houses and approved by the shah (Azimi, p. 205). The article also provided for a joint session of the two houses, sitting in congress on one occasion only, to amend Articles 4-8 of the constitutional law and Article 49 of the supplement. This outcome was not exactly what the shah had pressed for. The issue of lowering the quorum specified in Article 7 of the constitutional law, more critical to the routine exercise of executive authority than to the royal prerogative, remained unresolved, and the monarch was not granted the right to veto legislation.

The advantages gained by the shah were soon eroded, however, and he found himself increasingly on the defensive in his disputes with the constitutionalists. In April 1951, after the assassination of the prime minister, Ḥājī-ʿAlī Razmārā, the shah was forced to appoint Moṣaddeq in his place. Under the pressure of Moṣaddeq’s programs for reform and nationalization of oil the tensions arising from the tripartite division of legislative power, already considerable under strong prime ministers like Qawām and Razmārā, reached a peak. Much of the political struggle during Moṣaddeq’s two-year term took the form of a constitutional crisis, with the archconstitutionalist Moṣaddeq demanding extraordinary powers and his conservative opponents resisting in the name of constitutional order (for details, see Azimi, pp. 257-338).

The era of parliamentary domination came to an end with the coup d’etat of 1332 Š./1953, and the revision of the Constitution no longer had a high priority with the shah. Nevertheless, measures that had been postponed by the constituent assembly could at last be completed. On 26 Ordībehešt 1336 Š./16 May 1957 the two houses of parliament met in congress and amended the Constitution, raising the number of deputies in the Majles to 200 (new Art. 4) and extending their terms to four years (new Art. 5). The ambiguous Article 49 of the supplement was clarified through addition of a provision that the shah could return any financial bill passed by the Majles for revision but was obliged to give his assent if the Majles confirmed its former decision by a majority of at least three-quarters of those present in the capital. In effect the shah was thus given the right to veto financial bills, but the amendment not only allowed an override of the royal veto but also implied denial of the monarch’s right to veto legislation in general. Finally, the new Article 7 of the constitutional law eliminated the requirement of a quorum for commencement of the sessions of the Majles and reduced the requirement for voting to “one half the representatives present in the capital.” A simple majority vote of those present at the session was deemed sufficient to adopt or reject any measure (for the text, see Raḥīmī).

In May 1961 Moḥammad-Reżā Shah used the power granted him in amended Article 48 of the constitutional law in order to dissolve the Majles and embark on his program for land reform, subsequently known as the White revolution (Enqelāb-e safīd). On 6 Bahman 1341 Š./26 January 1963 he followed Moṣaddeq’s example, which he had considered unconstitutional ten years earlier, and submitted his program to a national referendum. As he continued to increase his exercise of royal power, the Majles once again became a mere rubber stamp. In 1346 Š./1967, in order to strengthen provisions for the eventual succession of his son, the shah convened another constituent assembly. On 18 Sahrīvar/10 September it abrogated Articles 38 (for a second time), 41, and 42 of the supplement. According to the new Article 38, upon the death of the shah the queen (šahbānū) was to become regent until the heir apparent had reached the age of twenty years, provided that the shah had not specifically designated another regent; she was to convene a regency council, the composition of which was also specified. The other amendments also concerned the regency: The new Article 42 granted to the shah the power to appoint a regent or a regency council during his absence from the country (Raḥīmī, pp. 228-30). During the Revolution of 1357 Š./1978 the secular opposition proposed establishing such a regency council, and the shah eventually did name one before leaving Persia in January 1979. On 1 Bahman/21 January, only five days after the shah’s departure, its chairman, Sayyed Jalāl-al-Dīn Ṭehrānī, resigned, in response to demands by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini (Rūḥ-Allāh Ḵomeynī; Yazdī, pp. 130-34).


F. Ādamīyat, Īdeoložī-e nahżat-e mašrūṭīyat-e Īrān, Tehran, 2535=1355 Š./1976.

“Āʾīn-e Šāh Ṭahmāsb Ṣafawī dar qānūn-e salṭanat,” ed. M.-T. Danešpažūh, Barrasīhā-ye tārīḵī 7/1 1351 Š./1972, pp. 130-38; tr. S. Amir Arjomand as Authority and Political Culture in Shiʿism, Albany, N.Y., 1988, pp. 256-62.

F. Azimi, Iran. The Crisis of Democracy, 1941-53, New York, 1989.

S. Bakhash, Iran. Monarchy, Bureaucracy and Reform under the Qajars, 1858-1896, London, 1978.

C. E. Black, The Establishment of Constitutional Government in Bulgaria, Princeton, N.J., 1943.

A. P. Blaustein and J. A. Sigler, eds., Constitutions That Made History, New York, 1988.

H. F. Farmayan, “Politics during the Sixties. A Historical Analysis,” in E. Yar-Shater, ed., Iran Faces the Seventies, New York, 1971.

ʿA. -H. Hairi, Shiʿism and Constitutionalism in Iran, Leiden, 1977.

M. Hedāyat (Moḵber-al-Salṭana), Ḵāṭerāt wa ḵaṭarāt, 2nd ed., Tehran, 1344 Š./1965.

H. Inalcik, “Ḳānūn. Financial and Public Administration,” in EI2 IVa, pp. 558-62.

Idem, “Ḳānūnnāme,” in EI2 IVb, pp. 562-66.

B. Karīmī, Oṣūl-e ʿelm-e modon. Qānūn-e asāsī, Tehran, 1334 Š./1955.

A. K. S. Lambton, “Dustūr iv. Iran,” in EI2 II, pp. 649-57.

B. Lewis, “Dustūr ii,” EI2 II, pp. 640-47.

L. Lockhart, “The Constitutional Laws of Persia. An Outline of Their Origin and Development,” Middle East Journal 13, 1959, pp. 372-88.

Majles-e šūrā-ye mellī, Moḏākarāt-e Majles. Dawra-ye awwal-e taqnīnīya, Tehran, 1324 Š./1945.

A.-Ḥ. Navāʾī, “Qānūn-e asāsī-e Īrān wa motammem-e ān čogūna tadwīn šod,” Yādgār 4/5, 1326 Š./1948, pp. 34-49.

M. Raḥīmī, Qānūn-e asāsī-e Īrān wa oṣūl-e demokrāsī, 3rd ed., Tehran, 1357 Š./1978 (with an appendix containing the text of the Constitution and all subsequent amendments).

M.-M. Sārīf Kāšānī, Waqāyeʿ-e ettefāqīya dar rūzgār I, Tehran, 1362 Š./1983.

S.-Ḥ. Taqīzāda, Maqālāt I, ed. Ī. Afšār, Tehran, 1349 Š./1971.

M. Torkamān, “Neẓārat-e mojtahedīn-e ṭerāz-e awwal,” in Tārīḵ-e moʿāṣer-e Īrān II, Tehran, 1368 Š./1989.

E. Yazdī, Āḵerīn talāšhā dar āḵerīn rūzhā, Tehran, 1363 Š./1984.


In the decade 1329-39/1911-21, from the Russian ultimatum and the dissolution of the Second Majles (see ii, above) until the coup d’etat of 1299 Š./1921, the Constitution was put to a series of crucial tests. Although the independence of Persia had been acknowledged in the preamble to the Anglo-Russian Convention of 1325/1907, by which the country had been divided into two spheres of influence, in fact that independence was largely spurious. Russian troops were entrenched in the north, and the Cossack Brigade, the gendarmerie, the treasury, the customs service, and similar government agencies were all run by Westerners. The two existing banks in Persia were owned by Europeans, and European experts were employed in the ministries of interior, finance, war, and justice. Most of the customs revenues were pledged to pay the interest on previous loans from the European banks.

The fundamental problem facing the Majles and the government throughout this entire period was whether or not constitutionalism was possible at all in such conditions of quasi-independence. The constitutional law (qānūn-e asāsī) of 1324/1906 and the supplement (motammem-e qānūn-e asāsī) of 1325/1907 did not provide for automatic reconvening of the Majles once it had been dismissed. Article 53 of the third electoral law, enacted by the Second Majles on 28 Šawwāl 1329/22 October 1911 (Moṣawwabāt, p. 414), included the only constitutional provisions for election and reconvening of the Majles. Although it provided for two-year terms for the body and specified that new elections should begin three months before the end of each term, it did not contain any provision obliging the government to organize the elections or to reconvene the Majles for a new term. One constitutional safeguard, however, was Article 39 of the supplement to the Constitution, requiring that the shah take his oath of office in the Majles before his coronation.

The “recess” of the Majles (1330-33/1911-14). When the deputies of the Second Majles resisted the Russian ultimatum, Russian and British troops were occupying parts of Persia. The regent for Aḥmad Shah (1327-44/1909-25), Mīrzā Abu’l-Qāsem Khan Nāṣer-al-Molk, who had never been a partisan of democracy in Persia, seized the opportunity to close the Majles (2 Moḥarram 1330/24 December 1911); its term had already expired, but the deputies had voted to extend it (Kāšānī, III, p. 702; Mostawfī, Šarḥ-e zendagānī II, pp. 359-60). Martial law was declared, nationalist leaders were exiled, and the freedom of the press was curtailed. The Majles was not reconvened for almost three years (Borūjenī, pp. 80-85), and in the interval a number of unconstitutional steps were taken by the government. For example, in 1330/1912 the government negotiated a loan of 200,000 pounds sterling from the Russians and the British, despite the fact that, according to the Constitution (Arts. 16, 18, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26 of the constitutional law of 1324/1906), all loans, concessions, and transactions were invalid unless approved by the Majles (Moṣawwabāt, pp. 8-9; see iii, above).

Nāṣer-al-Molk could not postpone the opening of the Majles indefinitely, as Aḥmad Shah was approaching his majority and there was increasing agitation for resumption of elections. On 1 Rabīʿ I 1332/28 January 1914 elections began in Tehran; the editor of one newspaper noted enthusiastically that twelve reporters had been assigned to cover the process (Raʿd 21, 12 Rabīʿ I 1332/8 February 1914). Although elections were direct, the process was always slow, for a variety of reasons, including poor communications and frequently uncooperative provincial governors; in this instance the central government, partly under pressure from Russia and Great Britain, seem purposely to have delayed elections in the provinces. The total number of deputies to be elected was 136, but in this instance elections in the provinces began only three months after the Tehran elections had been completed. A quorum of one more than half the deputies had to be present for the session to be opened. By the time the new shah was to be presented to the deputies, in July 1914, only a few had been elected. Almost a full year after the Tehran elections the Majles was finally able to open in official session, on 18 Moḥarram/7 December, though only about sixty-nine deputies had been elected. Aḥmad Shah was then able to take his oath of office (Moṣawwabāt, p. 57).

Composition of the Third Majles. Because of the drawn-out electoral process, the number of deputies in the Majles at any one time is not always apparent, and the sources are often inconsistent in this respect. According to calculations based on the Moḏākarāt-e Majles, forty-three deputies served in the Third Majles for ten months and a few days. Of the others fifteen served between seven and nine months, eleven between three and six months, and nine two months or less. Fifteen elected deputies never attended the Majles, resigned before serving, or were unable to take up their seats because the Majles considered the returns from their constituencies to have been manipulated. According to the third electoral law, the number of seats assigned to each province was supposed to be proportional to the estimated population. One observer commented, however, that distribution of voter-registration cards in each constituency depended on previous support of the Majles in that constituency (Demorgny, 1913, p. 71). The government was frequently accused of procrastination, manipulation, and nepotism in conducting the elections, especially when opposition Democratic candidates were involved (van Largenhuysen, p. 54). In fact, allotment of constituencies did vary, probably to suit electoral expediency or the interests of certain candidates.

Tehran and Tabrīz, with their surrounding areas, were assigned the largest number of representatives, fifteen and nineteen respectively. Together these two groups of deputies would have constituted half the number necessary for a quorum in the Majles, but no deputies from Azerbaijan attended this Majles, as the Russian occupying forces had blocked the elections there. The seats assigned to the other provinces were seldom entirely filled (Moḏākarāt, pp. 1-5). Five major tribes and four religious minorities were entitled to one representative each (Moṣawwabāt, pp. 415-24). All property and literacy qualifications for voters had been lifted by the third electoral law, and a knowledge of Persian was deemed sufficient qualification for a deputy. Although such universal suffrage was in accordance with constitutionalist ideals, in practice it permitted landowners to control the votes of their peasants, with the result that 49 percent of the deputies in the Majles belonged to the propertied class (Šajīʿī, p. 178). The size of this group and its receptiveness to parliamentary politics, however tainted by abuse of privilege, are marks of the prestige that the Majles had acquired by that time; election as a deputy was already recognized as a vehicle for political advancement and graft. Complaints of favoritism (pārtī-bāzī) were voiced in the press, but they were rarely heeded unless the episodes were extremely flagrant; several elections were repeated because of such abuses (Moḏākarāt, p. 88; cf. Raʿd 32, 16 Moḥarram 1333/5 December 1914, 34, 18 Moḥarram 1333/7 December 1914).

Although voter participation in elections to the Third Majles was low, it was nevertheless higher than that in elections to the Second Majles. The total number of votes cast was approximately 107,475 (Moḏākarāt, pp. 4-5) from a Persian population of about 8,422,200 (according to the census, of 1307 Š./1928, taken for purposes of issuing identity cards). In each of five constituencies the number of votes cast was fewer than 500. In Tehran 18,558 registration cards were distributed, and 15,184 people voted in the initial elections. In Article 32 of the supplementary law it was stipulated that deputies who accepted government posts, including ministerial posts, had to resign; the remaining deputies could elect their replacements, or new elections could be held. As a result of such resignations, a second round of elections to the Third Majles was held in Tehran in March 1915; 12,308 cards (for which potential voters had to apply) were distributed and only 10,017 votes cast, suggesting growing indifference in the capital. Voter participation was comparatively high in a few of the provinces, however: 4,268 in Shiraz, 4,434 in Rašt, 4,829 in Hamadān, 6,150 in Zanjān, 6,402 in Kurdistan, and 7,361 in Kermānšāh. The situation in Kermānšāh is particularly interesting, for the province was a stronghold of the Democratic party (see v, below). It is possible that, because of the Russian occupation of Azerbaijan, the center of more radical political activity had largely shifted to Kermānšāh. Only 20 percent of the elected deputies had served in the Majles previously and thus had some experience of parliamentary procedures. Despite this low proportion, the Majles enjoyed considerable authority as the center of reform, of liberalism, and of modernism, representing the core of resistance to foreign encroachment.

Candidates did not campaign on party platforms; rather, the voters elected individuals, many of whom were related to influential landowning families in the provinces. Nor was any constituency totally under the influence of one party. The constitutional requirement that deputies who obtained government posts must resign helped to prevent development in the Majles of a majority party in support of the government. Furthermore, the parties in the Majles were able to manipulate the elections for replacement deputies. As in the Second Majles, a coalition, Hayʾat-e moʾtalefa, was formed, by Democrats and Moderate Socialists, to support the government, but it was guided mainly by political expedience and was not always dependable. The deputies, especially the Democrats, opposed the establishment of the Senate (see iii, above), so that the Majles remained the sole repository of power vis-à-vis the government. Suggestions by ministers and representatives of foreign powers that a council of state be established to curtail the power of the Majles were futile (Demorgny, 1913, p. 41).

Three political parties and one group of unaffiliated deputies (bīṭarafān) were represented in the Third Majles (see v, below); the parties were the Democrats (Ferqa-ye demokrāt-e Īrān, ʿĀmmīyūn), the Moderates (Eʿtedālīyūn, also known as Eʿtedālīyūn-e ejtemāʿīyūn), and the conservative clerical group Hayʾat-e ʿelmīya, which, though not apparently organized as a party, tended to vote as a bloc. The first act of the Democratic leader, Solaymān Mīrzā, after the convening of the session in December 1914 was to demand an inquiry into the actions of the government during the long “recess” (Moḏākarāt, p. 40), though there was no response to his demand. The former prestige of the Democrats had been somewhat damaged, however, by the apparent participation of some of their members in the assassination of Sayyed ʿAbd-Allāh Behbahānī in 1328/1910 (Kasrawī, Āḏarbāyjān, p. 130), and they were widely believed also to have been responsible, through their intransigence and support of the American financial reformer Morgan Shuster, for the Russian ultimatum. The ideological opposition between the Democrats and Hayʾat-e ʿelmīya was fundamental, and controversies were usually resolved to the advantage of the Democrats. Examples included discussions of women’s education, taxes on landed property, and military conscription. Nor were the clerics strong enough as a party to force implementation of Article 2 of the supplement to the Constitution, which provided for a committee of five prominent mojtaheds (theologians) to be chosen to scrutinize all enacted legislation in order to be certain that it did not contradict the tenets of Islam. In fact, this article, though occasionally discussed, seems to have been shelved (Moḏākarāt, p. 73). On nationalist questions, however, the ʿolamāʾ and the Democrats worked more harmoniously, for both parties shared a common distrust of foreign powers.

The bīṭarafān included eighteen deputies, who wielded considerable power because their participation in various coalitions often proved decisive (Bahār, I, p. 13 n. 1). Three members of this group represented minorities.

Government and the Third Majles. During this session the deputies generally avoided taking public positions on issues of foreign policy but persevered in the business of government, even during cabinet crises. For example, laws to reform the ministries of finance and justice were enacted, as well as judicial reforms, taxes on real property and tobacco, postal regulations, and military conscription (Moṣawwabāt, pp. 515-63; Moḏākarāt, passim).

Aḥmad Shah was one of the few Persian monarchs who had been not only trained to assume the position but also educated in the modern Western fashion (Demorgny, 1913, pp. 154-58). At his accession he enjoyed wide popularity and stood as a symbol of Persian independence and unity. Although he was weak, timid, and at times vacillating, he resembled in these respects most of the politicians of his day; when confronted with insoluble problems, they could resign, however, and he could not. As a constitutional monarch, he tried to avoid partisan political involvement, but that was not always possible, for, as head of the executive branch, he had the right and duty to appoint and dismiss ministers.

Prime ministers and other members of the cabinet were actually appointed only after negotiation among the shah, prominent politicians, leaders of political parties, and the Russian and British ministers, who had played an increasing part in choosing the Persian cabinets since 1329/1911; during the first years of World War I the views of the German minister were also taken into account. Naturally all these interests were incompatible. The Germans and their Democratic supporters wanted Persia to join the Triple Alliance; the British and the Russians preferred that the government adopt a policy of friendly neutrality. Meanwhile, that neutrality was being violated from all sides (see below). In such conditions no cabinet was able to endure for very long, especially as none enjoyed strong backing in the Majles. In the decade before the coup d’etat of 1299 Š./1921 there were eight prime ministers and seventeen cabinets. Among the ministers family ties were often the most important bond, triumphing over political allegiances. Most came from aristocratic families and had long familiarity with politics and administration; none seems to have been a serious party member. It was only later that professional politicians in Persia formed parties to further their ambitions.

The successive prime ministers faced the difficult task of balancing the exigencies of constitutional government with the expectations of foreign powers. Some of them, like Mīrzā Ḥasan Khan Mostawfī-al-Mamālek and Mīrzā Naṣr-Allāh Khan Mošīr-al-Dawla, attempted to maintain a policy of genuine neutrality; they were generally popular and held in high esteem by nationalists. Others, like Solṭān ʿAbd-al-Majīd Mīrzā ʿAyn-al-Dawla (q.v.), Moḥammad-ʿAlī Khan ʿAlāʾ-al-Salṭana, and Najafqolī Khan Ṣamṣām-al-Salṭana were strong and much feared but shifted their allegiance according to circumstance. Finally, there were men like ʿAbd-al-Ḥosayn Mīrzā Farmānfarmā, Mīrzā Ḥasan Khan Woṯūq-al-Dawla, and Moḥammad-Walī Khan Sepah-sālār, whose strong foreign sympathies, the first two with the British, the latter with the Russians, brought them little popularity. In general it can be acknowledged that, as professional statesmen, all these men were more exposed to foreign pressures and therefore more aware of the realities than were the Majles deputies. Each held office only as long as he had the consent of the foreign envoys, but he also could not afford to be unmindful of public opinion. For these reasons, the ministers’ dealings with representatives of foreign powers were largely conducted in secret, in violation of the Constitution.

In February 1915 a coalition of parties in the Majles gave the prime minister, Mostawfī-al-Mamālek, a vote of confidence. The deputies soon rejected his program, however, and he resigned; although it was not mentioned in the debates, the real reason for his loss of support was his failure to persuade the Russians to withdraw from Azerbaijan, which had given the Turks an excuse to invade Persia (see below; Olson, pp. 65-70). The Majles asserted itself by nominating as his successor Mošīr-al-Dawla, who was disliked by the Allies, as premier. He was duly appointed by the shah. Perhaps for this reason, under his leadership there was greater than usual cooperation between the cabinet and the Majles. Together they took the daring step of repealing the law of 11 Šaʿbān 1329/14 June 1911 by which first Shuster and then his successor, the unpopular Belgian customs administrator Joseph Mornard, had been granted full powers as treasurer-general of Persia (Shuster, p. 84). The government initiated a bill to repeal this law and to assign to the minister of finance full power over the treasury. The deputies then approved it by a majority vote (Moḏākarāt, pp. 59-66).

Nevertheless, even a prime minister who had the trust of the Majles could not continue in office without conducting secret negotiations with the Allies. As the government was in desperate need of money and the Majles would have objected to a new foreign loan, Mošīr-al-Dawla resorted to subterfuge, initiating negotiation with the Allies of a “moratorium” (estemhāl); it was agreed that the foreign banks would not collect the interest (the customs receipts) upon their respective earlier loans; instead they would “pay” the government a monthly stipend equal to the revenue from the customs, which had, however, fallen because of a slump in trade (see commerce vi), thus in effect extending a new loan in installments. The entire arrangement was actually at the discretion of the Allied ministers, and the threat of withholding the monthly stipend was used as a lever against the government whenever it was deemed necessary. In fact, in April 1915 the Allies obliged Mošīr-al-Dawla to resign because of his neutral policy and refusal to take effective action against increasing German activity in Persia. They sought to replace him with Mīrzā Jawād Khan Saʿd-al-Dawla, who was in turn unacceptable to the Majles. A compromise was reached with the appointment of ʿAyn-al-Dawla, who formed his cabinet in a way to satisfy all sides. The Democrats, however, mistrusted Farmānfarmā, his minister of interior, and seized upon the pretext of Turkish incursions into Kermānšāh in June 1915 to interpellate him (Moḏākarāt, pp. 272-88).

Questions of foreign policy were discussed only in closed sessions of the Majles, an unpopular though, according to the Constitution, not an unlawful practice. When Farmānfarmā was impeached he did not discuss actual events but referred the deputies to such private discussions. Nor did the deputies mention the Turks directly; rather, they emphasized the plight of the people of Kermānšāh, blaming the minister for not having appointed a governor there sooner. Farmānfarmā’s defense is indicative of the government’s great caution in regard to foreign policy. After a long exposé of the measures taken to expedite the governor-designate to Kermānšāh he pleaded: “How was I to know a certain man called Raʾūf [Raʾūf Bey, the Turkish commander] would come and, no matter how much I entreated him to go, refuse to leave?” (Moḏākarāt, p. 278). ʿAyn-al-Dawla tried to retain Farmānfarmā in his post, but the deputies were adamant, and the entire cabinet therefore resigned on 20 Šaʿbān 1333/3 July 1915.

To a considerable extent independence of action in the Majles depended on the freedom of the press (see vi, below), guaranteed in Article 20 of the supplement to the Constitution and the press law (qānūn-e maṭbūʿāt) enacted on 5 Moḥarram 1326/9 February 1908 (Moṣawwabāt, pp. 257-70). During the long “recess” the press had been instrumental in maintaining pressure on the government to hold elections. Furthermore, during one entire year Ḥabl al-matīn and Raʿd covered the provincial elections, exposing the abuses and malfeasance of governors and other officials. If, however, newspapers were too outspoken in their criticism of the government, especially its foreign policy, they could be closed down, even in the face of strong opposition from the Majles. Nevertheless, the nationalist tone of most newspapers in this period was less muted than that of the deputies; journalists often criticized individual deputies for their passivity, usually by means of innuendo. They also complained that the government refused to keep them informed about domestic matters. Attention to foreign policy was focused mainly on news of the war and discussion of the policy of neutrality. Self-censorship was also apparent; for example, when Mošīr-al-Dawla was forced by the British and Russians to resign in April 1915 Raʿd (105, 12 Jomādā II 1333/27 April 1915) was published with its editorial column blank.

Persian entanglement in World War I. On 12 Ḏu’l-ḥejja 1332/1 November 1914, after the Ottoman empire had entered World War I on the side of Germany, Persia declared a policy of neutrality (Neẓām Māfī, p. 20). The Russians refused to evacuate Persian territory, however, and the Turks then invaded northern and western Persia, thus involving the country in the war, despite its declared neutrality (Sepehr, pp. 89-100).

The Democrats and other nationalists, historically hostile to Russian and British interference in Persian affairs, supported the Germans and actively assisted German agents against the Allies (Sykes, passim). The gendarmerie, led by Swedish officers, also favored the Germans (Sepehr, p. 109). As a result, German influence in the provinces gradually increased, occasioning a flurry of attacks on Russian and British representatives there. The British then (August 1915) sent a force to occupy Būšehr. The euphoria engendered by the coronation and the opening of the Majles soon waned, as the government proved incapable of halting the ravages of the war in Persia. Newspapers expressed the general malaise and frustration in the country, though the articles were often shallow and sensationalized. They reported the general rise in prices, instances of epidemic and famine, and even rumors of Russian troop movements to Tehran. According to Ḥabl al-matīn, the decline in Persian exports had resulted in serious unemployment and hardship (34, 19 Rabīʿ I 1333/5 February 1915; cf. 23, 23 Ḏu’l-qaʿda 1332/12 October 1914; 26, 20 Ḏu’l-ḥejja 1332/19 November 1914; 44, 27 Jomādā I 1333/12 April 1915). The editors also drew attention to the fact that tribes, especially the Qašqāʾī, the Daštīs and Daštestānīs in the south, and the Sanjābīs in the west, encouraged by the belligerents and the weakness of the central government, were actively participating in the war. The editor of Raʿd (114, 28 Jomādā II 1333/12 May 1915; cf. 75, 9 Rabīʿ II 1333/4 March 1915; 82, 23 Rabīʿ II 1333/8 March 1915) commented on the penury of the government, which paid the salaries of employees at the Ministry of interior in straw. There was news of strikes by government officials, which were often directed toward political ends; for example, when officials of the Ministry of war took refuge (bast) in the Russian embassy, they brought down the government of Farmānfarmā, in February 1916. There was extensive coverage in all the newspapers of the arrears in pay for the gendarmerie, which was responsible for security in the country (e.g., Ḥabl al-matīn 35, 16 Rabīʿ I 1333/1 February 1915; 87, 4 Šaʿbān 1332/19 June 1914; 117, 26 Šaʿbān 1332/25 July 1914).

The manner in which foreign news, especially the war, was covered revealed the biases of the newspapers. The respected Ḥabl al-matīn and others were independent, but some were more partisan: Šūrā followed the Moderate Socialist line, Now-bahār that of the Democrats. Party squabbles were aired in the press, which the deputies found objectionable; the editors in turn accused the deputies of irresponsibility.

The resignation of ʿAyn-al-Dawla’s cabinet brought on a protracted government crisis. Finally, on 6 Šawwāl 1313/17 August 1915 Mostawfī-al-Mamālek was asked to form a new cabinet; he included in it Sepah-sālār to satisfy the Russians; Mīrzā Ebrāhīm Khan Ḥakīm-al-Molk to satisfy the Democrats; and ʿAlāʾ-al-Salṭana to satisfy the Moderates. Nevertheless, he never gained the trust of the Allies. As German activities and acts of aggression against the Allies in Persia increased, reports of the government’s secret negotiations with the Germans began to circulate (Sepehr, pp. 231-33). The Allies therefore decided to take strong action. It was at this point, in October 1915, that the first installment of the “moratorium” was finally paid (Olson, pp. 57-59). In November 1915 Russian troops under General Baratov marched from Qazvīn to the vicinity of Tehran, with the approval of the British. Their approach caused a panic among Majles deputies, nationalist newspaper editors, German officials, and their sympathizers, who joined in a mass exodus (mohājarat) to Qom (Sepehr, pp. 243-44). The shah and the government were dissuaded from leaving by the Allies. Anglo-Russian influence then became paramount in the capital.

The mohājerīn continued retreating before the advancing Russian forces. They went first to Isfahan, then, with the gendarmerie fighting a rearguard action, proceeded to Kermānšāh in February 1916. In Kermānšāh they formed a provisional government and a council of representatives (Hayʾat-e nemāyandagān) composed of members from all the Majles parties (Lustig, pp. 240-45). Reżāqolī Khan Neẓām-al-Salṭana, a nationalist statesman reputed to be unsympathetic to the Allies, was elected to head the provisional cabinet (Bahār, II, pp. 17-23). A renewed Russian offensive forced the mohājerīn to retreat once again, to Qaṣr-e Šīrīn, on 17 Rajab 1334/10 May 1916.

The deputies remaining in Tehran no longer constituted the quorum necessary to conduct official business; after some negotiation with the mohājerīn, with each side inviting the other to join it, the Majles was dissolved, in November 1915, after sitting for only eleven months. It was said that, in order to disclaim responsibility for the move, Sepah-sālār had added the words “by force majeure” to the dissolution order (Bahār, I, pp. 8-45). All newspapers in Tehran were closed down by the government, except for the pro-British Raʿd, edited by Sayyed Żīāʾ-al-Dīn Ṭabāṭabāʾī, and the pro-Russian ʿAṣr-e jadīd, edited by ʿAbd-al-Ḥamīd Khan Matīn-al-Salṭana. Heavy censorship was imposed on the news (Kohan, pp. 652-58), especially about German and Turkish activities and the fate of the mohājerīn. The function of informing the public became the responsibility of those provincial newspapers that remained free of foreign domination. More important in this respect were the mosques, which again became centers of political agitation (Raʿd 48, 21 Moḥarram 1334/30 November 1915; 50, 23 Moḥarram 1334/1 December 1915).

Government without the Majles. The government continued to function after November 1915, though the Allies were in a much stronger position and continued to interfere in the selection of officials and official policy. Nevertheless, the British and the Russians did not always agree on policy, thus undermining even the governments they helped to install (Olson, p. 25 and passim).

The question of ministerial responsibility remained unresolved. After an unsuccessful attempt to negotiate an alliance with Great Britain and Russia, Mostawfī-al-Mamālek’s cabinet fell on 16 Ṣafar/25 December. He was followed by Farmānfarmā, who also conducted secret negotiations with the Allies but was brought down, partly by Russian opposition, in February 1916. He in turn was replaced by the pro-Russian Sepah-sālār, who in August 1916 finally reached an agreement with the Allies, accepting a mixed commission to supervise a subsidy of 200,000 pounds sterling to be paid to the government and consenting to an increase in the strength of the Cossack Brigade, as well as to the formation of a British force to police the south; the latter force came to be known as the South Persia Rifles (Polīs-e janūb). The agreement meant in effect the virtual partition of the country. At that juncture the shah asserted himself and dismissed Sepah-sālār. In fact, Aḥmad Shah had begun to play a more active role in politics, which exposed him to subsequent criticism (Olson, pp. 149-206).

Woṯūq-al-Dawla was named prime minister with British backing in August 1916. He attempted to ease out of Sepah-sālār’s agreement, claiming that the text had been lost, but to no avail. The South Persia Rifles were organized, and the mixed commission began to function. The British wanted official government recognition of the force, but Woṯūq-al-Dawla could make no concession without obtaining something in return. His position was exceptionally difficult, for many of the politicians who had left Tehran had begun to drift back and to agitate for elections; they generally acted as a kind of check upon the government’s freedom of action. Some extremists organized the Komīta-ye mojāzāt (Committee of punishment) to assassinate traitors; one of its first victims was Matīn-al-Salṭana, editor of the pro-Russian newspaper ʿAṣr-e jadīd (Ṣadr Hāšemī, Jarāʾed o majallāt IV, pp. 29-31).

After ten months in office Woṯūq-al-Dawla was succeeded by ʿAlāʾ-al-Salṭana, ʿAyn-al-Dawla, Mostawfī-al-Mamālek, and Ṣamṣām-al-Salṭana in turn; none, however, was able to resolve the impasse. Despite protracted negotiations for a permanent settlement, nothing of substance was achieved. Under the watchful eyes of the reviving political parties and the newspapers, which were beginning to function again, no government could have entered into an agreement with the Allies without achieving some corresponding gain (Bahār, I, pp. 27-28). Every government demanded, as a minimum, the evacuation of Persian territory, a readjustment of the frontiers, a voice in the peace conference to be held at the end of the war, compensation for war damages, a guarantee of Persian independence, the right to form a unified army, and cancellation of the Anglo-Russian Convention. The Allies, on the other hand, were not ready to make some of these concessions (Olson, p. 236).

In 1917 the Bolshevik Revolution meant a temporary removal of Russian power from the Persian scene, and the British government immediately took steps to secure its own interests, including exclusive political, financial, and military control of Persia. In August 1919 an agreement along these lines was concluded with the government of Woṯūq-al-Dawla, who had returned to office in August 1918. Because of the hostility of the press and public opinion and because of French and American opposition, this initiative failed, however. The British attempted bribery, and the Persian government tried to rig elections to the Fourth Majles (begun in 1336/1918), for without the Majles no agreement could be ratified. Both attempts were unsuccessful. The rigged elections were discontinued and resumed only after the coup d’etat of 1299 Š./1921, led by Sayyed Żīāʾ-al-Dīn and Reżā Khan Mīrpanj (the future Reżā Shah), commander of the Cossack Brigade; even then the Fourth Majles, which was convened in June 1921, remained under a cloud.

Furthermore, although Great Britain had become the sole foreign power in Persia after the war, it had to reckon with the new and formidable appeal of communism 1. Weak cabinets, an uncontrollable Majles, unrestrained political parties, a free press, and rebellious movements in the provinces with the accompanying danger of secession were not conducive to a strong government capable of restraining the influence of radicalism. Nor did the coup d’etat of 1299 Š./1921 solve these problems. It was only with a change of dynasty and the establishment of strong autocratic rule that these elements came under the control of the shah and the government. The Pahlavi regime, which aspired to modernity, reform, and national glory, retained the Majles as a symbol, but what had once been called the kaʿba of the hopes of the Persian nation had become an empty shell. Had World War I not taken place, it is possible that constitutionalism might have developed to a limited degree in Persia, despite foreign interference and domination, for the Majles was quite effective in enacting domestic reforms. As it was closed prematurely and violently, however, all efforts at building a workable democracy failed, with fatal consequences for the future of constitutionalism in Persia.


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CONSTITUTIONAL REVOLUTION v. Political parties of the constitutional period

Political parties were first officially organized after Moḥammad-ʿAlī Shah was forced to abdicate in 1327/1909, at about the time elections for the Second Majles were beginning (see ii, above). Four parties, or ḥezbs, were represented in the Majles: the Democrats (Ferqa-ye demokrāt-e Īrān, ejtemāʿīyūn-e ʿāmmīyūn), the Moderate Socialists (Ejtemāʿīyūn-e eʿtedālīyūn), and two very small parties, the Liberals (Āzādīḵᵛāhān) and Union and Progress (Ettefāq wa taraqqī). In Azerbaijan there were also a number of socialist parties, including Sūsīālīst Ūnīfīya and the Armenian Dāšnāk, but, as they were not represented in the Majles, they will not be dealt with here.

Democrats. The Democratic party was the most powerful party in the Second Majles. It originated in the Ejtemāʿīyūn-e ʿāmmīyūn, or Social Democratic party, a radical secret group that had probably been organized by Ḥaydar Khan ʿAm(ū)oḡlī just before the elections for the First Majles, toward the end of 1324/1906 (Eqbāl, p. 70; Ādamīyat, 1354 Š./1975, passim). ʿAmoḡlī had been sent by the Russian Socialist party at Baku to establish a comparable group in Persia just before the outbreak of the Constitutional Revolution in that year (Eqbāl). The program of the Ejtemāʿīyūn-e ʿāmmīyūn included such principles as the separation of religion from politics, the distribution of landed estates among the peasants, and protection for the poor (Donyā 3/4, 1341 Š./1962, pp. 86-87; 4/3, 1343 Š./1964, pp. 87-89).

In contrast to the Social Democrats, the Democrats were an officially recognized party, composed mainly of middle-class intellectuals. They severed direct ties with Baku (Ravasani, p. 153) and dropped the name Ejtemāʿīyūn, which had revolutionary connotations, claiming thenceforth to be seeking gradual change through parliamentary means. ʿAmoḡlī maintained close connections with the Democratic party, nevertheless. The party published its organizational program, or neẓām-nāma, in 1328/1910 (Etteḥādīya, 1982b, pp. 5-8, 11-19) and its political program, or marām-nāma, in 1329/1911; the latter was indeed less radical than the program of the Ejtemāʿīyūn. The party professed strong nationalism and declared itself the protector of the peasants; it also favored the separation of religion from politics (Etteḥādīya, 1361 Š./1982, pp. 199-246; Afšār, pp. 364-66).

The organization of the Democratic party consisted of a central committee with provincial branches and a parliamentary committee (Etteḥādīya, 1982b, pp. 5-8, 11-19), which took its orders from the central committee (Taqīzāda, Majmūʿa). The official party organ was Īrān-e now, edited by Moḥammad-Amīn Rasūlzāda, a former member of Ejtemāʿīyūn-e ʿāmmīyūn (Āryanpūr, Az Ṣabā tā Nīmā II, pp. 108-10; Ādamīyat, 1355 Š./1976, pp. 285-314; Ṣadr Hāšemī, Jarāʾed o majallāt I, pp. 345-49; see vi, below). It was strongly opposed to Russian influence in Persia, particularly the occupation of Azerbaijan (see ii, above). The ideology of the editor included some Marxist-Leninist ideas, for instance, the significance of class conflict and the revolutionary tactics recommended to the party. The provincial branches were also active and published their own newspapers, particularly in Tabrīz, where there were many Armenian Social Democrats, who, however, remained aloof from the new party (Afšār, pp. 323-29). In addition, the central committee sponsored a literary society (Majmaʿ-e adab), which published a paper called Kawkab-e dorrī (see vii, below).

The leader of the parliamentary branch of the Democratic party was Sayyed Ḥasan Taqīzāda, who had been closely associated with the Ejtemāʿīyūn-e ʿāmmīyūn in the First Majles. After the bombardment of the Majles by forces loyal to Moḥammad-ʿAlī Shah in 1326/1908 (see ii, above) he took refuge in the British embassy and eventually fled to London; he was later invited back to Tabrīz, whence he made his way to Tehran in the wake of the forces led by Sepahdār Tonokābonī (Taqīzāda, 1368 Š./1989, pp. 75 ff.). In Tehran he helped to organize the new Democratic party (Afšār, pp. 238-62).

The Democratic party differed from most socialist parties on two major points: It was extremely nationalistic and also claimed to act within the tenets of Islam (Etteḥādīya, 1982a, pp. 44-45). In fact, however, it covertly opposed the influence and interference of the ʿolamāʾ in politics and called for compulsory free education. Its leaders eventually broke with Sayyed ʿAbd-Allāh Behbahānī, one of the great constitutionalist ʿolamāʾ (see i, above). Behbahānī was murdered on 9 Rajab 1328/18 July 1910, and suspicion fell upon the Democrats (Šarīf Kāšānī, II, p. 542; Taqīzāda, 1368 Š./1989, pp. 144, 152-54, 349-50); Taqīzāda again had to flee the country. He had already been condemned by the conservative ʿolamāʾ of the ʿAtabāt (Shiʿite holy cities in Iraq) for alleged “corrupt political beliefs” (fesād-e maslak-e sīāsī; see Ḥabl al-matīn 16, 13 Šawwāl 1328/29 October 1910; cf. Afšār, p. 207-12). The party survived, however, and leadership in the Majles passed to Solaymān Mīrzā Eskandarī, who had been active politically since the First Majles.

Moderate Socialists. The Ejtemāʿīyūn eʿtedālīyūn was the most important political party after the Democrats, who ridiculed its name, demanding to know who had ever heard of “moderate” socialists. The membership consisted largely of landowners and constitutionalist ʿolamāʾ. It was organized at the beginning of the elections for the Second Majles, and its purpose seems to have been less to pursue a specific program than to oppose the Democratic program, which threatened the interests of the landed and religious classes. Its members therefore emphasized the need for gradual and moderate development (Etteḥādīya, 1982a, pp. 225-35).

This party had the backing of some influential politicians, but it is not quite clear who the leader was. Both Mīrzā Moḥammad-Ṣādeq Ṭabāṭabāʾī and ʿAlī-Moḥammad Dawlatābādī have been mentioned in this respect. It published two newspapers, Waqt (Time), and Majles, edited by Ḥosayn Kasmāʾī and Ṭabāṭabāʾī respectively. The party claimed to uphold the principles of Islam and proposed military, judicial, and economic reforms. It also expressed support for freedom of association and the press, limitation of the work week, prohibition of child labor, and wages in accordance with work performed, while maintaining that private ownership of large landed estates was justifiable as long as it did not “harm society” (Etteḥādīya, 1982a, pp. 230-35).

Other parties. The Ettefāq wa taraqqī and the Āzādīḵᵛāhān were insignificant in numbers but held the balance of power between the other two, neither of which had a clear majority in the Second Majles.

Party politics in the Second Majles. The death of the regent ʿAlī-Reżā Khan Qājār ʿAżod-al-Molk in 1328/1910 benefited the Moderate Socialist party, which nominated the successful candidate to replace him, Mīrzā Abu’l-Qāsem Khan Nāṣer-al-Molk. Nāṣer-al-Molk had no sympathy for the Democrats and obliged the remaining parties to form a coalition in support of his government, a move that was effective for a time (Etteḥādīya, 1982a, pp. 287-95).

On 12 Ṣafar 1328/2 February 1911 the Majles approved the appointment of the American Morgan Shuster as treasurer-general, with a brief to reform the finances of Persia. He was sympathetic to the Democrats, and it was probably with their encouragement that he chose to ignore the provisions of the Anglo-Russian Convention of 1325/1907, by which Persia had been divided into two spheres of influence. He thus aggravated an already uneasy situation (Shuster, pp. 83-109, 313). The Russians assisted the deposed shah, Moḥammad-ʿAlī, in an attempt to regain the throne in December 1911, but the attempt was unsuccessful, partly owing to Shuster, who provided the government with the funds necessary to organize armed resistance. The Russians then presented the government with an ultimatum, demanding the dismissal of Shuster and threatening to occupy Tehran.

The Democrats prevailed upon a majority of the deputies to refuse compliance with these demands, thus successfully breaking up the coalition. The government, on the other hand, favored compliance with the demands and persuaded enough deputies to form a committee to negotiate with the Russians. On 3 Moḥarram 1330/24 December 1911 Nāṣer-al-Molk closed the Majles, the term of which had already expired. Many of the deputies were exiled, newspapers were closed down, and the Majles did not sit again for nearly three years. During this interval Russian and British influence on the government increased enormously.

Party politics in the Third Majles. Gradually, however, the exiled deputies made their way back to Tehran, and a campaign to reopen the Majles gained momentum; newspapers played a leading role in this campaign (see, e.g., Raʿd 16, 25 Ṣafar 1332/23 January 1914; 19, 9 Rabīʿ I/6 February; 25, 27 Ḏu’l-ḥejja/17 November; Now-bahār 7, 2 Rabīʿ I 1332/30 January 1914; 8, 6 Rabīʿ I 1332/4 February 1914). The Russians finally agreed that elections could begin in Tehran in January 1914, provided that no Democrat should participate (van Largenhuysen, p. 54; Now-bahār 50, 25 Rajab 1332/20 June 1914). Provincial elections began a year later, except in Azerbaijan, where the pro-Russian governor Šojāʿ-al-Dawla prevented them (Kasrawī, Mašrūṭa3, pp. 576-86; Raʿd 37, 18 Rabīʿ II, 1332/17 March 1914; 40, 1 Jomādā I, 1332/29 March 1914). The Third Majles opened on 16 Moḥarram 1333/4 December 1914.

Three political parties (ferāksīon < Fr. fraction; Bahār, p. 13) participated in the Third Majles. According to Moḥammad-Taqī Malek-al-Šoʿarāʾ Bahār, the Democrats won twenty-four seats, despite the attempted Russian ban; the Eʿtedālīyūn twenty-nine seats; Hayʾat-e ʿelmīya, a party of the conservative ʿolamāʾ led by Sayyed Ḥasan Modarres, fourteen seats; and independents twenty seats (various figures are given in the sources, e.g., Kāva 3, 1336/1918, pp. 228-30; Sepehr, pp. 102-4). The Democrats, by joining in a coalition, Hayʾat-e moʾtalefa, with the independents and some of the Eʿtedālīyūn, for the first time enjoyed a majority, with Hayʾat-e ʿelmīya in opposition (Kāva 3, 1336/1918, pp. 226-28; Bahār, p. 13 n. 1).

During the second round of elections in Tehran in March 1915 well-known Democratic candidates were sponsored by the party, and there was some canvassing, as reported in the party newspaper Now-bahār (31, 1 Jomādā II 1332/27 April 1914; cf. 35, 16 Jomādā II 1332/12 May 1914; 50, 25 Rajab 1332/20 June 1914). As a result, membership in the parliamentary Democratic party increased to thirty-one (Raʿd 98, 26 Jomādā I 1333/12 March 1915). As in the Second Majles, the Democratic leader was Solaymān Mīrzā.

There were about twenty-five Moderate (Eʿtedālī) deputies, who claimed to support gradual reform through evolution. They were not as well organized as the Democrats and were divided into two main factions, probably reflecting personal rivalries. Sayyed Moḥammad-Ṣādeq Ṭabāṭabāʾī led one faction, Mīrzā ʿAlī-Moḥammad Dawlatābādī the other. In fact, the Dawlatābādī group often joined with the Democrats in the Third Majles, and this association continued even during the exodus (mohājarat) of pro-German deputies and politicians from Tehran as Russian troops advanced on the city in November 1915 (see iv, above).

The formation of Hayʾat-e ʿelmīya represented a change in tactics by the conservative ʿolamāʾ; rather than continuing to follow the example of Shaikh Fażl-Allāh Nūrī and denouncing socialists as Babis and materialists as enemies of Islam, they formed a political party to challenge the programs of the Democrats and the Eʿtedālīyūn within the Majles. No doubt growing secularism in Persia after 1324/1906 had prompted this decision to participate more actively in politics. Furthermore, the assassinations and executions of prominent religious leaders must have influenced their followers to seek greater political power. Aside from the assassination of Behbahānī, Shaikh Fażl-Allāh had been tried and executed, possibly at the prompting of the Democrats, in 1327/1909. Hayʾat-e ʿelmīya had about seventeen members in the Majles, led by Modarres. It opposed increased government power, higher taxation, and such modern measures as taxes on landed property and the opening of a teachers’ college for women (Moḏākarāt, 1333-34/1914-15, passim). For the most part, however, the party was unsuccessful, as it was outnumbered by the other parties.

Party politics in the mohājarat and after. In November 1915, as Russian troops advanced on Tehran, there was a major exodus (mohājarat) of Majles deputies and their supporters to Qom (see iv, above). In Qom the Democrats were in the majority and continued to triumph over the ʿElmīya (Lustig, p. 119). After the mohājerīn had moved to Kermānšāh, where a provisional government was established, relations among the participating political parties, which had begun smoothly, gradually deteriorated (Lustig, pp. 225, 245), and the situation was further exacerbated by rivalry and friction between the Germans and their Ottoman allies. The Democrats preferred to work with the Germans (Lustig, pp. 232-33), whereas the ʿElmīya and the Eʿtedālīyūn, though fearing pan-Turkish designs on Azerbaijan, were nevertheless generally sympathetic to the Ottomans, as was the provisional prime minister, Reżāqolī Khan Neẓām-al-Salṭana. At about the time that the mohājerīn retreated to Qaṣr-e Šīrīn ʿAmoḡlī and some extremist elements of the Democrat party instigated an attempt on the life of Neẓām-al-Salṭana (Dawlatābādī, Ḥayāt-e Yaḥyā III, p. 354). As a result, the Democrats lost much of their prestige and influence among the mohājerīn. Destabilized by mutual tensions and adversity, the parties at last disbanded for the duration of the war (Bahār, pp. 21-23; Lustig, p. 255).

Toward the end of the war, some of the mohājerīn, including a number of Democrats, returned to Tehran. These Democrats, inspired by the Russian Revolution of 1917 (Abrahamian, p. 112), attempted to reorganize the party under the leadership of Bahār (Now-bahār 11, 1333/1917). The central committee, originally organized in accordance with the neẓām-nāma of the party, seems to have been very active at that time (Now-bahār 89, 10 Rabīʿ I 1336/24 January 1918; 104, 19 Jomādā I 1336/3 March 1918; 106, 23 Jomādā I 1336/7 March 1918). Bahār’s group, known as the Taškīlīs, published Now-bahār, Īrān, and Zabān-e āzād, all of which initiated campaigns for new elections. Another group of party members who opposed the new organization formed a new party called Taškīlāt-e Demokrāthā-ye żedd-e taškīlī and published a paper called Setāra-ye Īrān (Bahār, p. 27). When the first elections for the Fourth Majles were held, in 1335/1917, the Democrats won a majority, but, owing to popular resentment of the agreement reached in August 1919 by Prime Minister Moḥammad-Walī Khan Sepah-sālār and the British, by which the latter were granted nearly total control of the Persian government, the elections were suspended. By the time they were resumed, in 1336/1918, the Democratic party had split definitively. Some members joined the former Eʿtedālīyūn to form the Eṣlāḥṭalabān, or reform party (Bahār, pp. 57-59).

The constitutional period can be said to have ended with the dismissal of the Third Majles. Until that time most of the questions confronting politicians and political parties were the same ones raised at the beginning of the Constitutional Revolution. After the war and the Russian Revolution, and especially after the coup d’etat of 1299 Š./1921, new problems arose, and political parties changed to meet new demands. Whereas the political parties in the Second and Third Majles, usually designated by the word ḥezb or ferqa, were ideologically based, later parties in the Majles, usually called ferāksīon, were built around personalities. Moreover, although the two main early parties, the Democrats and the Eʿtedālīyūn, had differed ideologically, they did share some common features. Their members were drawn largely from the same class, and they had little contact with the people for whom they claimed to speak. The Democrats enjoyed the advantage of having a more coherent program and a stronger organization, both loosely modeled on those of the Russian Socialist party. The Democratic program posed a threat to the landed class and the ʿolamāʾ, however, and thus called forth strong opposition.

The evaluation of the role played by the parties is problematic. They were generally unpopular and blamed for division and disruption. Furthermore, the Democrats’ extreme nationalism and hostility to foreign powers were largely responsible for arousing British and Russian antagonism, and the consequences were ruinous to the country and to constitutional government itself. It appears that, largely owing to World War I, there had been too little time for constitutional institutions to mature and create an atmosphere conducive to the development of genuine party politics.


E. Abrahamian, Iran between Two Revolutions, Princeton, N.J., 1982.

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Idem, Īdeoložī-e mašrūṭīyat-e Īrān, Tehran, 1355 Š./1976.

ʿA. Āḏarī, Qīām-e Ḵīābānī, Tehran, 1329 Š./1950.

Ī. Afšār, ed., Awrāq-e tāzayāb-e mašrūṭīyat wa naqš-e Taqīzāda, Tehran, 1359 Š./1980.

M.-T. Malek-al-Šoʿarāʾ Bahār, Tārīḵ-e moḵtaṣar-e aḥzāb-e sīāsī-e Īrān I. Enqerāż-e qājārīya, Tehran, 1357 Š./1978.

A. Bennigson and C. Le Mercier-Quelquejay, L’Islam en Union Sovietique, Paris, 1968.

ʿA. Eqbāl, “Waraq-ī az tārīḵ-e mašrūṭa-ye Īrān. Ḥaydar Ḵān Amūoḡlī,” Yādgār 5/3, 1325 Š./1946, pp. 61-80.

M. Etteḥādīya (Neẓām Māfī), Peydāyeš wa taḥawwol-e aḥzāb-e sīāsī-e mašrūṭīyat, dawra-ye awwal wa dovvom-e Majles-e šūrā-ye mellī, Tehran, 1361 Š./1982a.

Idem, ed., Marām-nāmahā wa neẓām-nāmahā-ye aḥzāb-e sīāsī-e Īrān dar dovvomīn Majles-e šūrā-ye mellī, Tehran, 1361 Š./1982b.

Shaikh Fażl-Allāh Nūrī, Lawāyeḥ-e Āqā Šayḵ Fażl-Allāh Nūrī, ed. H. Reżwānī, Tehran, 1362 Š./1983.

M.-Q. Hedāyat Moḵber-al-Salṭana, Ḵāṭerāt wa ḵaṭarāt, Tehran, 1344 Š./1965.

C. L. van Largenhuysen, Behind the Veil in Persia. English Documents, Amsterdam, 1917.

M. J. Lustig, “The Muhajerat and the Provisional Government in Kermanshah,” Ph.D. diss., New York University, 1987.

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R. Neẓām Māfī, ed., Ketāb-e sabz, Tehran, 1363 Š./1984.

W. J. Olson, Anglo-Iranian Relations during World Waṛ I, London, 1984.

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C. Sykes, Wasmuss, “the German Lawrence”, London, 1936.

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Idem, Maqālāt-e Taqīzāda, 7 vols., ed. Ī. Afšār, Tehran, 1349-52 Š./1970-73.

Idem, Zendagī-e ṭūfānī. Ḵāṭerāt-e Sayyed Ḥasan Taqīzāda, ed. Ī. Afšār, Tehran, 1368 Š./1989.


There are no statistics on literacy in Qajar Persia, but it can be conjectured that the literate population was very small. Until the beginning of the Pahlavi era there were people who could “read” the Koran and prayer books, for teaching in religious schools consisted of memorizing koranic passages. Few women could read, and even those few often did not know how to write. Literacy in the full sense was confined to a small minority, comprised mainly of the aristocracy and clergy; the title mīrzā (< amīrzāda “nobly born”) before a name came to imply knowledge of reading and writing. The number of newspaper readers in the time of Nāṣer-al-Dīn Shah (1264-1313/1848-96) is reasonably well documented: There were four government-sponsored newspapers, with a total of 1,100 “subscribers.” Court officers, governors, government agents, aristocrats, and local leaders were required to subscribe to these papers; those who were delinquent in paying for their subscriptions forfeited equal amounts from their government stipends. Other people were allowed to subscribe and receive the newspapers if they wished to do so (Waqāyeʿ-e ettefāqīya 51, 30 Rabīʿ I 1268/23 January 1852; Ṣadr Hāšemī, Jarāʾed o majallāt I, p. 5).

On the eve of the Constitutional Revolution

The government press contained little to attract the attention or interest of the public other than some domestic and international news, but in the second half of Nāṣer-al-Dīn Shah’s reign some members of the Persian aristocracy subscribed to and read Aḵtar, which was published in Istanbul, and Qānūn, published in London by Mīrzā Malkom Khan. By the beginning of Moẓaffar-al-Dīn Shah’s reign (1313-24/1896-1907) the circulation of Persian-language newspapers printed abroad had increased, especially that of Ḥabl al-matīn, which was published in Calcutta. Ḥājī Zayn-al-ʿĀbedīn Taqīof, a philanthropic merchant in Baku, paid for 500 subscriptions of the paper to be sent directly to the Islamic clergy in Najaf (Browne, Press and Poetry, p. 25; Kasrawī, Mašrūṭa3, p. 42; cf. Ṣadr Hāšemī, Jarāʾed o majallāt II, p. 201). According to Moḥammad Ṣadr Hāšemī, the print run of Ḥabl al-matīn reached 35,000 copies shortly after the adoption of the Constitution, but this figure is probably ten times too high. When the Constitution was proclaimed in 1324/1906 there were already a number of newspapers being published in Persia, some of which had been established in the time of Nāṣer-al-Dīn Shah. Of those published in Tehran some were government publications (Īrān-e solṭānī, Eṭṭelāʿ, Šāhanšāhī); others, because of restrictions on political commentary, were limited primarily to ethical and literary topics (Tarbīat, Adab), religious subjects (Majmūʿa-ye aḵlāq), or technical matters (Falāḥat-e moẓaffarī). There were also provincial newspapers in Tabrīz (Kamāl, al-Ḥadīd) and Būšehr (Moẓaffarī, Ṭolūʿ). They were normally lithographed in print runs of about 500. Domestic news consisted mainly of official notices from the imperial court. A license was required to publish a newspaper legally, and usually it required the shah’s personal signature. Furthermore, the censorship office kept a close watch on all details of publication (Tārīḵ-e bīdārī, ed. Saʿīdī Sīrjānī, I, pp. 431-32). Nevertheless, around the beginning of the 20th century the editors of Adab, Ṭolūʿ, Tarbīat, Moẓaffarī, and several other organs made great efforts to awaken the Persian population politically by including translations of news and articles from foreign publications, which gradually began to have some influence. Noteworthy examples were Majd-al-Eslām Kermānī’s “Majles-e mabʿūṯān” (Assembly of delegates; Adab 160, 164; Tārīḵ-e bīdārī, ed. Saʿīdī Sīrjānī, I, p. 429) and articles translated from foreign newspapers by Moḥammad-Ḥosayn Forūḡī and published in Tarbīat. Generally, however, the rare articles about social reform that did appear in the Persian domestic press were written in such a veiled manner, filled with hints and allusions, that very few readers understood what the authors were driving at.

It was Persian-language newspapers published abroad, beyond the reach of court censors, that laid the foundations for the constitutional movement in Persia. Apart from Qānūn, Ḥabl al-matīn, and Aḵtar, there was also Parvareš, published in Cairo. Because the government usually prohibited importation of these newspapers into Persia (Ruz-nāma-ye rasmī 990, 10 Ḏu’l-qaʿda, 1318/1 March 1901), their direct influence was confined to the educated class and hardly touched the majority of the population. In addition, Turkish-language newspapers printed in the Caucasus had helped to disseminate new thinking and to encourage agitation for freedom, particularly in Azerbaijan. They included Eršād, Tāza ḥayāt, and Mollā Naṣr-al-Dīn; the last was particularly influential, for in it editorial opinion was clothed in verse and easily understood humorous anecdotes (Kasrawī, Mašrūṭa3, p. 194).

During the protest over the Tobacco Régie (q.v.) in 1309-10/1891-92 underground writings began to circulate in Persia, and the use of this medium gradually increased, becoming quite common toward the end of Moẓaffar-al-Dīn Shah’s reign, particularly during the administration of the antireform vizier ʿAyn-al-Dawla (Tārīḵ-e bīdārī, ed. Saʿīdī Sīrjānī, I, p. 46; Kohan, I, p. 141). Examples included Lesān al-ḡayb, issued by the Tehran secret society Anjoman-e serrī (Kohan, I, p. 220), and the mimeographed Ṣobḥ-nāma, also distributed in Tehran, both of them in clandestine circulation when the Constitution was proclaimed (Kohan, II, p. 22; Moḥīṭ Ṭabāṭabāʾī, p. 133).

Under Moẓaffar-al-Din Shah reformers had succeeded in establishing schools based on modernist ideas, and some of the principals sought permission to produce publications that would make them known and encourage parents and guardians to enroll their children. This trend began in Tabrīz, where Kamāl, Nāṣerī, ʿAdālat, Maʿrefat, and Parvareš were issued in this guise; similarly, in Tehran Mīrzā Ḥasan Rošdīya published Maktab, Nāẓem-al-Eslām Kermānī published Nowrūz, and Anjoman-e maʿāref published Maʿāref (Moḥīṭ Ṭabāṭabāʾī, p. 103).

Nevertheless, before the proclamation of the Constitution neither Persian-language newspapers published abroad nor domestic newspapers issued by the government or schools were effective in molding general public opinion, for the literate audience was small and people were not in the habit of reading newspapers, especially as the articles contained little useful or interesting information (Ādamīyat, pp. 386-87). In addition, some religious leaders considered such reading to be inadvisable or even sinful.

Among the statesmen of Moẓaffar-al-Dīn Shah’s reign only Amīn al-Dawla (q.v.) was prepared to admit foreign publications into the country; ʿAyn-al-Dawla and Atābak-e Aʿẓam Amīn-al-Solṭān strongly objected to these publications, however, and even to some extremely conservative and quasi-governmental domestic newspapers. ʿAyn-al-Dawla banned such nonpolitical publications as Adab, Nowrūz, and Moẓaffarī and ordered editors like Rošdīya, Mīrzā Ṣādeq Adīb-al-Mamālek, and Majd-al-Eslām Kermānī arrested and exiled (Tārīḵ-e bīdārī, ed. Saʿīdī Sīrjānī, I, pp. 427-31, II, p. 83; Ẓahīr-al-Dawla, p. 63; Ṣadr Hāšemī, Jarāʾed o majallāt I, p. 13; Majd-al-Eslām, p. 185).

During the years before the adoption of the Constitution the most effective means of molding public opinion was sermons in the mosques and at religious gatherings, for most of the population was accustomed to accepting the pronouncements of clerics as authoritative; any eloquent speaker could persuade hundreds of listeners to support justice and freedom and, by playing on their emotions, either incite them to rebellion and self-sacrifice or the opposite. It was in this way that reformist clerics like Sayyed Jamāl-al-Dīn Wāʿeẓ Eṣfahānī and Ḥājj Mīrzā Naṣr-Allāh Malek-al-Motakallemīn gained influence. Ideas could also be disseminated through public recitation of humorous verses about contemporary conditions, usually composed by obscure poets; such verses quickly became commonplaces even among children in the streets and marketplaces (Mostawfī, Šarḥ-e zendagānī I, p. 263). Finally, the mimeographed leaflets and underground publications, which were distributed free of charge, and telegraphic communications helped to keep people abreast of events.

Under the Constitution

Owing partly to the effect of the basts in the shrine of Shah ʿAbd-al-ʿAẓīm and the British embassy in Tehran (see ii, above) and partly to the influence of sermons by the progressive clergy, Persians in general had become more politically conscious by the time that the Constitution was adopted at the end of 1906. The press was also evolving to meet new conditions. The censorship system gradually collapsed, and perhaps for the first time in the history of Persia everyone was free to publish; a large number of individuals began to issue newspapers. In the first two years or so after adoption of the Constitution more than 150 newspapers and many more anonymous publications appeared (Moḥīṭ Ṭabāṭabāʾī, pp. 108, 129). On the other hand, familiar and uninspiring governmental and quasi-governmental newspapers lost their readers, to such an extent that Forūḡī ceased to publish the moderate Tarbīat in 1325/1907 (Moḥīṭ Ṭabāṭabāʾī, p. 181; Tarbīat, p. 434).

Early exercise of freedom. The new editors were driven by a variety of motives: to promote social change, to win personal prominence, or to pursue vendettas. Among them was the fourteen-year-old Sayyed Żīāʾ-al-Dīn Ṭabāṭabāʾī, who published Nedā-ye Eslām (Ṣadr Hāšemī, Jarāʾed o majallāt IV, p. 281). He claimed to serve as an orthodox religious guide in the political life of the nation. In fact, many newspaper editors in this initial period were semiliterate mullas, who had turned to journalism. As they were often unaware of the gulf between constitutional government and the authority of religious law, their writings were filled with contradictions. One of them claimed, for example, that “the government of Persia has been entirely constitutional since the time of Kayūmart” (Majles 1/65), another that “God has created man in the image of the constitution” (Tadayyon 3/11), and another that “most of the laws that seem new are religiously prescribed ordinances and ancient customs of this country; for example, the art of caricature is borrowed from our own Kalīla wa Demna and Alfīya Šalfīya (Naqš-e jahān 1, 23 Šawwāl 1325/29 November 1907, p. 1). Many newspapers were filled with spiritual rhetoric and poorly written love poems, prompting the president of the newly elected Majles, Saʿd-al-Dawla, to express the wish that such material might give way to articles that would acquaint the population with the constitutional arrangements, the power of the Majles, and the system of government (Majles 3/73).

In Isfahan Mīrzā Nūr-al-Dīn Majlesī, the editor of Faraj-e baʿd az šaddat, in an inaugural article, named more than twenty newspapers of the period from the establishment of the Majles to the end of 1324 (early 1907); about half of them published in Tabrīz, a third in Tehran, two in Isfahan, and one in Mašhad (Moḥīṭ Ṭabāṭabāʾī, p. 129); for 1325/1907 he counted seventy-two: forty-eight in Tehran, eight in Isfahan, seven in Rašt, three in Hamadān, and one each in Mašhad, Yazd, Shiraz, Kermānšāh, Urmia, and Anzalī (Moḥīṭ Ṭabāṭabāʾī, pp. 133-34). E. G. Browne considered the year 1325/1907 to be the crest of the wave for the Persian press, noting that eighty-four newspapers were published in that year (Press and Poetry, p. 161; see appendix, below). Most of these newspapers appeared in only one or two issues; by the end of 1325 (early 1908) the number of functioning newspapers in Tehran was down to about twenty, and there were approximately the same number of provincial newspapers (Nedā-ye waṭan 2/1, Ḏu’l-ḥejja 1325/5 January 1908, p. 2). Nevertheless, the editor of Čehranemā, a newspaper printed in Cairo, composed a poem incorporating the names of about eighty newspapers published in Persia in the year 1326/1908 (Čehranemā 5/1). Many of them were amateurishly written and edited, with meandering articles filled with contradictions and complaints about despotic oppression. It is clear that the readership and influence of many of these newspapers were limited to the editors’ families and acquaintances; many lasted no longer than a few weeks or a few issues—sometimes only one issue.

Most of the professional journalists of this period can be divided into two categories, radical reformers and moderates. The former were admirers of Western civilization and strongly opposed the power of the court and the unlimited influence of the clergy on the population, whom they considered an obstacle to reform. They can be classified generally as social democrats who had adopted the slogan “liberty, equality, fraternity” (ḥorīyat, barābarī, barādarī). They claimed to support Islam in its struggle against superstition and outworn notions (Ṣūr-e Esrāfīl 7-8, pp. 45). The nucleus of this group of journalists was drawn from Azerbaijan, for as Turkish speakers they were familiar with Caucasian newspapers (see above) and thus in closer contact with the outside world. Their writings were focused on religious despotism, challenging it in the guise of propagating modern sciences and combating superstition. Before the Constitutional Revolution they had normally circulated their views in underground publications.

The more moderate journalists included those who sought both a constitution and a parliament, on one hand, yet hoped to preserve the authority of Shiʿite law and tradition, on the other. Members of this group had little influence and few readers during the first two years of the constitutional period. The first newspaper to appear openly after the proclamation of the Constitution was Rūz-nāma-ye mellī (later called Anjoman), which appeared in Tabrīz on 1 Ramażān 1324/19 October 1906 (Ṣadr Hāšemī, Jarāʾed o majallāt I, p. 286); like the most successful newspapers in the capital, Ṣūr-e Esrāfīl, Mosāwāt, and Rūḥ al-qodos, it represented the reformist point of view.

The absence of laws regulating the press and especially widespread enthusiasm for freedom combined with inexperience produced a climate in which intemperate and defamatory writers flourished. Newspapers like Ṣūr-e Esrāfīl, Mosāwāt, and Rūḥ al-qodos were strongly opposed to Moḥammad-ʿAlī Shah (1324-27/1907-9). He was relentlessly attacked in their articles, and there was a clear attempt to take advantage of his unpopularity and exacerbate discord between him and the Majles. As these newspapers were supported by Sayyed Ḥasan Taqīzāda, it is conceivable that he personally encouraged, perhaps even instigated, their attacks on the court (see Taqīzāda’s speech in the Majles, 2 Šawwāl 1325/8 November 1907; Moḥīṭ Ṭabāṭabāʾī, p. 117). Some newspapers attacked the clergy with equal vigor and inveighed against religious elements who opposed reformist notions like civil equality for all citizens, the right of the people to influence legislation, the founding of modern schools, education of women, and freedom of publication.

The most intemperate publication was Rūḥ al-qodos, which was filled with denunciations of ranking court officers and representatives to the Majles (12). In one article the shah was compared with Louis XVI of France and threatened with death (13, 28 Ramażān 1325/5 November 1907; cf. Kasrawi, Mašrūṭa3, pp. 571-72, where a similar article is said to have been published in Mosāwāt). In others ʿAbbās Āqā, the murderer of Amīn-al-Solṭān, was declared to be on a par with the venerated Shiʿite imam ʿAlī b. Abī Ṭāleb (9); attacks on moderate journalists were mounted (14, 11 Šawwāl 1325/17 November 1907); and court procedures were mocked. The shah filed a complaint against the paper, and the editors responded by demanding that he be summoned to be heard before a court of law.

Mosāwāt was also outspoken in its attacks on the shah (Maḡīṯ-al-Salṭana, p. 197); for example in an article with the headline “Šāh dar če ḥāl ast?” (How is the shah doing?), the certainty of his defeat in his struggle with the nation was stressed (Mosāwāt 21, p. 5). In still another issue the honor of his mother was impugned. The shah was furious and initiated a lawsuit by one of the princes; it was settled through the mediation of the respected prince ʿAżod-al-Molk (q.v.; Dawlatābādī, Ḥayāt-e Yaḥyā II, p. 225-27; Kasrawī, Mašrūṭa3, p. 572).

Attempts at control. The constitutional government in Tehran attempted at first to counter attacks in the press by persuading journalists to adopt a more moderate stance. In the first incident the editor of Ṣūr-e Esrāfīl, Mīrzā Jahāngīr Khan Šīrāzī, was summoned to the office of the minister of education, Moḵbar-al-Salṭana Hedāyat, to discuss articles that had appeared in the first issue (17 Rabīʿ II 1325/30 May 1907); a courteous meeting took place, according to a report in the second issue. A month later, apparently because of attacks on the Islamic clergy, including accusations that some had taken bribes to ensure dissolution of the Majles and particularly that Shaikh Fażl-Allāh, the leading cleric of Tehran, had received 45,000 tomans from Moḵtār-al-Dawla and the Russian bank (5, 15 Jomādā I 1325/26 June 1907, pp. 1-4), the paper was banned for two months (after publication of 6, 22 Jomādā I 1325/3 July 1907). In the lead article of the first issue after the ban was lifted, apparently written by Taqīzāda (Dehḵodā, I, p. 395), and in several other articles a new defensive tactic was apparent: distinguishing between religion and worldly, demogogic mullas.

The second newspaper banned was the Tehran Ḥablal-matīn, ostensibly because it had printed the announcement of a lottery—forbidden by Islamic law—but more likely because of attacks on Russian interference in Persian politics and the granting of asylum to Ḥājj Moḥammad-Kāẓem Malek-al-Tojjār in the Russian embassy (70, 6 Jomādā II 1325/17 June 1907; 73, 10 Jomādā II 1325/23 June 1907). The apparent influence of the Russian government in having this ban imposed caused a great stir. All newspaper editors—even the editor of Majles, which printed the legislative proceedings—went on strike; as a gesture of solidarity they gathered in the offices of Ḥabl al-matīn and swore not to publish until the ban on the paper was lifted. The next day the printers in Tehran joined the strike (Ḥabl al-matīn 79, 21 Jomādā II 1325/1 August 1907). Sayyed Jamāl-al-Dīn Eṣfahānī, Malek-al-Motakallemīn, and other reformist preachers made rousing speeches, and the telegraph brought news of protests in every part of the country. Matters reached such a pitch that Moḵbar-al-Salṭana, in an address to the Majles (17 Jomādā II 1325/28 July 1907), called the ban an act of oppression; a week later it was rescinded.

Ṣūr-e Esrāfīl was soon in trouble again, owing to direct attacks on the obscurantism of the Islamic clergy and their opposition to reform. The editor argued that, as people are born free, they are entitled to lead their lives as they wish and that “the only request to be made of any religious or secular leader is that from now on it is not necessary for them to lead us toward future perfection by using force and coercion, but to allow us to choose individually, with absolute discretion, the nature of our lives for ourselves” (12-14). This argument was in sharp but subtle contrast to the views of many devout Muslims who believed that the Koran had provided for every aspect of human life and that deviation from religious law according to individual preference was not permissible (2, pp. 1-2). There was considerable commotion in theological colleges and among the clergy, and, although in the lead article of the next issue (no. 13) the author expressly attempted to assuage some of the opposition, the question “Did mankind fourteen centuries ago reach the limits of wisdom, and was truth completely revealed to him?” only increased the fury of the clergy; further explanation and clarification in the next issue (14) did not placate them, and the newspaper was banned for a month and a half.

The second ban on Ḥabl al-matīn was also imposed in the name of religious law, at the specific request of the society Anjoman-e Āl-e Moḥammad, which introduced a bill to this effect in the Majles. On 14 Ramażān 1325/21 October 1907 the deputy Ḥājī Sayyed Naṣr-Allāh declared, “We have convened this Majles in the name of the religious law,” indicating his unhappiness with the views expressed in Ḥabl al-matīn; on 19 Ramażān/26 October there were several appeals to the Majles to lift the ban.

On 29 Ramażān/5 November a lead article in Rūḥ al-qodos (13) led to its being banned and the trial of its publisher. Before conclusion of the trial the shah was persuaded by a petition from ʿAżod-al-Molk to issue a royal pardon and lift the ban. The transcript of the trial was printed when the newspaper resumed publication (14, 27 Ḏu’l-qaʿda 1325/1 January 1908, p. 3).

In December Ḥabl al-matīn was banned for a third time, having published detailed reports about the events in Tūp-ḵāna square (see ii, above) and the bastinadoing of Nāṣer-al-Molk at court (189 and 190, 19 and 20 Ḏu’l-qaʿda 1325/24 and 25 December 1907).

In the provinces the measures adopted by officials were often more severe. The governor of Rašt ordered the editor of Ḵayr al-kalām, Abu’l-Qāsem Afṣaḥ-al-Motakallemīn, beaten and imprisoned and forbade even the reading of the Majles proceedings (Moḥīṭ Ṭabāṭabāʾī, p. 177; Taqīzāda, p. 50); Sayyed Aḥmad Dehkordī, the editor of Nāma-ye ḥaqīqat, was so afraid of the authorities that he is said to have established his press in the hills (Ṣadr Hāšemī, Jarāʾed o majallāt IV, p. 270).

Growing influence of the press. The influence of the press on the Majles gradually increased (Moḥīṭ Ṭabāṭabāʾī, p. 118), and many people took to reading newspapers in preference to attending prayer meetings (Fażl-Allāh Nūrī, p. 330). Illiterate people and those who could not afford to buy newspapers gathered in coffeehouses to hear the articles read aloud (Tārīḵ-e bīdārī, ed. Saʿīdī Sīrjānī, II, p. 122). The phrase “the sacred press,” frequently repeated by constitutionalist preachers like Sayyed Jamāl-al-Dīn and Malek-al-Motakallemīn, caused some people to consider that buying and reading newspapers like Ṣūr-e Esrāfīl and Ḥabl al-matīn were meritorious acts that would be spiritually rewarded. ʿAlī-Akbar Dehḵodā told the story of one old man who came to pay for his subscription to Ṣūr-e Esrāfīl; as it was difficult for him to climb stairs, someone offered to take his money up and to bring him the receipt, but he declined, asking what would become of the spiritual reward he would gain by climbing the stairs (Ḡ.-ʿA. Raʿdī Āḏarakšī, personal communication).

From such episodes it became clear to the court that in the unstable conditions of the period banning newspapers was often inflammatory. Attempts by court officials to influence groups supporting the Constitution (Tārīḵ-e bīdārī, ed. Saʿīdī Sīrjānī, II, pp. 83, 109) and to win over moderate members of the Majles had achieved some success. Nevertheless, aware of the growing influence of newspapers and incensed at attacks on the shah, they also adopted two other approaches. First, they attempted to discredit the press by forging underground newspapers and handbills in the names of known reform groups, presenting “information” that representatives in the Majles and others eager for constitutional reform were Babis, materialists, and atheists seeking freedom to flout all religious law; this strategy was soon exposed, however (Ḥabl al-matīn 2/18; Kohan II, pp. 55, 307, 467; Nedā-ye waṭan 246; Ṣūr-e Esrāfīl 5, p. 3). The second strategy was to encourage organs of anticonstitutionalist opinion. Most of the new newspapers, whether revolutionary or moderate, favored political freedom and supported constitutional reform. The shah’s supporters in Tabrīz encouraged Mīrzā Aḥmad Baṣīrat to publish newspapers with the same names as the respected Etteḥād (edited by Moḥammad-ʿAlī Tarbīat) and Eslāmīya (edited by Mīrzā Abu’l-Qāsem Żīāʾ-al-ʿOlamāʾ) and also the Turkish-language Āy Mollā ʿAmū (Moḥīṭ Ṭabāṭabāʾī, p. 131; Kohan, II, pp. 69, 313). In Tehran the editors of Ādamīyat, Hedāyat, and Qājārīya were won over (Kohan, II, p. 109), but only eleven issues of Ādamīyat, four of Hedāyat, and one of Qājārīya appeared, which suggests that their editorial views were unpopular. Another loyalist newspaper, first issued on the shah’s birthday in 1326/1908, was Oqīānūs (see Moḥīṭ Ṭabāṭabāʾī, p. 118); its editors’ attempts to win popular support were unsuccessful, and people refused to accept copies that paperboys brought to their houses (Oqīānūs 6, 22 Jomādā I 1326/21 June 1908). The most successful anticonstitutional publications were, in fact, those issued by Shaikh Fażl-Allāh Nūrī in 1325/1907 from sanctuary in the shrine of Shah ʿAbd-al-ʿAẓīm, which were known collectively as Rūz-nāma-ye Šayḵ Fażl-Allāh (Shaikh Fażl-Allah’s newspaper; Kasrawī, Mašrūṭa3, pp. 409-23; Ṣadr Hāšemī, Jarāʾed o majallāt II, pp. 332-33).

Conservative reaction. The reforming intellectuals’ direct confrontation of traditional ideas was certain to provoke a reaction from the traditional clergy, among whom the most important and influential thinkers were Shaikh Fażl-Allāh Nūrī and Sayyed Kāẓem Yazdī. In fact, the episodes of suppression of newspapers frequently arose from religious disputes, for even political articles usually involved religious topics, counseling, for example, against the blind following of religious authority, attacking outmoded customs, and promoting social measures like land reform and workers’ rights that were inconsistent with Islamic legal doctrine on ownership and contracts (Ṣūr-e Esrāfīl, passim). The deputies in the First Majles, with very few exceptions, had no conception of the principles of constitutional government or the problem of reconciling constitutional and religious law. On this point the reformist religious leader Sayyed Moḥammad Ṭabāṭabāʾī could not support the social democrats and pronounced unequivocally: “With the founding of this parliament we are taking the bread from our own mouths.” Furthermore, Shiʿite religious leaders in the shrine city of Najaf, in Iraq, could support the constitutional movement only to the extent that the Majles refrained from measures that might undermine the authority of religious law. One contemporary complained that in the Majles “the clergy insist on the execution of the [secular] law and on holding sessions of the Majles, but I cannot understand how the clergy might insist on the execution of [such] law” (Maḡīṯ-al-Salṭana, p. 121).

In response to increasing press opposition to religious authority Shaikh Fażl-Allāh labeled supporters of constitutional reforms atheists, Bahais, Mazdakites, and apostates, sometimes simultaneously (Kasrawī, Mašrūṭa3, p. 417; see conspiracy theories). During the time he was in bast he prohibited the reading of newspapers and declared journalists to be heretics (Fażl-Allāh Nūrī, p. 330). His followers seized the opportunity presented by the demonstrations in Tūp-ḵāna square to tear down advertisements for newspapers and attack their offices (Ṣadr Hāšemī, Jarāʾed o majallāt II, p. 336). Furthermore, conservative clerics pressed Moḥammad-ʿAli Shah to ask the Majles to send the editors of Mosāwāt, Rūḥ al-qodos, and Ṣūr-e Esrāfīl into exile (Moḥīṭ Ṭabāṭabāʾī, p. 118).

In this atmosphere some journalists and newspaper editors felt obliged, from fear of influential mullas and popular disturbances, to compromise; for example, the magazine Tīātr (Theater), which published the texts of plays, carried in its first issue the disclaimer “The production of plays involves music and is in contradiction to religious law, and, as we are Muslims, thanks be to God, we consider it to be eternally prohibited” (Tīātr 1/1, 4 Rabīʿ I 1326/6 April 1908, p. 2). Even the veteran journalist Majd-al-Eslām Kermānī, in a leading article in the comic paper Kaškūl (5, 27 Rabīʿ I 1325/10 May 1907), expressed longing for an exceptional personality to take the country in hand.

In the end the conflicts between unrestrained journalists, on one side, and the government, elected representatives, and the conservative Shiʿite clergy, on the other, led in the autumn and winter of 1307-8 to extended debates in the Majles on a press law, which was passed on 5 Moḥarram 1326/10 February 1908. It was more libertarian than any subsequent press law in Persia, but at the time the most extreme reformers and journalists had hoped for more. Sayyed Moḥammad-Reżā Šīrāzī, the outspoken editor of Mosāwāt, produced a special issue (19, 3 Rabīʿ I 1326/7 February 1908), in which he praised the authorities in the manner of the court-controlled newspapers under Nāṣer-al-Dīn Shah, implying that the new law represented a return to the former repressive conditions.

Economics of newspaper publishing. Even after the adoption of the Constitution, with greater freedom of the press and politicization of the population, most newspapers were printed in no more than 500 copies, partly owing to limitations of the predominant lithographic process (Moḥīṭ Ṭabāṭabāʾī, p. 66). Normally only about 500 clear copies can be printed from each stone; in runs of 700-800 the later copies are blurred and often illegible. The extant copies of most newspapers from the years 1324-25/1907-8 now in public and private collections in Tehran are all clear and legible, suggesting that the print runs seldom surpassed 500 copies. It was difficult to sell even that many, and publishers often could not meet expenses from sales. The costliest items in the budgets were printing and paper; salaries for journalists and other employees were low (Tīātr 5, p. 2).

Newspapers printed from lead type, particularly those with a wide readership, like Majles, Ṣūr-e Esrāfīl, Ḥabl al-matīn, Mosāwāt, and Ṣobḥ-e ṣādeq, were in a less precarious position (Ṣūr-e Esrāfīl 15, p. 7). According to Browne, the print run for Majles was 7,000-10,000 (cf. Mostawfī, Šarḥ-e zendagānī II, p. 249: 24,000), that for Ṣūr-e Esrāfīl about 5,500, and that for Mosāwāt 3,000 (Press and Poetry, p. 25). The common format in this period was usually a half-sheet about 35 x 22.5 cm, with four, occasionally eight, two-column pages.

Judging by its print runs, Ṣūr-e Esrāfīl was one of the most popular, perhaps the most popular, newspaper of the time. Its success was chiefly owing to Dehḵodā’s caustic and satirical column “Čarand parand”; without indulging in the invective and personal attacks characteristic of Rūḥ al-qodos and Mosāwāt, Dehḵodā was able to deflate the court and the conservative clergy with his lively wit. The rest of the eight pages of Ṣūr-e Esrāfīl were generally filled with six or seven varied and serious articles, in contrast to most newspapers, which were entirely filled with the editors’ lead articles. Furthermore, the controversy generated by the repeated banning of the paper also benefited its circulation.

Ḥabl al-matīn and Ṣobḥ-e ṣādeq also provided varied and well-written articles. Mosāwāt and Rūḥ al-qodos attracted readers with their attacks on the court, and Nedā-ye waṭan carried popular cartoons, but none could match the popularity of Dehḵodā’s column.

Only a few newspapers, including Ḥabl al-matīn, Ṣūr-e Esrāfīl, Mosāwāt, Ṣobḥ-e ṣādeq, and Nedā-ye waṭan, were written in simple, clear prose. Most journalists of this period were poorly educated mullas, who considered simple prose vulgar and preferred to indulge in poetic and rhetorical flourishes. The editor of Baladīya-ye Eṣfahān wrote his first lead article in the style of the introduction to Saʿdī’s Golestān. The masthead of al-Janāb included an abstruse passage, and the lead article of the first issue was a prayer filled with erroneous Arabic expressions (1, 20 Šawwāl 1324/9 December 1906, p. 1). Although the editor of Eṣfahān wrote that “the common people must read newspapers,” adding that the age of ornate and pompous prose was over, he himself used tedious chains of synonyms and unnecessary rhetorical tropes (1, p. 1). Most of the journalists of the period wrote in an arabicized style, reflecting their religious training, based on the Koran and Arabic textbooks like Jāmʿ al-moqaddamāt. Even when writing in Persian they would often, from force of habit, place the verb at the beginning of the sentence, as in Arabic.


F. Ādamīyat, Andīša-ye taraqqī wa ḥokūmat-e qānūn. ʿAṣr-e Sepah-sālār, Tehran, 1351 Š./1973.

Ketāb-e ābī, ed. A. Bašīrī, I, Tehran, 1362 Š./1983.

G. Kohan, Tārīḵ-e sānsūr dar maṭbūʿāt-e Īrān, 2 vols., Tehran, 1363 Š./1984.

Y. Maḡīṯ-al-Salṭana, Nāmahā-ye Yūsof-e Maḡīṯ-al-Salṭana, ed. M. Neẓām Māfī, Tehran, 1362 Š./1983.

Majd-al-Eslām Aḥmad Kermānī, Tārīḵ-e enḥelāl-e Majles, ed. M. Ḵalīlpūr, Isfahan, 1351 Š./1972.

Moḏākarāt-e Majles. Dawra-ye awwal-e taqīnīya, Tehran, 1325 Š./1946.

M. Moḥīṭ Ṭabāṭabāʾī, Tārīḵ-e taḥlīlī-e maṭbūʿāt, Tehran, 1365 Š./1986.

Shaikh Fażl-Allāh Nūrī, Rasāʾel, eʿlāmīyahā, maktūbāt wa rūz-nāma-ye šayḵ-e šahīd Fażl-Allāh Nūrī, ed. M. Torkamān, I, Tehran, 1362 Š./1983.

E. Rāʾīn, Ḥoqūq-begīran-e engelīs dar Īrān, Tehran, 1347 Š./1968.

Ḥ. Taqīzāda, Awrāq-e tāzayāb-e mašrūṭīyat, ed. Ī. Afšār, Tehran, 1359 Š./1980.

M.-ʿA. Tarbīat, Maqālāt-e Tarbīat, ed. Ḥ. Ṣadīq, Tehran, 2535=1355 Š./1976.

Mīrzā ʿAlī Khan Qājār Ẓahīr-al-Dawla, Ḵāṭerāt wa asnād-e Ẓahīr-al-Dawla, ed. Ī. Afšār, Tehran, 1348 Š./1969.

(ʿAlī-Akbar Saʿīdī Sīrjānī)


The following partial list of newspapers published during the Constitutional Revolution is arranged by date of initial publication. Information is listed in the following order: title, with city of publication; name of publisher when known. The following abbreviations are used; for those works preceded by *, see “Short References and Abbreviations of Books and Periodicals” in the frontmatter to the volumes.


Az Ṣaba tā Nīmā


*Browne, Press and Poetry


*Dawlatābādī, Ḥayāt-e Yaḥyā


E. Faḵrāʾī, Gīlān dar jonbeš-e mašrūṭīyat, Tehran, 2536=1356 Š./1977


*Kasrawī, Mašrūṭa3


G. Kohan, Tārīḵ-e sānsūr dar maṭbūʿāt-e Īrān, 2 vols., Tehran, 1363 Š./1984


Majd-al-Eslām Aḥmad Kermānī, Tārīḵ-e enḥelāl-e Majles, ed. M. Ḵalīlpūr, Isfahan, 1351 Š./1972

Moḥīṭ Ṭabāṭabāʾī

Moḥīṭ Ṭabāṭabāʾī, Tārīḵ-e taḥlīlī-e maṭbūʿāt, Tehran, 1365 Š./1986


*Mostawfī, Šarḥ-e zendagānī

Ṣadr Hāšemī

*Ṣadr Hāšemī, Jarāʾed o majallāt


M. Solṭānī, Fehrest-e rūz-nāmahā-ye fārsī dar majmūʿa-ye Ketāb-ḵāna-ye markazī wa markaz-e asnād-e Dānešgāh-e Tehrān, marbūṭ be sālhā-ye 1267-e qamarī tā 1320-e šamsī, Tehran, 1354 Š./1975

Solṭānī, 1356 Š./1977

M. Solṭānī, Fehrest-e majallahā-ye fārsī az ebtedā tā sāl-e 1320-e šamsī, Tehran, 2536=1356 Š./1977


Ḥ. Taqīzāda, Awrāq-e tāzayāb-e mašrūṭīyat, ed. Ī. Afšār, Tehran, 1359 Š./1980


*Tārīḵ-e bīdārī, ed. Saʿīdī Sīrjānī


Mīrzā ʿAlī Khan Qājār Ẓāhīr-al-Dawla, Ḵāṭerāt wa asnād-e Ẓahīr-al-Dawla, ed. Ī. Afšār, Tehran, 1348 Š./1969

Before the royal decree granting constitutional government in 1325/1906


ʿAdālat (Tabrīz).

Dabestān (Tabrīz), Mīrzā Reżā Khan Parvareš, principal of Parvareš school (Browne, no. 169; Kohan, II, p. 69; Ṣadr Hāšemī, II, p. 277).

Daʿwat al-ḥaqq (Tehran), Moḥammad-ʿAlī Dezfūlī Bahjat (Kohan, II, p. 59; Ṣadr Hāšemī, II, p. 288; Tārīḵ I, p. 651).

Eṭṭelāʿ (Tehran), Moḥammad-Bāqer Khan Eʿtemād-al-Salṭana (Browne, no. 53; Kohan, II, p. 37; Ṣadr Hāšemī, I, p. 194; Tārīḵ, I, pp. 514, 560).

Falāḥat-e moẓaffarī (Tehran), College of agriculture (Browne, no. 267).

al-Ḥadīd (Tabrīz), Sayyed Ḥosayn Khan Tabrīzī (Browne, no. 139; Kasrawī, p. 40; Kohan, I, p. 183; Moḥīṭ Ṭabāṭabāʾī, p. 162; Ṣadr Hāšemī, I, p. 252).

Ḥefẓ al-ṣeḥḥa (Tehran), Moʾaddeb-al-Dawla ʿAlī-Akbar Nafīsī (Ṣadr Hāšemī, II, pp. 219-22).

Īrān-e solṭānī (Tehran), Moḥammad Nadīm-al-Solṭān and Afżal-al-Molk (Ṣadr Hāšemī, pp. 305-15; Browne, pp. 88-90).

Majmūʿa-ye aḵlāq (Tehran), ʿAlī-Akbar Khan “Šeydā” (Browne, no. 305; Kohan, II, p. 37; Ṣadr Hāšemī, III, p. 190; Solṭānī, 1356 Š./1977, p. 105).

Maktab (Tehran), Mīrzā Ḥasan Rošdīya (Browne, no. 334; Ṣadr Hāšemī, IV, p. 226; Tārīḵ I, p. 431). Moẓaffarī (Būšehr), ʿAbd-al-Majīd Khan Ṯaqafī Matīn-al-Salṭana (Browne, no. 322; Kohan, I, p. 19, II, p. 59; Moḥīṭ Ṭabāṭabāʾī, p. 131; Ṣadr Hāšemī, I, p. 13, IV, p. 212).

Omīd (Tabrīz), students at the Loqmānīya school (Browne, no. 62; Kasrawī, p. 269; Kohan, I, p. 68; Moḥīṭ Ṭabāṭabāʾī, p. 131).

Šāhanšāhī (Tehran), ʿAbd-al-Ḥosayn Khan Malek-al-Mowarreḵīn (Browne, no. 216; Kohan, II, p. 37; Ṣadr Hāšemī, III, pp. 56-57; Tārīḵ I, p. 651).

Ṣobḥ-nāma-ye mellī (Tehran), Moḥammad-Reżā Šīrāzī, later known as Mosāwāt (Browne, no. 236; Kohan, II, pp. 24, 75-77, 89; Moḥīṭ Ṭabāṭabāʾī, p. 133; Ṣadr Hāšemī, III, p. 106; Ẓāhīr-al-Dawla, pp. 247, 274, 277).

Tarbīat (Tehran), Moḥammad-Ḥosayn Forūḡī Ḏokāʾ-al-Molk (Browne, no. 102; Ṣadr Hāšemī, II, pp. 116-24).

Ṯorayyā (Tehran), Faraj-Allāh Kāšānī (Browne, no. 114; Ṣadr Hāšemī, II, pp. 151-58; Tārīḵ II, p. 651).

1325/1906-7 (after the royal decree)

ʿAdl-e moẓaffarī (Hamadān), from issue 21 Ekbātān (See ʿadl-e moẓaffar).

Anjoman (Tabrīz).

Anjoman-e Eṣfahān (Isfahan).

Anjoman-e oḵowwat (Tehran), Mīrzā Ebrāhīm (Tārīḵ I, p. 651; Ẓāhīr-al-Dawla, p. 273).

Āzād (Tabrīz), Reżā Tarbīat and Maḥmūd Ašrafzāda (Browne, no. 6; Kasrawī, p. 269; Ṣadr Hāšemī, I, p. 141).

Bešārat (Mašhad), Shaikh Moḥammad-ʿAlī (Browne, no. 83; Ṣadr Hāšemī, II, p. 16).

Dāneš (?), Moʿtamed-al-Eslām Raštī (Tārīḵ I, p. 652).

Eblāḡ (Tabrīz), Maḥmūd Eskandānī (Browne, no. 22; Kohan, II, p. 69; Moḥīṭ Ṭabāṭabāʾī, p. 131; Ṣadr Hāšemī, I, pp. 43-44).

ʿEbrat (Tabrīz; Browne, no. 250).

Eslamīya (Tabrīz; constitutionalist), Abu’l-Qāsem Żīāʾ-al-ʿOlamāʾ (Kasrawī, p. 263; Ṣadr Hāšemī, I, p. 170).

Eslamīya (Tabrīz; anticonstitutionalist), Mīrzā Aḥmad Baṣīrat (Browne, no. 47; Kohan, II, p. 68; Ṣadr Hāšemī, I, p. 170).

Etteḥād (Tabrīz, constitutionalist), Abu’l-Qāsem Żīāʾ-al-ʿOlamāʾ (Kohan, II, pp. 59, 313; Moḥīṭ Ṭabāṭabāʾī, p. 131).

Etteḥād (Tabrīz, anticonstitutionalist), Mīrzā Aḥmad Baṣīrat (Browne, no. 23; Kohan, II, p. 69, 313; Moḥīṭ Ṭabāṭabāʾī, p. 131; Ṣadr Hāšemī, I, p. 44).

Etteḥād-e mellī (Tabrīz; Kasrawī, p. 269).

Farvardīn (Urmia; Kasrawī, pp. 270, 278; Kohan, II, pp. 581, 603; Ṣadr Hāšemī, IV, p. 70).

Ḥayya ʿala’l-falāḥ (Tehran; Kasrawī, p. 273).

al-Janāb (Isfahan), Mīr Sayyed ʿAlī Janāb (Browne, no. 126; Ṣadr Hāšemī, I, p. 245).

Jarīda-ye mellī (Tabrīz; see anjoman).

Maʿāref (Tehran), Shaikh Moḥammad-ʿAlī Bahjat-e Dezfūlī (Browne, no. 326; Kohan, II, pp. 373-74; Tārīḵ I, p. 651).

Majles (Tehran), Sayyed Moḥammad-Ṣādeq Ṭabāṭabāʾī (Kasrawī, p. 273; Kohan, II, p. 54; Moḥīṭ Ṭabāṭabāʾī, p. 109; Ẓahīr-al-Dawla, p. 280; Ṣadr Hāšemī, IV, pp. 183-88).

Meṣbāḥ (Tabrīz), Abu’l-Qāsem Tabrīzī (Browne, no. 320; Kohan, II, pp. 68, 90, 315; Moḥīṭ Ṭabāṭabāʾī, p. 131; Ṣadr Hāšemī, IV, p. 211).

Nedā-ye Eslām (Shiraz), Sayyed Żīāʾ-al-Dīn Ṭabāṭabāʾī (Browne, no. 351; Kasrawī, p. 273; Moḥīṭ Ṭabāṭabāʾī, p. 163; Ṣadr Hāšemī, IV, p. 281).

Nedā-ye waṭan (Tehran), Majd-al-Eslām (Browne, no. 352; Ṣadr Hāšemī, IV, p. 288; Tārīḵ II, p. 33).

Oḵowwat (Tabrīz), Mīrzā Aḥmad Baṣīrat (Browne, no. 34; Ṣadr Hāšemī, I, p. 75).

Rūz-nāma-ye mellī (Tabrīz; see anjoman).

Ṣerāṭ al-mostaqīm (Tabrīz; Ṣadr Hāšemī, III, p. 126).

Tamaddon (Tehran), Modabber-al-Mamālek Harandī (Solṭānī, p. 43).

Waṭan (Tehran), ʿAbd-al-Ḥosayn Khan Malek-al-Mowarreḵīn (Browne, no. 362; Kohan, II, pp. 67, 186; Moḥīṭ Ṭabāṭabāʾī, p. 131; Tārīḵ I, p. 651; Solṭānī, pp. 156-57).



Āḏarbāyjān (Tabrīz; see āḏarbāyjān).

Āgāhī (Tehran; Browne, no. 16).

Āʾīna-ye ḡaybnomā.

Anjoman-e aṣnāf (Tehran), Sayyed Moṣṭafā Tehrānī (Browne, no. 65; Kohan, II, pp. 109, 359).

Anjoman-e baladīya (Isfahan; see baladǰya).

Anjoman-e Šūrā-ye baladī (see Šūrā-ye baladī).

Anjoman-e walāyatī-e Gīlān (Rašt), Dabīr-al-Mamālek (Browne, no. 69; Faḵrāʾī, p. 278).

Anṣār (see Ganjīna-ye anṣār).


Baladīya-ye Eṣfahān (Isfahan; see baladǰya)


Baṣīrat (Tehran; Browne, no. 84).

Bīdārī (Tehran), Fatḥ-al-Mamālek (Browne, n. 91; Solṭānī, p. 32).

Bīsotūn (Kermānšāh), Ṣadīq Daftar (Ṣadr Hāšemī, II, pp. 41-42).

Ekbātān (Hamadān; see ʿadl-e moẓaffar).

ʿElmāmūz (Tehran; Browne, no. 257; Ṣadr Hāšemī, IV, p. 38) or Ḥelmāmūz, Jaʿfar Khan Kermānī (Kasrawī, pp. 273-74; Tārīḵ I, p. 652).

Enṣāf (Tehran), Ḥājī Sayyed Esmāʿīl Solṭān-al-Maddāḥīn Kermānšāhī (the year 1326 given in Browne, no. 74, and Ṣadr Hāšemī, I, p. 298 is incorrect; see Solṭānī, p. 21).

Ensānīyat (Tehran), organ of Anjoman-e ensānīyat (Browne, no. 72).

ʿErāq-e ʿajam (Tehran), Moḥammad-Ṣādeq Adīb-al-Mamālek Farāhānī (Browne, no. 253; Kohan, II, p. 106; Moḥīṭ Ṭabāṭabāʾī, p. 139; Ṣadr Hāšemī, IV, p. 11; Tārīḵ I, p. 651).

Eṣfahān (Isfahan), Ḥosayn Eʿtelaʾ-al-Dawla (Moḥīṭ Ṭabāṭabāʾī, p. 179; Ṣadr Hāšemī, I, p. 180).

Estebdād (Tehran), Shaikh Mahdī Qomī Šayḵ-al-Mamālek (Majd-al-Eslām, p. 175; Moḥīṭ Ṭabāṭabāʾī, p. 145; Ṣadr Hāšemī, I, pp. 153-55; Tārīḵ I, p. 652, Solṭānī, 1356 Š./1977, pp. 10-11; Browne, no. 301 ).

Etteḥād (Tehran), Moʿtamed-al-Eslām Raštī (Browne, no. 24; Tārīḵ I, p. 652).

Etteḥādīya-ye saʿādat (Tehran; Browne, no. 27; Kohan, II, p. 109; Ṣadr Hāšemī, I, p. 50).

Faraj-e baʿd az šaddat (Isfahan; see baladǰya).

Farhang (Tehran), Mortażā Šarīf Eʿteżād-al-ʿOlamāʾ (Browne, no. 263; Moḥīṭ Ṭabāṭabāʾī, p. 143).

Faryād (Urmia), Ḥabīb Orūmīya Āqāzāda (Browne, no. 264; Kasrawī, p. 270; Moḥīṭ Ṭabāṭabāʾī, p. 176; Ṣadr Hāšemī, IV, pp. 78-80).

Fawāyed-e ʿāmma (Tehran), Moḥammad-Yūsof Khan Sardār-e Mohājer Heravī (Browne, no. 268; Moḥīṭ Ṭabāṭabāʾī, p. 144; Ṣadr Hāšemī, IV, p. 93; Solṭānī, pp. 121-22).

Ganj-e šāyegān (Tehran; Browne, no. 290).

Ganjīna-ye anṣār (Isfahan), Ṣadr-al-Odabāʾ Ḥasan Anṣārī (Browne, no. 73; Tārīḵ I, p. 653; Ṣadr Hāšemī, IV, pp. 165-67).

Golestān (Rašt), Moḥammad-Ḥosayn Raʾīs-al-Tojjār (Browne, no. 288; Ṣadr Hāšemī, IV, p. 160; Ẓahīr-al-Dawla, p. 277).

Golestān-e saʿādat (Tehran), Mīrzā Naṣr-Allāh (Browne, no. 289; Ṣadr Hāšemī, IV, p. 162).Ḥabl al-matīn (Tehran), Sayyed Ḥasan Kāšānī (Browne, no. 137; Kasrawī, pp. 275-77; Ṣadr Hāšemī, II, pp. 208-13).

Hamadān (Hamadān), Ḥājj Ḥosayn (Browne, no. 367; Ṣadr Hāšemī, IV, p. 340).

Ḥaqīqat (Tehran; see Nāma-ye ḥaqīqat).

Ḥarf-e ḥaqq (Tabrīz), Sayyed Neʿmat-Allāh Eṣfahānī (Browne, no. 141; Ṣadr Hāšemī, II, p. 214).

Hawā wa hawas (Lāhījān), Hājjī Ḥosayn (Browne, no. 368).

Hedāyat (Tehran), Moḥammad Ṭehrānī (Browne, no. 365; Moḥīṭ Ṭabāṭabāʾī, p. 144).

Ḥelmāmūz (see ʿElmāmūz).

Ḥoqūq (Tehran), Solaymān Mīrzā Eskandarī (Browne, no. 145; Kohan, II, pp. 110, 219; Moḥīṭ Ṭabāṭabāʾī, pp. 117, 143; Ṣadr Hāšemī, II, p. 223).

Jafang mafang (Tehran), published by Ṣūr-e Esrāfīl (Tārīḵ I, p. 652).

Jahānārā (Tehran), Mīrzā ʿAbbās Khan and Mīrzā Solaymān Khan (Browne, no. 130).

Jām-e jam (Tehran), Sayyed Reżā Rażawī (Browne, no. 118; Kohan, II, p. 108; Ṣadr Hāšemī, II, pp. 161-62).

al-Jamāl (Tehran), Moḥammad-Ḥosayn Eṣfahānī (Browne, no. 124; Kasrawī, p. 273; Kohan, II, pp. 165, 384; Moḥīṭ Ṭabāṭabāʾī, p. 140; Ṣadr Hāšemī II, pp. 248-52).

Jehād-e akbar (Isfahan), ʿAlī Āqā Ḵorāsānī (Browne, no. 129; Ṣadr Hāšemī, II, pp. 178-80).

Kāšef-al-ḥaqāyeq (Rašt), Ḥabīb-Allāh Gāspādīn (Lārūdī); only one issue published (Browne, no. 276; Faḵrāʾī, p. 279).

Kaškūl (Tehran), Majd-al-Eslām Kermānī (Kohan, II, p. 63; Moḥīṭ Ṭabāṭabāʾī, p. 218; Ṣadr Hāšemī, IV, pp. 135-37; Tārīḵ II, p. 399).

Kawkab-e dorrī (Tehran), Nāẓem-al-Eslām Kermānī (Browne, no. 286; Moḥīṭ Ṭabāṭabāʾī, p. 141; Ṣadr Hāšemī, IV, pp. 150-51; Tārīḵ II, p. 83).

Ḵayr al-kalām (Rašt), Abu’l-Qāsem Afṣaḥ-al-Motakallemīn (Browne, no. 162; Kohan, II, pp. 283, 598; Moḥīṭ Ṭabāṭabāʾī, p. 177; Ṣadr Hāšemī, II, p. 260; Faḵrāʾī, pp. 198-200, 204-6).

Kelīd-e sīāsī (Tehran), Moḥammad-Yūsof Khan Sardār-e Mohājer Heravī (Browne, no. 282; Moḥīṭ Ṭabāṭabāʾī, p. 144; Ṣadr Hāšemī, IV, p. 140).

Ḵorram (Tehran), Ḥājj Mīr Ḥosayn (Browne, no. 156; Kasrawī, p. 273; Kohan, II, p. 109; Ṣadr Hāšemī, II, p. 245).

Ḵoršīd (Mašhad), Moḥammad-Ṣādeq Tabrīzī (Ṣadr Hāšemī, II, pp. 251-53).

Madī (Tehran), Shaikh ʿAbd-al-ʿAlī Moʿbad (Browne, no. 312; Ṣadr Hāšemī, IV, p. 197).

Majalla-ye estebdād (Tehran; see Estebdād).

Maʿrefat (Yazd), Shaikh Abu’l-Qāsem Efteḵār-al-ʿOlamāʾ (Browne, no. 329; Ṣadr Hāšemī, IV, pp. 226-27).

Mašrūṭa-ye bī-qānūn (Tehran; Browne, no. 319).

Mašwarat (Tehran; Browne, no. 318).

Moʾayyad (Lāhījān; Browne, no. 335).

Moḥākamāt (Tehran), Majd-al-Eslām Kermānī (Kohan, II, p. 296; Ṣadr Hāšemī, IV, p. 192).

Mojāhed (Tabrīz), Sayyed Abu’l-Żīāʾ Moḥammad Šabastarī (Āryanpūr, II, p. 23; Browne, no. 297; Kasrawi, p. 497; Moḥīṭ Ṭabāṭabāʾī, p. 142; Ṣadr Hāšemī, IV, p. 183).

Mojāhed (Rašt; Browne, no. 298; Faḵrāʾī, p. 279).

Mosāwāt (Tehran), Sayyed Moḥammad-Reżā Šīrāzī, Mosāwāt (Browne, no. 316; Moḥīṭ Ṭabāṭabāʾī, pp. 128, 133; Mostawfī, II, p. 249; Ṣadr Hāšemī, IV, pp. 205- 08).

Nāma-ye ḥaqīqat (Isfahan), Sayyed Aḥmad Dehkordī (Browne, no. 147; Kohan, II, p. 102; Ṣadr Hāšemī, IV, pp. 268-71).

Naqš-e jahān (Isfahan), Eʿtelāʾ-al-Dawla (Browne, no. 356; Ṣadr Hāšemī, IV, pp. 308-9).

Nasīm-e šemāl (Rašt), Ašraf Gīlānī (Browne, no. 354; Ṣadr Hāšemī, IV, pp. 295-301).

Nayyer-e aʿẓam (Tehran), ʿAbd-al-Wahhāb Moʿīn-al-ʿOlamāʾ Eṣfahānī (Browne, no. 361; Ṣadr Hāšemī, IV, pp. 325-27; Moḥīṭ Ṭabāṭabāʾī, p. 119).

Nedā-ye Eslām (Shiraz), Sayyed Żīāʾ-al-Dīn Ṭabāṭabāʾī (Browne, no. 351; Ṣadr Hāšemī, IV, p. 281).

Nowrūz (Isfahan; Browne, no. 359).

Olfat (Hamadān), Sayyed Moḥammad Yūsofzāda “Gāmām” Hamadānī (Moḥīṭ Ṭabāṭabāʾī, p. 179; Ṣadr Hāšemī, I, p. 266).

Orwa al-woṭqā (Tehran), Moḥammad-Ṣādeq Tehrānī (Browne, no. 254; Moḥīṭ Ṭabāṭabāʾī, p. 144; Ṣadr Hāšemī, IV, p. 17; Tārīḵ II, p. 357; Solṭānī, p. 115).

Qājārīya (Tehran), organ of the Qajar princes (Ṣadr Hāšemī, IV, pp. 94-96).

Qāsem al-aḵbār (Tehran), Abu’l-Qāsem Hamadānī (Browne, no. 271; Moḥīṭ Ṭabāṭabāʾī, p. 144; Ṣadr Hāšemī, IV, p. 96).

Rahnemā (Tehran), ʿAbd-al-Raḥīm Šīrāzī (Kohan, II, p. 109; Moḥīṭ Ṭabāṭabāʾī, p. 141; Ṣadr Hāšemī, II, pp. 334-37; Tārīḵ I, p. 652).

Rūḥ al-qodos (Tehran), Solṭān-al-ʿOlamāʾ Ḵorāsānī (Browne, no. 179; Ṣadr Hāšemī, IV, pp. 323-26); repr. Tehran, 1363 Š./1984.

Rūz-nāma-ye Šayḵ Fażl-Allāh (Tehran), Shaikh Fażl-Allāh Nūrī; repr. in M. Torkamān, ed., Rasāʾel, eʿlāmīyahā, maktūbāt wa rūz-nāmahā-ye Šayḵ Fażl-Allāh Nūrī I, Tehran, 1362 Š./1983, pp. 231-368; repr. and ed. H. Reżwānī as Lawāyeḥ-e Āqā Šayḵ Fażl-Allāh Nūrī, Tehran, 1362 Š./1983.

Saʿādat (Hamadān), Moḥammad-Taqī (Browne, no. 207).

Safīna-ye najāt (Yazd; Browne, no. 209; Kohan, II, p. 628; Ṣadr Hāšemī, III, pp. 43-46).

Sāḥel-e najāt (Anzalī), Afṣah-al-Motakallemīn (Browne, no. 20; Kohan, II, p. 326; Ṣadr Hāšemī, III, pp. 14-15; cf. Taqīzāda, pp. 48, 499-501; Faḵrāʾī, p. 267).

Šajara-ye ḵabīsa-ye kofr, šajara-ye ṭayyeba-ye īmān (Browne, no. 218).

Salām ʿalaykom (Tehran; Browne, no. 211).

Šams-e ṭāleʿ (Tehran; Browne, no. 228).

Ṣeḥḥat (Tehran), Ṣeḥḥat-al-Dawla (Browne, no. 237; Solṭānī, 1356 Š./1977, p. 75).

Ṣerāṭ al-mostaqīm (Tehran), Šams-al-Wāʿeẓīn Kāšānī (Browne, no. 243; Moḥīṭ Ṭabāṭabāʾī, p. 144; Ṣadr Hāšemī, III, p. 126; Solṭānī, pp. 105-6).

Setāra-ye saḥarī (Tabrīz; M.-ʿA. Tarbīat, Maqālāt-e Tarbīat, ed. Ḥ. Ṣadīq, Tehran, 2535=1355 Š./1976, p. 122).

Ṣobḥ-e ṣādeq (Tehran), Mortażāqolī Moʾayyed-al-Mamālek (Kasrawī, p. 275; Kohan, II, pp. 90, 103, 224, 569; Moḥīṭ Ṭabāṭabāʾī, p. 117; Ṣadr Hāšemī, III, pp. 102-5).

Sorūš (Rašt; Browne, no. 204).

Ṣūr-e Esrāfīl (Tehran), Jahāngīr Khan Šīrāzī, Qāsem Khan Tabrīzī, and ʿAlī-Akbar Dehḵodā (Browne, no. 244; Ṣadr Hāšemī, III, pp. 129-43); repr. Tehran, 1362 Š./1983.

Šūrā-ye baladī (Tehran), Moʿtamad-al-Eslām Raštī (Browne, no. 230; Solṭānī, pp. 19-20).

Tadayyon (Tehran), Mollā Ṣādeq Faḵr-al-Eslām (Browne, no. 101; Moḥīṭ Ṭabāṭabāʾī, p. 139; Ṣadr Hāšemī, II, pp. 113-14; Tārīḵ I, p. 651).

Tafakkor (Tehran), Nāẓem-al-Ḏākerīn Nāʾīnī (Browne, no. 105).

Tanbīh (Tehran), Ebrāhīm Moʿtażed-al-Aṭebbāʾ (Browne, no. 109; Kohan, II, pp. 111, 616; Moḥīṭ Ṭabāṭabāʾī, p. 218; Tārīḵ I, p. 651; Ṣadr Hāšemī, II, p. 141; Solṭānī, p. 44).

Taraqqī (Tehran), Moḥammad-ʿAlī Ṭehrānī Eslāmbolī (Browne, no. 103; Kohan, II, p. 227; Moḥīṭ Ṭabāṭabāʾī, p. 139; Ṣadr Hāšemī, II, p. 124; Solṭānī, p. 41).

Ṭarīqat al-falāḥ (Tehran; Browne, no. 246).

Tašwīq (Tehran), Mīrzā Reżā Khan Mostawfī and Sayyed ʿAlī Ṭabāṭabāʾī (Browne, no. 104; Kohan, II, p. 109; Ṣadr Hāšemī, II, pp. 127-28).

Zešt o zībā (Tehran), Fatḥ-al-Mamālek and Neẓām-al-Eslām Behbahānī (Browne, no. 199; Ṣadr Hāšemī, III, p. 11; Solṭānī, p. 88).


Āmūzgār (Tehran), Shaikh ʿAlī ʿErāqī (Browne, no. 17; Ṣadr Hāšemī, I, p. 275; Tārīḵ II, p. 132).

Āy Mollā ʿAmū (Tabrīz), Mīrzā Aḥmad Baṣīrat (Browne, no. 21; Kohan, II, p. 330; Ṣadr Hāšemī, IV, p. 236).

Āzādī če čīz ast (Tehran; Browne, no. 10).

Barg-e sabz (Ardabīl), Āqā Mīr Aḥmad (Browne, no. 82) and Fażl-Allāh Šayḵ-al-Eslām-zāda (Ṣadr Hāšemī, II, p. 14).

Dabīrīya (Rašt), Dabīr-al-Mamālek (Browne, no. 170; Faḵrāʾī, p. 279).

Ešrāq (Tehran; Browne, no. 48).

Ettefāq (Arāk), Mīrzā Ḥabīb-Allāh ʿAkkās-bāšī (Ṣadr Hāšemī, I, p. 53).

Etteḥād (Tabrīz), Moḥammad-ʿAlī Tarbīat (Browne, no. 34; Kasrawī, pp. 572-73; Ṣadr Hāšemī, I, pp. 44-45).

Gīlān (Rašt), Mīrzā Ḥasan Khan Asadzāda, organ of Anjoman-e welāyatī-e Gīlān (Browne, no. 292; Faḵrāʾī, p. 279; Ṣadr Hāšemī, IV, p. 174).

Ḥaqīqat (Rašt), organ of Anjoman-e ḥaqīqat (Browne, no. 148; Solṭānī, p. 67).

Ḥašarāt al-arż (Tabrīz), Mīrzā Āqā Bolūrī (Āryanpūr, II, p. 23; Browne, no. 142; Kohan, II, p. 332; Moḥīṭ Ṭabāṭabāʾī, pp. 175, 221; Ṣadr Hāšemī, II, pp. 215-17).

Hedāyat (Qazvīn), Mīr Hādī Šayḵ-al-Eslāmī (Browne, no. 366).

Jong (Tehran), Mīrzā Fażl-Allāh (Ṣadr Hāšemī, II, p. 171).

Maʿāref (Tehran), organ of Anjoman-e maʿāref (Browne, no. 327; Ṣadr Hāšemī, IV, pp. 220-22).

Majalla-ye ṭabābat (see Ṭabābat).

Maʿrefat al-aḵlāq (Tehran), organ of Anjoman-e oḵowwat (Browne, no. 330; Tārīḵ I, p. 652).

Moḥākamāt (Tabrīz), Maḥmūd Ḡanīzāda Salmāsī (Browne, no. 308; Ṣadr Hāšemī, IV, p. 194).

Nāhīd (Shiraz; Ṣadr Hāšemī, IV, p. 255).

Nāla-ye mellat (Tabrīz; first issue called Navā-ye mellat), Mīrzā Āqā “Nāla-ye Mellat” (Browne, no. 341; Kasrawī, p. 733; Kohan, II, p. 406; Ṣadr Hāšemī, IV, pp. 254-55).

Nāqūr (Isfahan), Āqā Masīḥ Tūyserkānī (Ṣadr Hāšemī, IV, pp. 252-53).

Navā-ye mellat (see Nāla-ye mellat).

Naẓmīya (Tabrīz), Mašhadī Maḥmūd Eskandānī (Browne, no. 355; Ṣadr Hāšemī, IV, p. 307).

Oḵowwat-e Šīrāz (Shiraz), ʿAbd-al-Karīm Maʿrūf-ʿAlī (Ṣadr Hāšemī, I, p. 80).

Oqīānūs (Tehran), ʿAbd-al-Raḥīm Elāhī Qarāčadāḡī and Sayyed Faraj-Allāh Kāšānī (Browne, no. 58; Kohan, II, pp. 379-83; Moḥīṭ Ṭabāṭabāʾī, pp. 107, 118; Ṣadr Hāšemī, I, p. 229; Tārīḵ I, p. 652).

Rūḥ al-amīn (Tehran), Sayyed Moḥammad-ʿAlī Adīb Ḥożūr ʿErāqī (Browne, no. 178; Tārīḵ I, p. 651; Solṭānī, p. 84).

Ṣadāqat (Tehran; Browne, no. 240).

Šaraf (Tehran), Ḡolām-Ḥosayn Ṭehrānī (Browne, no. 222; Ṣadr Hāšemī, III, p. 61; Tārīḵ I, p. 652). Šarāfat (Tehran), Sayyed Ḥosayn (Browne, no. 220; Tārīḵ I, p. 652; Ṣadr Hāšemī, III, pp. 58-59; Solṭānī, p. 96).

Ṣerāṭ al-mostaqīm (Tabrīz; Browne, no. 242; Ṣadr Hāšemī, III, p. 126).

Ṣerāṭ al-ṣanāyeʿ (Tehran), Āqā Mahdī Khan Yāvar (Browne, no. 241; Solṭānī, pp. 103-4).

Ṣobḥ-e weṣāl (probably renamed Ṣobḥ-e ṣādeq; communication from Dr. Nāṣer-al-Dīn Parvīn).

Šūrā-ye Īrān (Tabrīz), Saʿīd Salmāsī, Sayyed Ḥasan Šarīfzāda, and Ḥājī ʿAlī Dawāforūš (Browne, no. 229; Ṣadr Hāšemī, III, pp. 85-86).

Ṭabābat (Tehran), Ebrāhīm Moʿtażed-al-Aṭebbāʾ (Ṣadr Hāšemī, III, pp. 149-50).

Ṭehran (Tehran), Mīrzā Ḥasan Rošdīya Tabrīzī (Browne, no. 249; Ṣadr Hāšemī, III, pp. 186-87; Tārīḵ I, p. 652).

Tīātr (Tehran), Reżā Khan Ṭabāṭabāʾī Nāʾīnī (Āryanpūr, II, p. 22; Ṣadr Hāšemī, II, pp. 147-50; Solṭānī, pp. 49- 50).


Āfāq (Shiraz), Sayyed Javād Bavānātī (Browne, no. 13; Ṣadr Hāšemī , I, p. 211).

Āzād (Tehran), ʿAbd-al-Ḥosayn Khan Malek-al-Mowarreḵīn (Ṣadr Hāšemī, I, p. 141).

Baladīya (Tabrīz).

Bayżāʾ (Borūjerd; Ṣadr Hāšemī, II, p. 43).

Būqalamūn (Tabrīz), Maḥmūd Ḡanīzāda Salmāsī (Browne, no. 89; Ṣadr Hāšemī, II, p. 26).

Dār al-ʿelm (Shiraz), ʿEnāyat-Allāh Dastḡayb Šīrāzī (Browne, no. 165; Ṣadr Hāšemī, II, p. 262).

Esteqlāl (Tabrīz), Mīrzā Āqā “Nāla-ye Mellat” (Browne, no. 43; Kohan, II, p. 420; Ṣadr Hāšemī, I, pp. 159-61; Tārīḵ II, p. 473).

Ḥabl al-matīn (Rašt), Sayyed Ḥasan Kāšānī (Browne, no. 138; Faḵrāʾī, p. 278; Ṣadr Hāšemī, II, p. 213; Tārīḵ II, p. 433).

Ḥayāt (Tehran), Shaikh Moḥammad-Ḥasan Qomī and Badīʿ-al-Motakallemīn Kāšānī (Ṣadr Hāšemī, II, p. 233; Solṭānī, pp. 69-70).

Īrān-e now (Tehran), Sayyed Maḥmūd Šabastarī Żīāʾ-al-ʿOlamāʾ and Moḥammad-Amīn Rasūlzāda (Browne, no. 77; Kohan, II, p. 537; Ṣadr Hāšemī, I, pp. 345-49; Taqīzāda, pp. 224, 326, 328).

Kaškūl (Isfahan), Majd-al-Eslām Kermānī (Browne, no. 281; Ṣadr Hāšemī, IV, pp. 138-40; Solṭānī, p. 127).

Ḵāvarestān (Tehran), Mortażā Khan Eʿteżād-al-Mella (Browne, no. 153; Ṣadr Hāšemī, II, pp. 242-43). Kermānšāh (Kermānšāh), Faṣīḥ-al-Motakallemīn (Browne, no. 279; Ṣadr Hāšemī, IV, pp. 133-34).

Ḵorāsān (Mašhad), Sayyed Ḥosayn Ardabīlī (Ṣadr Hāšemī, II, pp. 243-45).

Madrasa-ye Tamaddon (Rašt), Abu’l-Qāsem Lāhūtī (Faḵrāʾī, p. 278).

Maḥak-e ḡayrat (Tabrīz; Kohan, II, p. 418).

Majalla-ye ḥayʾat-e ʿelmīya-ye dānešvarān (Tehran; Browne, no. 303; Ṣadr Hāšemī, IV, p. 341).

Mofatteš-e Īrān (Isfahan), Sayyed Nūr-al-Dīn and Ebrāhīm Rāh-e Najāt (Kohan, II, p. 588; Ṣadr Hāšemī, IV, pp. 229-31).

Moḥākamāt-e Yazd (Yazd), Moḥammad-Ṣādeq (Browne, no. 309; Ṣadr Hāšemī, IV, p. 194).

Mokāfāt (Ḵᵛoy), Āqā Khan Marandī and Nūr-Allāh ʿAlīzāda (Browne, no. 333; Kohan, II, p. 418; Ṣadr Hāšemī, IV, p. 235).

Najāt (Tehran), Moḥammad Ḵorāsānī (Browne, no. 344; Moḥīṭ Ṭabāṭabāʾī, p. 152; Ṣadr Hāšemī, IV, pp. 274- 76).

Najāt-e waṭan (Isfahan; Browne, no. 347).

Polīs-e Īrān (Tehran), Mortażāqolī Khan Moʾayyed-al-Mamālek and Jawād Tabrīzī (Kohan, II, p. 569; Ṣadr Hāšemī, II, pp. 75-79).

Ṣafḥa-ye rūzgār (Tehran), ʿAbd-al-Ḥosayn Khan Malek-al-Mowarreḵīn (Solṭānī, pp. 106-7).

Šarq (Tehran), Sayyed Żīāʾ-al-Dīn Ṭabāṭabāʾī (Kohan, II, pp. 560-67; Ṣadr Hāšemī, III, pp. 61-66).

Šīrāz (Shiraz), Tāj-al-Šoʿarāʾ and Šojāʿ-al-Sādāt (Solṭānī, p. 101).

Tahḏīb (Tehran), Mīrzā ʿAbd-al-Ḥosayn Khan Mohaḏḏeb-al-Molk (Solṭānī, appendix).

Tamaddon (Rašt), Reżā Khan Modabber-al-Mamālek Harandī; only one issue published (Ṣadr Hāšemī, II, p. 138; Faḵrāʾī, p. 279).

Ṯorayyā (Kāšān), Sayyed Faraj-Allāh Kāšānī (Browne, no. 115; Ṣadr Hāšemī, II, pp. 155-58; Solṭānī, p. 51 ).

Ṭūs (Mašhad), Mīrzā Hāšem Khan Qazvīnī and Shaikh Abu’l-Qāsem Naḥwī (Browne, no. 248; Kohan, II, pp. 609, 670; Moḥīṭ Ṭabāṭabāʾī, p. 58; Ṣadr Hāšemī, III, pp. 164-67).

Yādgār-e enqelāb (Qazvīn; Tehran after Moḥammad-ʿAlī Shah’s abdication), Moʿtamad-al-Eslām Raštī (Browne, no. 369; Kohan, II, pp. 427, 430; Moḥīṭ Ṭabāṭabāʾī, p. 151; Ṣadr Hāšemī, IV, pp. 341-43).

Zāyandarūd (Isfahan), ʿAbd-al-Ḥosayn Moʿīn-al-Eslām Ḵᵛānsārī (Browne, no. 197; Kohan, II, pp. 515, 545; Ṣadr Hāšemī, III, pp. 1-4).

CONSTITUTIONAL REVOLUTION vii. The constitutional movement in literature

The term “constitutional literature” refers here to literature produced from the late 19th century until 1339=1300 Š./1921, under the impact of aspirations for reform and the constitutional movement. There were three phases in the development of this literature: the preconstitutional period from the late 19th century to 1323/1905 and the earliest events leading to the constitutional decree (see i, above); the militant phase from 1323/1905 to 1329/1911 and the end of the Second Majles (see ii, above); and the postconstitutional period, from 1329/1911 to 1300 Š./1921 (see iv, above), the beginning of the Pahlavi period.

Constitutional literature, like the constitutional movement itself, reflected social, economic, and cultural developments in Persia in the course of the 19th century (Kamshad, pp. 9-12). These developments contributed to the national and political awakening that culminated in the constitutional movement and brought about concomitant changes in literary expression. The constitutional movement did not produce a violent revolution, but its professed revolutionary goals created an atmosphere that greatly influenced the literature of the time. It is in this sense that the term “revolutionary” is used in this article. Constitutional literature included works of genuine literary value, but its main significance lay in its function as a link between classical traditions and truly modern work. Furthermore, despite strong parallels, constitutional poetry and prose each followed a distinct course of development.

Constitutional poetry

Preconstitutonal period. Participants in the revivalist movement that dominated Persian poetry from the middle of the 18th century had sought a return (bāzgašt) to the traditions of the classical masters (see bāzgašt-e adabī). Notwithstanding the creative talent of some Qajar poets, the deliberate avoidance of innovation in theme and style meant that poetry was out of touch with evolving contemporary society and the living language. Social and political consciousness began to develop among writers toward the end of the 19th century, when they occasionally expressed criticism of the ruling class (Šaybānī in Āryanpūr, I, pp. 141-44) and dissatisfaction with emulative poems (Saḥāb Eṣfahānī in Āryanpūr, I, p. 36). Some poets expressed the need to change the course of poetry and to “serenade the motherland (waṭan)” instead of the imaginary beloved (Adīb-al-Mamālek [Amīrī] Farāhānī, in Soroudi, 1979, p. 7).

The militant phase. The granting of the constitutional charter (farmān-e mašrūṭīyat) in August 1906 and the ensuing period of free expression brought forth a great upsurge in newspaper publishing (Browne, Press and Poetry, pp. ix-xi; see vi, above). Most of the poets and writers involved in the constitutional movement were also journalists, which had a profound impact on their work. Poets in particular were no longer dependent on court patronage. Instead of addressing the shah and his entourage, they took the people for their audience, and they had to adjust both their themes and their expression accordingly.

Although prose played a significant role in this period, poetry, because of its unique status in traditional Persian culture, served as the main revolutionary medium. Both educated and illiterate people were accustomed to the recitation of verse, which could, in a few words, summon emotions and channel them in desired directions. The changes that emerged, though important, did not constitute a deliberate break from classical norms. The main body of constitutional poetry remained hortatory in tone (Browne, Press and Poetry, pp. 167-308); content, language, and form were, however, primarily determined by the immediacy of the poet’s journalistic activity and the urgency of his goals.

The primary innovation in constitutional poetry was in fact thematic. The classical taboo on so-called “nonpoetic” themes had been lifted, and the poet was free to treat any subject relevant to the advancement of constitutionalism. The main themes chosen were thus criticism of the Persian ruling class and the prevailing social, economic, and political order; praise of democracy and defense of civil and human rights; solidarity with the masses and socialist ideas; anticlerical and antireligious sentiments; attitudes both favorable and hostile to Islam; xenophobic feelings, especially against Arabs and Turks, who were blamed for the backwardness of Persia; glorification of pre-Islamic Persia; anti-imperialism focused on Russia and Great Britain; admiration of Germany; the need for modernization, with emphasis on modern education; and the status of women, especially as related to education and the wearing of the veil (Esḥāq, 1943, pp. 115-75). Concomitant changes occurred in the language. The traditional distinction between poetic and “nonpoetic” vocabulary was discarded, and any variety of the Persian language could be employed to bring the message to the reader.

Classical forms were preserved, however. Some particularly rigid forms like the panegyric qaṣīda, with its often bombastic style, lost favor to the more flexible mosammaṭ and mostazād, but the freer ḡazal and maṯnawī remained popular. Poets like Adīb-al-Mamālek Farāhānī and Moḥammad-Taqī Bahār continued to write qaṣīdas on nontopical themes, though national heroes and glories of the past were celebrated, rather than the shah and the aristocracy. In contrast, the more lyrical ḡazal, which dealt with subjects and emotions that could be universally appreciated, owed its popularity partly to the language, which, though often highly symbolic, could be enjoyed at different levels, even by the illiterate. In the constitutional ḡazal the “motherland” replaced the traditional beloved, and it was her agonies, and national feelings in general, that provided the emotional impact. The suitability of the ḡazal for musical performance enhanced its popularity still further (see, e.g., works by ʿĀref, Bahār, and Farroḵī, in Āryanpūr, II, pp. 146-51; Soroudi, 1979, pp. 243-44). But it was the didactic maṯnawī, flexible in form and simple in language, that was most vital in this period. The characteristic use of everyday idiom and reliance on folk tales and customs were further developed in the constitutional maṯnawī, of which the most skilled master was Īraj Mīrzā Jalāl-al-Mamālek (1291-1344/1874-1926). Some poets went a step further and wrote satirical poems entirely in colloquial language (see, e.g., poems by Dehḵodā, Ašraf Gīlānī, and Bahār in Āryanpūr, II, pp. 92-94; Soroudi, 1979, pp. 29, 35). Many words and expressions were borrowed from European languages (particularly French), either directly or in translation, for example, pārlemān (Fr. parlement), kābena (cabinet), komīta (comité), komīsīūn (commission), pārtī (parti), porogrām (programme; Esḥāq, 1943, pp. 46-61). The rhetorical devices used, on the other hand, were generally taken from the traditional stock. Even images and similes coined to describe the social and political atmosphere of the time were largely based on those of classical poetry.

Except for a single experiment in writing syllabic poems (Rahman, pp. 88-89), there was no deliberate attempt to introduce new metric systems. The Arabo-Persian quantitative ʿarūż was generally preserved. In hortatory poems there was a tendency toward shorter lines and lighter meters, which were more suited to simpler language and musical requirements. Constitutional poetry was influenced by folk verse mainly through the taṣnīf, a strophic form, frequently with a refrain and meant to be sung. Before the constitutional period this form had been scorned by the educated elite, but, owing to the moving songs composed in this genre and performed by Mīrzā Abu’l-Qāsem ʿĀref Qazvīnī (Āryanpūr, II, pp. 146-68), it developed into a recognized literary form. Various lyrical, social, and political themes were treated in the constitutional taṣnīf. Satirical poems, frequently modeled on folk verses, provided important vehicles for criticism of the political and religious establishment, social and cultural practices perceived as negative, and the like. In both prose and poetry satire was also influenced by the Turkish newspaper Mollā Naṣr-al-Dīn, published in Tiflis, and its chief contributor, the poet Mīrzā ʿAlī-Akbar Ṭāherzāda Ṣāber (Āryanpūr, II, pp. 36-46). Another folk genre was the lullaby, which was adapted to lament the disquieting conditions of the era (Āryanpūr, II, pp. 171-72). Some examples of popular religious lamentations (nawḥa-ye sīna-zanī) and parodies of classical poems are also to be found in constitutional poetry (Klyashtorina). Additional metric variations, zeḥāf, were introduced through melodies imposed from folk (taṣnīf) and popular (nawḥa) poems. The influence of music resulted in one novelty that had not been admissible in classical poetry (except for mostazād): lines of different metric lengths and different meters in different parts of the poem (Aḵawān-e Ṯāleṯ, pp. 161-65; Esḥāq, 1943, pp. 87-90).

Another source of constitutional poetry was ancient Iranian myth and legend, which in classical poetry had been to some degree subordinated to Islamic and biblical themes mediated through the Koran and other religious works. Iranian myths were predominant in some works by Mīrzā Ebrāhīm Khan Pūr(-e) Dāwūd and Moḥammad-Reżā ʿEšqī (1312-42/1893-1924; see Āryanpūr, II, pp. 368-75; Soroudi, 1979, pp. 263-67), though in poems by Bahār and ʿĀref they were sometimes combined with Semitic myths, mediated through the Koran and other religious sources. Another way of expressing nationalist sentiments was to write in pure Persian language (pārsī-e sara), without foreign loanwords. This tendency found limited expression in the works of Pūr-Dāwūd and Adīb-al-Mamālek (Esḥāq, 1943, pp. 40-45), who followed the prose works of the 19th-century poet Mīrzā Abu’l-Ḥasan Yaḡmā.

Postconstitutional period. The expiration of the Majles term in 1329/1911 and the failure to hold immediate elections represented a serious setback to the constitutional movement. It was reflected in a decline in militancy, and poets began to shift their emphasis from content to form. Reformist and even radical tendencies in the social and political spheres had not produced a new literary vision. Poets had for the most part followed formal tradition, unable to free themselves from the authority of the classical masters (Soroudi, 1979, pp. 11-12). Those who considered themselves modernists (motajadded) had largely confined themselves to tinkering with classical forms (Rahman, pp. 91-108) and introducing new subjects and new vocabulary.

Development of a genuinely new literary vision had to await a group of younger poets, who had grown up during the period of the constitutional movement. They did not have strong classical training but were more familiar with and influenced by European literature. Unlike the older generation, they demanded thorough and drastic literary reforms, a new poetry that would reflect their time not only in subject matter but also in tempo, form, and style. Their attacks on classical literature, which became particularly vigorous in some newspapers after World War I, generated a controversy between “the old and the new” (Āryanpūr, II, pp. 436-66; Soroudi, 1974).

The first signs of change could be observed in the works of ʿEšqī, who was both a political and a literary radical. His formal innovations, though minor and hesitant, heralded the first conscious break with classical norms. It was he who first broke the classical rules that hemistiches had to be of equal length and that each strophe had to have the same number of lines, instead permitting the necessities of subject matter and the mode of expression to determine these matters. He was more successful in his expressive manipulation of language, however. Under French literary influence and in tune with the poetic tendencies of his friend ʿAlī Esfandīārī (known as Nīmā Yūšīj), he broke away from the formal imagery of classical poetry. His poem “Īdeʾāl” (1342=1301 Š./1923) was based on personal sensibility and experience, and his imagery was mediated through his own vision, rather than those of the classical masters (Āryanpūr, II, pp. 361-80; Machalski, 1959). ʿEšqī was also the author of the first original musical play of the postconstitutional period, Rastāḵīz-e šahrīārān-e Īrān (Resurrection of the Persian kings); he called it the first Persian opera (Āryanpūr, II, pp. 372-75).

The real innovations in literary form under the impact of the constitutional movement occurred in the works of Nīmā Yūšīj (1274-1379=1338 Š./1895-1959). Nīma retained the classical quantitative meters but freed himself from preimposed classical patterns and lines of equal length, creating a “free verse” in which the poem was shaped organically according to internal requirements (Aḵawān-e Ṯāleṯ, pp. 61-207; Āryanpūr, II, pp. 466-80). The publication in 1300 Š./1921 of his long poem “Afsāna,” considered the turning point in the transition from classical to modern poetry, coincided with publication of the first collection of modern Persian short stories (see below).

Constitutional prose

Preconstitutional period. At the beginning of the 19th century elevated Persian prose was ornate and abstruse, as yet unaffected by the revivalist movement that dominated poetry. Simpler styles could be found in some religious tracts and in popular literature. The first reforms in language, tending toward simplification, were introduced in the official correspondence of the grand viziers Qāʾem-maqām (d. 1251/1835) and Amīr(-e) Kabīr (d. 1268/1852) and were cultivated by the rising Qajar bureaucracy. The introduction of printing in 1233/1816-17 (Āryanpūr, I, pp. 228-34), by making books more readily available, also encouraged a simpler and more direct mode of expression. Such innovations contributed to the intellectual ferment stimulated by unorthodox religious movements like Shaikhism and Babism and contact with the West. The main media for the introduction of modern ideas and the development of modernist prose were original works of nonfiction and imaginative literature, translations, and newspapers (see vi, above).

The pioneers of literary reform and criticism shared a marginal social position. They belonged to religious or ethnic minorities or lived outside the boundaries of Persia, sometimes in voluntary exile. Mīrzā Malkom Khan (1249-1326/1833-1908), of Armenian descent, was probably the first to publish reformist tracts written in a straightforward style and with new terms and expressions that he coined for the introduction of Western ideas, especially state reform (Āryanpūr, I, pp. 314-22; Kamshad, pp. 14-16). ʿAbd-al-Raḥīm Ṭālebūf (Talebov; 1250-1328/1855-1910), though he lived in Tiflis, had been born in Tabrīz and wrote in Persian. In simple, often didactic language he introduced modern scientific and other concepts like freedom, civil rights, and the like (Āryanpūr, I, pp. 287-303; Kamshad, p. 16). Mīrzā Āqā Khan Kermānī (1270-1314/1853-96) was one of the first to criticize classical literature and to propound a “useful” literature written in a less ornate language that would help to educate the Persian people (pp. 5-9; Āryanpūr, I, pp. 390-93). The author of what is often considered the first work of modern fiction in Persian was also an expatriate. Ḥājj Zayn-al-ʿĀbedīn Marāḡaʾī was a Persian merchant who lived successively in the Caucasus, the Crimea, and Istanbul. The first and most important volume of his trilogy Sīāḥat-nāma-ye Ebrāhīm Bīg (Travel book of Ebrāhīm Beg) was published at an indeterminate date toward the end of the 19th century. In the story the protagonist, a man of Persian parentage, arrives in Persia for the first time and is horrified by the backwardness of the people and the corruption and ineptitude of the government. The book was banned in Persia, but nevertheless its simple prose style and the use of everyday idioms contributed to the development of modern Persian prose (Āryanpūr, I, pp. 304-13; Kamshad, pp. 17-21). The travelogue (safar-nāma) became one of the popular genres of the late Qajar period; Persians, including kings and aristocrats, noted their impressions of European societies and compared them with their own. These books were written in various styles, but most of them followed the general trend toward simplicity.

Translations of foreign literature began to appear around the middle of the 19th century, particularly after the establishment of Dār al-fonūn, the first institution of modern education in Persia. The translation of scientific and historical books necessitated a language both precise and concise, but the main effect on Persian literary style came through translated novels and plays. Among early efforts were translations of the plays of Āḵūndzāda (1291/1874) from Turkish. In these works the author criticized various aspects of Muslim societies, using different levels of the spoken language in the original Turkish, a feature that was emulated in the Persian versions. Most literary works, however, were translated from European languages, mainly French. Among them were works by the elder Alexandre Dumas, Jules Verne, Molière, Jacques Henri Bernardin de Saint-Pierre, and René de Chateaubriand. These translations were not all of comparable literary value but, under the influence of the originals, tended in general toward more lucid and simpler prose. A particularly popular work was James Morier’s Adventures of Hajji Baba of Ispahan, translated by Mīrzā Ḥabīb Eṣfahānī some time toward the end of the 19th century. In the Persian translation, a rather loose rendition of the original, the shortcomings of Persian society were magnified, especially those of the political and religious establishment. Mīrzā Ḥabīb created a new literary style in which felicitous classical phrasing was combined with everyday idioms and expressions (Kamshad, pp. 21-28; Āryanpūr, I, pp. 359-405).

Newspapers published outside Persia were a major force in awakening social and political consciousness on the eve of the constitutional movement. Although newspapers had been published in Persia since 1253/1837, until the constitutional decree they were tightly controlled and devoid of any political significance (Kohan, I, passim). Except for clandestine leaflets (šab-nāma), opposition papers were published outside the country and smuggled into Persia, where they were passed surreptitiously from hand to hand. The most prominent among them were Aḵtar (Istanbul, 1292-1313/1875-96); Qānūn (London, 1890-93), published by Mīrzā Malkom Khan; Ḥabl al-matīn (Calcutta, 1311-33/1893-1912); Ṯorayyā (Cairo, 1316-18/1899-1900); and Parvareš (Cairo, 1318-19/1900-1901). The contributors of articles, which ranged in tone from moderate to fiery, criticized the despotic Persian regime, the wretchedness of the people, religious obscurantism, and the like and tried to educate Persians in social and political activism. In some of these papers reports in simple language were published side by side with editorials in elevated literary style. Others, particularly Qānūn, were entirely written in simple style. On the whole, the opposition press seriously altered traditional styles by combining literary and spoken language and introducing many new words and expressions (Āryanpūr, I, pp. 233-52; Kamshad, pp. 29-30).

The militant phase. As with poetry, during the period in which constitutional journalism flourished prose writing became closely associated with social and political developments, and journalistic essays became the leading prose genre. Their authors treated basically the same subjects as did the poets (see above), focusing particularly on the despotic regime, its consequences for Persia and Persians through the ages, and ways of curbing it; the need for modernization in every aspect of society, frequently expressed in terms of bedazzled admiration of Western civilization and denigration of Muslim and Persian traditions; the responsibility of the clergy as a whole for Persian backwardness, coupled with awareness of the strong hold of religion and religious leaders on the masses; and attempts to introduce modern ideas in religious garb. The most important and influential newspapers of the period were Ṣūr-e Esrāfīl, Nasīm-e šemāl, Now-bahār, al-Jamāl, Ḥabl al-matīn (Tehran), Rūḥ al-qodos, Mosāwāt, and later Ṭūfān and Qarn-e bīstom (Āryanpūr, II; pp. 20-28; Soroudi, 1988).

From a stylistic point of view the simplifying trends that had developed in 19th-century prose reached a culmination in this period. Most constitutional writers came from the middle and lower classes. The most prominent, some of whom were also poets, included ʿAlī-Akbar Dehḵodā (1258-1334 Š./1879-1956), Mīrzā Jahāngīr Khan Šīrāzī (1292-1326/1875-1908), Bahār, Solṭān-al-ʿOlamāʾ Ḵorāsānī (d. 1326/1908), Moḥammad Farroḵī (1306-58=1318 Š./1889-1939), and ʿEšqī. They developed new styles based on varying combinations of the simpler classical traditions, colloquial language, and European influences. A common characteristic of the constitutional style was the short, straightforward sentence, free from inappropriate synonyms, metaphors, and allusions (Bahār, Sabk-šenāsī III, pp. 401-7).

Beside hortatory and analytical essays, social and political satire became a major literary genre. The most accomplished satirist was Dehḵodā, whose column “Čarand parand” in Ṣūr-e Esrāfīl was among the most widely read of the time. He adopted colloquial language and storytelling techniques and thus helped to lay the foundations upon which modern Persian prose literature developed (Āryanpūr, II, pp. 98-105; Kamshad, pp. 37-40).

Another literary genre introduced in this period was the historical novel, the first published by M.-B. Ḵosravī in 1327/1909. These works provided a means of escape from a sense of national impotence in the face of foreign intervention and were aimed at restoring Persian self-confidence through the renewal of ancient splendor. The protagonists of most were powerful national heroes, especially those of the pre-Islamic past. Examples include Ešg wa salṭanat (Love and sovereignty), on the conquests of Cyrus the Great, published by Mūsā Naṯrī in 1337/1919; Dāstān-e bāstān (A story of ancient times), on the rise of the Achaemenids and the love story of Bīžan and Manīža, published by Mīrzā Ḥasan Khan Badīʿ in 1338/1920; and Dāmgostarān yā enteqām-ḵᵛāhān-e Mazdak (Trap setters, or The avengers of Mazdak), on the reasons for the fall of the Sasanians and the Arab conquest, published by Ṣaṇʿatīzāda Kermānī in 1339/1921. These novels differed in historical accuracy, style, and literary value but formed an important link in the development in Persia of the novel in the European sense (Āryanpūr, II, pp. 238-58; Kamshad, pp. 41-53; Nikitine, pp. 297-336).

Theater groups had begun to present plays in Persia on the eve of the Constitutional Revolution, but dramatic writing during most of the period under discussion was limited mainly to translations or adaptations of foreign plays.

Postconstitutional period. Toward the end of this period Aḥmad Maḥmūdī and Ḥasan Moqaddam (ʿAlī Nowrūz) began to write original plays of literary or dramatic value (Āryanpūr, I, pp. 342-66, II, pp. 288-315). Prose writers in general were less inhibited in introducing new forms and modes of expression than the poets, because Persian classical prose had never enjoyed the high esteem of poetry. Whereas poets frequently stumbled over classical obstacles on the way to a modern poetics, prose writers followed a smoother path in a parallel direction. The thematic, stylistic, and formal modifications introduced gradually over several decades crystallized in the first collection of modern Persian short stories, published by Moḥammad-ʿAlī Jamālzāda in 1300 Š./1921, with an introductory literary manifesto. It marked the beginning of the modern phase of Persian prose literature (Kamshad, pp. 90-113).


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Cite this page
Abbas Amanat, Vanessa Martin, Said Amir Arjomand, Mansoureh Ettehadieh, ʿAlī-Akbar Saʿīdī Sīrjānī and Sorour Soroudi, “CONSTITUTIONAL REVOLUTION”, in: Encyclopaedia Iranica Online, © Trustees of Columbia University in the City of New York. Consulted online on 06 June 2023 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2330-4804_EIRO_COM_7812>
First published online: 2020
First print edition: 19921215

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